Originally taken from the book cover but no less describing Electrigirl’s creator Jo Cotterill who came to visit our students in year 3-8 of our English language section. The sympathic, energetic and witty author seemed to enjoy her time at our school and our students simply loved it!
The first two sessions were a very entertaining mix of sharing her personal story of becoming a writer and that of “Electrigirl” but at the same time there also was some teaching. The elements of atoms and an electric circuit were introduced in a fun way that will most certainly stay in every student’s mind.
A really nice add-on to the current/previous curriculum and a story our P3 students enjoyed reading in class.
After the lunch break, Jo Cotterill invited classes S2EN and S3EN to “Looking at the stars”. Her award winning book however does not relate to Astronomy but instead addresses serious topics such as refugees, discrimination, poverty but also the power of storytelling hope, family, friendship. More about this reading to follow ….
A big Thank You to Jo Cotterill for travelling all the way from England to meet our student: It has been a pleasure to have you!
On the 7th of March 2018 the author Patrice Lawrence visited the European School RheinMain and presented her book “Orange Boy” to the students of the 10th grade.
The author didn’t only present her book, but she also spent some time telling us about her life and how she became an author. Personally, I thought that was the best part of her visit, as she had lived a unique life and she grew up in a multicultural, unusual family. Patrice Lawrence was born in Sussex, and was brought up in an Italian-Trinidadian family, which isn’t the kind of family I have ever heard about before. The writer has been in extraordinary situations which she spent a short amount of time telling us about, which all added up to why she became a writer, and why she writes fiction novels. She told us about how she was at the winter wonderland carnival in London, which inspired her and many more instances which inspired her to write fiction novels.
She made a PowerPoint presentation with pictures of her life, starting from the beginning until now. The author told us about her family and applied her story and onto the characters in her book, she added why the boy in “orange boy” has a dysfunctional family, and that is because the boy wants something different. She read out a few pages from Orange Boy and told us about how it was difficult to write as a teenage boy, however the writer managed to do it very well which the students were impressed by.
Patrice Lawrence then added that she had constant support from her daughter, who inspired her and always gave her new ideas. She also mentioned that when she does not write, she feels as if she has too many thoughts and can’t think properly. She felt as if she had too many tabs open in her brain, which was hard to understand at first but started to make a lot sense towards the end. The fact that the author was so open and real with us is what caught my attention and made me want to know more about her, and the story behind her novel.
The writer told us about the importance of names, furthermore she asked us what our names meant which got us to think the ways she does and understand the meaning behind names. In general, the author inspired me to think in a different, more creative way.
To conclude, the students also enjoyed learning about the process of publishing a book and what it`s like to be a writer.
While waiting for the big day to arrive all children had prepared for the visit of author and illustrator David Mackintosh. Our pre-primary children had a look into storytelling and had learned what an author does, children in P1 had read and recited stories as well as given ideas of how a story could be changed; furthermore had they worked on identifying beginning, middle and end of stories. The oldest students to meet David Mackintosh – our students of year 2 – had taken it another step further by not only understanding the structure of stories but even writing fiction stories of their own.
What students think about David and his books
Small selection of student’s gifts
More thoughts on David and his books
All of these activities and their research on David Mackintosh got the children even more enthusiastic and excited to meet the author and illustrator. Invited by the welcoming atmosphere our sympathic guest had spread from the very beginning, the children instantly seemed comfortable with him. Especially the older primary students almost started chatting with David and took the chance to address their questions the moment they met him. For the younger ones, the warm-up activity was ultimately breaking the ice.
The children got to learn what an author and illustrator does, how long it takes David to draw a picture, when he writes his books, why he likes to write, how his illustrations turn into a book, what he uses to draw, some insights about naming Marshall Armstrong and even a sneak peak into David’s brand new book “Waiting for Chicken Smith”. Of course, there also was time to enjoy a story and it was quite surprising for the librarian (and David?) how quick the children recognized Marshall Armstrong’s house the moment its illustration appeared on the big screen in the primary library. The most audible admiration (a joint “aaaaaaaaw”) was to be heard when David Mackintosh started illustrating some of his characters on the spot. However, the creative activity David had brought along for the children revealed that he was not the only artist present in the library.
The children really enjoyed their time with our special guest and there were lots of “Hi David”, “Hello David Mackintosh” and happy smiles when the children saw him walking down the corridor later on.
Thank you David for inspiring our children and for creating some memories today!
An absolute highlight was waiting for a group of ESRM-students on the last day before the May holidays. Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre were all dressed up in amazing costumes when they came to present their book “Oliver and the Seawigs”. They did not only introduce their characters, setting and plot to our students, they brought their story to life and captured their audience.
Aside of the great excitement, there were a few students who seemed a bit nervous. But it did not take long until the last student had overcome his shyness and joined in this interactive and outstanding event. They were asked for the one food they would take to space when our guests were talking about their book “Cakes in Space”, they listened to the sound of science when witnessing how the “Norm-O-Tron” (a scientific machine) works and under the guidance of Sarah McIntyre they all drew and named their own sea monkey and sang along the “Cakes in Space” song with Sarah and Philip. But besides all this our guests also shared their wisdom on writing and illustrating.
The students expressed that they enjoyed “the things they did”, “listening to the poem” and they “really liked how they made us sing and draw the illustration” and “the teaching of the sea monkey”. There were many questions and we could have perfectly spent an extra hour.
Thank you Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre for this unique event, for patiently signing books and sea monkey pictures, for answering any questions that were raised while waiting for your autographs, for the little chats with our students and for not stopping until the last student in line has had the chance to meet you!
… and thank you Sarah, for giving hope to one of the librarians when you said that you were not born with a supernatural drawing talent and that practice was part of successful drawing and illustrating.
On 24 February our youngest students were up for a big adventure: At first there was the exciting trip to the secondary building followed by the theater play about the Gruffalo. Everything was just like it is in a big theater. Our pre-primary students lined up at the entrance waiting to be granted admission and once they had entered the auditorium their teachers made sure everyone felt comfortable despite of the comparably big chairs.
After a perfectly understandable and entertaining introduction of the basic rules – no drinking or eating, no talking, no cell phones … – the show was about to begin. It wasn’t long before the young audience was captivated by the performance of the actors Maike Jansen and Stefan Ferencz from “pohyb’s und konsorten”. The children helped with suggestions when the mouse was struggling to describe the Gruffalo, they repeatedly burst out in laughter and at the end every single one of the three pre-primary classes had the chance to take a picture with the Gruffalo and the mouse.
After the show there were comments such as “I like the Gruffalo because he was scary”, “I like the fox because he scared the mouse”, ” I like the Gruffalo because it was funny”, “he was brown and had spikes all over his back”, unique pictures were drawn and every now and then the mouse’s sound “Shoobie-dee-doob-dee, shoobie-dee, … ” was to be heard in the pre-primary hallway.
Am 24. Februar erwartete unsere Vorschulklassen ein großes Abenteuer: Zunächst begaben sie sich auf die aufregende Reise ins Sekundargebäude, um sich das Theaterstück über die Abenteuer des Grüffelo anzuschauen. Alles war ganz so, wie es in einem großen Theater ist. Unsere Vorschüler warteten am Eingang in einer Reihe auf den Einlass und nach dem Betreten der Aula stellten ihre Lehrerinnen sicher, dass sich alle trotz der vergleichsweise großen Stühle wohl fühlten.
Nach einer kindgerechten und unterhaltsamen Einführung zu den allgemeinen Regeln – kein Essen oder Trinken, nicht sprechen während der Vorstellung, keine Handys … – begann die Vorstellung. Es dauerte nicht lange, bis die jungen Zuschauer gefesselt waren von der Darbietung der Künstler Maike Jansen und Stefan Ferencz von “pohyb’s und konsorten”. Die Kinder halfen der Maus, als diese Schwierigkeiten mit der Beschreibung des Grüffelos zu haben schien, immer wieder brach schallendes Gelächter aus und am Ende wurde für jede der drei Vorschulklassen ein Erinnerungsfoto mit dem Grüffelo und der Maus aufgenommen.
Nach der Aufführung gab es Äußerungen wie “Ich mag den Grüffelo, weil er gruselig war”, “Ich mag den Fuchs, weil er die Maus erschreckt hat”, “Ich mag den Grüffelo weil er witzig war”, “er war braun und hatte über dem ganzen Rücken Stacheln”, einzigartige Bilder wurden gemalt und hier und da war das “Schubi-di-dubdi, schubi-di …” der Maus auf den Gängen der Vorschule zu vernehmen.
Dave Cousins most certainly knows how to tell stories; and he brings them to life!
Picture a grown up standing in front of a group of 12 to 14 year-old students telling them about his life and what he does for living: Boring – poor guy – a disaster.
Now this is how it looks when Dave Cousins tells his story of what he wanted to be and what he did before he became an award winning author.
He naturally connected with his audience and caught our students’ attention and interest from the very beginning. But aside of performing two of his books “15 Days without a Head” & “Waiting for Gonzo” and giving a good laugh he also shared some advise on how to write:
Just do it
Try and write every day
You can find ideas for stories in every-day-life, you just have to pick it up
A story starts with a story and asking question
And the most important thing of being a writer: Do it for love not for money!
... and we gained the impression that this is exactly what Dave does …
It was a travel back in time and it wasn’t long before our P3E and P4E students set off to their adventure. Guest author S.P. Moss provided the required background information on the 1950’s and within the blink of an eye our students found themselves right in the middle of the adventure of “Trouble in Teutonia”.
Everyone enjoyed the acting and at the end there was still some time left for questions. Our students were interested in finding out more about becoming and being an author, what inspired S.P. Moss to write her stories and wanted to know a little more about her other book “The Bother in Burmeon”. But of course our students were also curious about “the person behind the author” and asked Susan not only about her favourite authors and reads but also for her favourite soccer team.