Tag Archive | Book Week 2015

Book Week Costume Parade

We had a “dress up as your favourite book character” day for Book Week yesterday. Although the definition of book character was stretched a bit and there were a lot of Elsas and Annas from Frozen, it was a fun day and most of the students and a lot of staff got involved.

hunter as charlotte

Charlotte from Charlotte’s Web



our office staff as the three witches from Macbeth

My Granny's a gangster

Gangsta Granny

Mario and Luigi

Mario and Luigi


our Junior School winners

library staff

our library staff as the Thompson Twins and Harry Potter

Dylan Brennan

our Senior School winner – the Mad Hatter

Billie B. Brown

Billie B. Brown


Book Week Activity: Pirate Cave

We’re running an activity each morning tea and lunch time this week where we’ve set up a pirate cave which students have to explore with a torch and find the treasure. It’s a fairly loose connection to the “light up our world” theme but the kids are having a lot of fun.

We completely blacked out the windows with cardboard and borrowed two tunnels from our Kindy – one leading in to the room and one leading out. From the ceiling we hung tinsel, crepe streamers and inflatable insects so that students would brush against them in the dark. It’s quite effective and the kids’ imaginations provide most of the scares.

Using the electronic whiteboard in the room, students watch a short video message from the ghost of “Pirate Bob”, then crawl in to the room with one small torch. We have a maximum of three students at a time for safety – with the lights off it’s completely black in there. They then have to find three gold coins (yellow counters) – one in the pit of spiders (a box we’ve filled with rubber spiders, with a large inflatable spider sitting on top); one in the quicksand (a container filled with sand with two rubber washing-up gloves poking out of it which gives kids a fright when they touch them); and one in Pirate Bob’s bones (a Halloween skeleton we downlit with a red spotlight). Once they’ve collected their three coins they have to find the exit (another tunnel) and crawl out. They can then exchange their coins for a prize – freddos, a lollipop, stickers etc.

Day One was today and we had a big line up wanting to get in. A lot of kids got turned away and will have to come back another day this week.

Cave 1

Book of the Year Winners Announced

The Children’s Book Council of Australia have just announced the winners of the Book of the Year Awards. I was thrilled to see that My Two Blankets won Picture Book of the Year. Congratulations to Irena Kobald and Freya Blackwood. I remember reading it last year when it first came out and immediately thinking that this would be the winner in the awards. Our Year 8 classes are studying picture books in English and I’ve done a lesson with each class on this book. There’s just so much to analyse in terms of symbolism, language, structure and use of colour. The students often think that picture books, being primarily for young children, must be simplistic, and it’s great to open their eyes to how much richness can be mined from a book that’s beautifully written, flawlessly illustrated and carefully designed. Even something as often overlooked as the endpapers takes on meaning in this book.

Book Week Activity: Glow Doodle

Of all the activities we’ve been doing in the lead up to Book Week, Glow Doodle has been the most popular. Once my Year 4 boys stop giggling over the name, they race to line up for it. I’ve used it with Year 3 to 7 and they’ve all enjoyed it. Glow Doodle is from MIT and allows students to create images with light.

We set up a “photo booth” in the library workroom in the bay at the far end of the compactus. It was quite a dark area anyway, having no windows and being behind another large compactus, but we lined the walls with rolls of black paper to stop reflected light off the white paint and, when we turn off the over head lights, it’s very dark indeed.

To use Glow Doodle you need a laptop with a webcam and a small light source. We started off using a penlight but found that an LED worked much better. The narrower the beam of light, the clearer the image you can produce. We also gave students some coloured cellophane to put over the lights to change the colour.

To create a Glow Doodle go to http://scripts.mit.edu/~eric_r/glowdoodle/ , stand in front of the web cam with your light and click “try it now”. You can experiment with your pictures and then click either “clear” or “upload”, depending on how they turn out. We’ve printed out the students’ creations and have created a wall of Glow Doodles in our library.

glowdoodle 1 glowdoodle 2 glowdoodle 3 glowdoodle 4

Designing a Tree-house

I’m reading Book of the Year nominee, A House of Her Own to the Preps to Year 2s this week.house of her own

The students are having a lot of fun designing their own fantasy tree-house. So far we’ve had chocolate-milk water slides and lollipop surveillance cameras, secret entrances and hidden rooms, ice-cream ponds and roller coasters. It took a bit of prompting to move them beyond thinking TV, bed or chair into really letting their imaginations go wild but now they’re getting excited about sharing their creations with their neighbours.

treehouse  treehouse 3

Book Week Activity: Making a Flashlight

My Year 3-7 students are cycling through a number of activities this term that combine the Book Week theme with science-based activities using equipment from our new MakerSpace. One of these activities involves building a flashlight from a paddlepop stick, a bulldog clip, an LED, aluminium foil and a button battery. I got the idea from this Instructable but I simplified the instructions a bit for the students.

The paddlepop sticks and bulldog clips we already had and I bought some LEDs, batteries and roll of stick-on aluminium tape from Jaycar Electronics for less than $20. All the LEDs and batteries disappeared within a few days as some kids thought they could keep them so I ended up having to buy more and count them all out and in each lesson.

The students made a switch out of a bulldog clip and some thin wire I had at home. They attached it to one end of the paddle pop stick, then attached an LED to the other end. Aluminium tape formed the circuit by connecting the switch to the light on the back of the stick, and the light to the battery on the front. When students closed the switch the circuit was completed and the lights turned on. We’ve set up a darkroom for another activity so they tried out their flashlights in there.flashlight

Book Week Quiz

Every year our Book Week celebrations tend to focus on our junior school and the seniors miss out. One tradition we have established with the senior school though is to have a competition between pastoral care groups one morning during Book Week. A quiz around the Book Week theme is placed in pigeonholes and emailed to staff and, as a group, each roll class tries to answer the questions. Teachers report that there’s a lot of collaboration and spirited discussion. Completed entries are then returned to the library and all correct entries go in the draw for a prize – normally a jumbo block of chocolate for the group to share. You can view this year’s quiz here: PCG competition 2015

Feel free to take, adapt and use as you like. If you can suggest any other questions, please share them in the comments.

Book Week Activity: Making Turtles

Between now and Book Week, I’m reading the picture books nominated for Book of the Year: Early Childhood and Picture Book with my classes.  This week I shared Snail and Turtle are Friends by Stephen Michael King with the Preps.

After compiling a Venn diagram about the similarities and differences between snails and turtles, the kids made their own paper turtle. My aide, Peta, drew a template using this website as a guide and photocopied it onto green paper. The kids then coloured it, cut it out and stuck the flaps together with tape to make the shell and head stand up. Apparently the collective noun for a group of turtles is a “bale”.

Turtle 4 Turtle 3 a bale of turtles 2

Book Week Displays

Apart from the lighthouse my aide created (see post below), we’ve also made a number of other light-themed displays that I wanted to share with you.

When we were brainstorming famous lights in literature, we thought of the lamp post in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. My aide built a lamp post out of cardboard and wooden dowel, then we covered some bean bags with fluffy cotton wadding to represent snow. The armchairs which we had to move to make way for the lighthouse were placed near the lamp post to create a comfortable corner for reading. Pictures from the Narnia movies were placed on the back wall and we show clips from the movie on the TV screen in the wall.

Reading together Lampost


On the back wall of the library, we took down the existing posters and created a large rainbow using rolls of crepe paper, then used covers we’d saved from hardback books and fishing line to create book “birds”. We also used the fishing line to hang “light bulb moments” from the ceiling in our senior section. The light bulb moments consist of a laminated cardboard light bulb suspended from the ceiling. Hanging from each is a statement about a discovery, invention or idea eg “Malala Yousafzai fights for the rights of girls to an education”, then a colour copy of a book cover from one of our books on that topic. We tried to get a balance of light bulb moments across genders, cultures and past and present. They’ve generated some good discussions with the kids.

Rainbow and books (00000002) Light bulb moment

Library Lighthouse

When we were brainstorming ideas for this week’s Book Week theme, Books Light up our World, we came up with the idea of having a large lighthouse as a central display. I left it to my library aide, Peta, who’s the creative one, to come up with how to actually create it. She explains below how it was built.

Lighthouse finished 2Building the lighthouse

When Ms Keen told us the theme for Book Week was ‘Books Light Up Our World’, we came up with the idea to build a lighthouse.  A light house, oh my goodness, how was I to do this?

I knew that it had to be strong enough so it wouldn’t fall over on top of anybody, so had to make the inside structure as strong as I could.

A few months before I had to build it, I had some furniture delivered and thought it would be a good idea to keep all the packaging in case we needed it here in the library to build something, hmmmm such as a lighthouse.  It turned out to be exactly what we needed.  I had lots of foam panels and solid foam shapes plus all the cardboard packaging.

I started by shaping the solid foam shapes into one solid piece and connected them with strong filament tape that we have in the library.  Once I had it how I wanted it and the position that I wanted I began to make the first half of the lighthouse.  I turned two large pieces of my cardboard boxes into a hexagon, taped the sides together and then cut the bottom of each side with flat panels, so that the bottom of the cardboard shape laid flat on the foam box.  I taped these panels to the foam with filament tape so that the first half of the lighthouse was now secure on the foam base.  I left an opening in the top of the lower half of the lighthouse large enough so that I would be able to put a light on a stand in it and thread the power lead through a hole I had cut out on the bottom corner of the hexagon – lighthouses have to have a light.lighthouse1

I then had to cut the foam panels to fit the hexagon shape of the lower half.  I measured them all, cut them to size, glued the panels to the cardboard shape and then reinforced each corner with filament tape.  I cut foam shapes to make a platform for the top of the lower half to stand the top of the next half of the lighthouse on to.

I then placed a tall lamp inside the lower half of the lighthouse and threaded the power lead to the outside as, once the top half was in place, I would not be able to put the light inside.

After making sure the platform was secure, the light in place, I then made the top half of the lighthouse, out of cardboard only, and in the exact same way as I did the bottom.  Once I had the six sides measured, I laid the shape on the floor and cut out the windows, covered them in yellow cellophane and then painted the inside of the top half before securing it in place.

lighthouse2 lighthouse 3 lighthouse 5

I painted the base black, the lighthouse white and then measured for the red panels which I then painted the next day.

I made the railing out of kebab skewers, stood them in foam and painted them black then placed them around the middle platform of the lighthouse and strung twine for the railing.

To top it off Shannon came up the great idea of putting an umbrella on the top to finish it completely (team work happening).

Working with foam you can imagine I made an absolute mess everywhere from the library office to the junior computer area and beyond and of course the principal, Dr Dolling, showed families through with me crawling around on the floor in a sea of paint, foam and cardboard.