“My Place”: whimsical stories from Mount Hawthorn Primary students

Briony and James with student artwork

This year, Mount Hawthorn Primary School invited myself and fellow author/illustrator Briony Stewart to collaborate on a 13-week residency project.

Our project was called ‘My Place’. The aim for each year four student (all 87 of them) was to complete a polished story and accompanying illustration based upon their favourite place in Mount Hawthorn. They also made the amazing map you see above!

Hit the link to see more work by the kids.

Continue reading ““My Place”: whimsical stories from Mount Hawthorn Primary students”

Viking longship-builders in Murwillumbah

These incredible longships were handcrafted by Year 4 viklings at St Joseph’s Primary School in Murwillumbah.

Their teacher Deborah Walker has put in a huge effort. Thanks for bringing the book to life and encouraging the next generation of marauders!

Thanks also to the school’s library coordinator Melissa Fraser for sending the photos.

Melissa tells us the school is busting to read the sequel to The Last Viking. We’re working as quick as we can Melissa- I’ll get on to the artwork in the middle of next year, fingers crossed.

viking ships from St Joseph's Primary in Murwillumbah

viking ships from St Josephs Primary, Murwillumbah

viking ships from St Josephs Primary, Murwillumbah

Make-your-own Viking god or goddess

One of the best parts of school visits is seeing the great ideas that schoolkids come up with. Here’s a bunch of viking god and goddesses, designed by students during children’s book week this year. God of Wind, by Tom Isabella the Goddess of Patterns, by Maddy Bothgolong, God of Fire, by Rohan A portrait of Thor that also folds up into a paper plane, by Christian This guy looks familiar… The God of Literature, by Catherine And finally, Optimus Prime, by Brayden. It’s not a viking god but it looks really cool.

Award-winning Viking display by young berserkers

Norm and I were stunned to see the following Viking-inspired artwork from year 2s at Guildford Grammar in Western Australia.

There’s Viking helmets, self-portraits with rune-encoded titles, and longships all over the place! It’s no wonder they won an in-school Children’s Book Week competition for best classroom decorations.

Well done year 2s. This really made us smile 🙂

guildford grammar display 1

guildford grammar display 2

Prepare your classroom for a Viking invasion

Viking boat display at heARTlines Festival 2011
Display by Gidgegannup Primary School students at heARTlines Festival 2011. Teacher: Trevor Dent.

It’s August, which means Children’s Book Week is fast approaching. If you’re a teacher, maybe you’d like to use The Last Viking for one of your classroom displays. Here’s some examples that Norm and I have seen since the book came out.

In the example above, teacher Trevor Dent guided his students from Gidgegannup Primary in making a Viking ship display for the heARTlines Children’s Literature Festival 2011. The centrepiece is a ship painted on to card with a cloth sail. Students have illustrated characters from the book and their own original Viking warriors.

The picture below is a display from Year 1/2 H at Penrith, NSW. They coloured viking ships, swords and shields, and translated their names into runes along the bottom of the display.

Viking artwork display by year 1 and 2 students at Penrith NSW

Below are two photos from a year 3 classroom at Rosalie Primary School. I visited them for their biennial writers’ festival and contributed some drawings. The foam lettering and cardboard viking ship were used in their assembly item (seen playing on the smartboard), in which they acted out the entire book! They performed an inspired closing number- ‘One-Eyed, One-Horned Flying Purple People Eater’. Odin and Thor would be proud of their stellar efforts.

Rosalie Primary School display

Rosalie classroom display 2
Rosalie Primary School display- detail of their cardboard Viking ship

And finally, here are some illustrations by the same talented Rosalie Primary School year 3s. These are pasted to the front and inside of a thank you card the students presented to me. Norm got one too. We were gobsmacked at the creativity in this classroom (which probably has a lot to do with their fantastic teacher, Mrs Goods).

Rosalie Primary students artwork 1

Rosalie artwork 2

One other activity I like to do with students is Viking character design. I talk a little about the Viking gods and what each god or goddess was in charge of. Then I ask the students to imagine that if they were a Viking god or goddess, what would they be in charge of? Then I ask them to draw that character.

There’s more Viking-themed classroom resources on our Resources page. There’s blackline masters for colouring in, a ‘How To Read Runes’ worksheet, and links to activities on the web.

The Teachers page gives you some ideas about how to link The Last Viking in with curriculum, and provides a handy overview of this blog and sorts some useful posts into ready-made lists for you.
Norm and I love seeing the work that students make in response to The Last Viking. If you have any pictures of your own Viking displays or artwork and would like to share them with us via your blog, we’d love to see them- send us a link!

Professional Development session for librarians and teachers

As part of the Term 4 exhibition at the Fremantle Children’s Literature Centre, I’ll be presenting a PD session for teachers and librarians on Fri Nov 18. Details below.

Presented by FCLC Director, Lesley Reece
and Illustrator James Foley

See picture books come alive before your eyes as you work with the original illustrations and discover the stories behind the books. Explore exciting and invigorating ways to use quality Australian books. You’ll find the day inspirational and gain unique insights from the presenters.

Friday 18 November 2011
9.00am – 2.30pm
Suitable: Year 4 – 7 Teachers, Teacher-Librarians and Pre-Service Education Students

Session 1
Presenter: Lesley Reece
Flood by Jackie French and Bruce Whatley
Water Witcher by Jan Ormerod

Session 2
Guest Presenter: James Foley, Illustrator
James will demonstrate and then guide you through creating a comic strip story. These strategies are guaranteed to enhance your students’ narrative and visual skills. Comprehensive handouts included.

Session 3
Presenter: Lesley Reece
The Great Bear by Libby Gleeson and Armin Greder
plus a selection of FCLC staff’s favourite for this age group.

Cost: $140 (inc GST)
Morning tea and light lunch included
Booking is essential.
To register, please phone 9430 6869