World Book Week – Junior School ideas

Click here for the Infants activities.

Year 3

Dragons again for Year 3, but this time our activity was not quite so hectic. For this session I used the ever popular and wildly witty How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell.

How to train your dragon

Publisher: Hodder Childrens Books
ISBN: 9780340999073
Published: 4/2/2010

The bit that I love the most out of this book is Professor Yobbish’s rule book for training dragons. Without giving it all away, it’s a very visual joke and it’s well worth reading to find out what I’m on about. The one thing I’d say for it is that if you have a Smartboard, make sure you’ve got scans of the pages (or even the eBook) to flick through on the board when you read them aloud. Leads to a whole class less of craned necks, I can tell you. Suffice to say, Professor Yobbish’s rulebook is not exactly all-encompassing, so the task for this book is to make up our own rules and write them down on the page of A4 I’d made them with a rulebook drawn on.

After a brief brain burp moment where I had to figure out how to tell one young lady that no, I didn’t think stabbing the dragon would accomplish much in the way of compliance, some of the rules were pretty inventive. They were working in pairs and one set of young ladies decided a fish on a stick would be a good incentive, whilst two young lads thought that a Mars bar would work better. A stern session with the naughty corner was suggested too, as well as the inventive idea of reading your dragon a calming story to soothe him into doing what you wanted.

I hadn’t done this one before so it surprised me what the kids came up with. I think next time though I’ll make sure the kids get more than a page of A4 to scribble their ideas down on. Maybe I could expand it so it’s a dragon care book too, so we could suggest ways to care for a dragon, as well as training it? I’ll have to bear it in mind for next year.

Year 4

Have you ever tried finding pictures of mythical beasties online that aren’t X-rated? It’s tricky, I can tell you. This one did involve a lot of Internet research for some non-copyrighted images I could use as props for the activity, but that’s all and I daresay if you had access to any image software better than my ancient Word Clipart it’d make this a lot quicker to put together.

I read a small excerpt from the start of Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan for this class, the bit where his evil teacher Mrs Dodds morphs into her true form of a harpy on a field trip and attempts to kill him in the Greco-Roman section of a museum. The task? Design your own mythical beastie.

Percy Jackson

Publisher: Puffin Books
ISBN: 9780141346809
Published: 4/5/2006

This one is always popular and some of the beasties the kids came up with were truly inventive. I’d got a bunch of images laminated and I gave a set out to groups of kids to help give some inspiration, but obviously books work nicely too, especially this one if you want some real variety. I suppose you could extend this in lessons by getting your class to think up a back story to their mythical beastie – where does he/she/it live? What do they eat? What’s their story? Are they good/evil? Are they the hero/heroine? Do they meet a hero/heroine? etc etc etc.

Regardless, these are some of the awesome gods and ghoulies they came up with:

Year 5

This is possibly my all-time favourite activity. It involves no paperwork whatsoever, and consists solely of a bunch of laminates and 3-4 pages from one book. This book to be exact:

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
ISBN: 9781408810576
Published: 1/11/2010

On a completely unrelated note, how natty are the new art deco-y covers for Harry Potter? I’m rather fond.

I read aloud the bit towards the end, where Harry is in the maze and comes up against the Sphinx. The Sphinx sets him a riddle to solve in order to get her to move so Harry can continue on into the maze, and this is what this activity is all about – riddles.

I didn;t know this before I started doing these sorts of activities, but apparently kids love riddles. I’ve done it with three classes and every one got very excited. And by excited, I mean waving-your-arm-in-the-air-please-miss-please-miss-ooh-ooh-i-know-the-answer-pick-me-miss-up-on-my-knees excited. Which is always a good sign I reckon!

All I did was google some simple riddles and make up an A4 page of them. I printed a couple of copies, laminated them, then cut ech riddle out and gave a handful to several small groups. The aim of the activity was to solve the riddles you had or think up your own one, with occasional breaks to see if anyone had got the answer or could think up a riddle to fox the rest of the class. It’s amazing how many the kids already knew, and the kids loved it when I went round the class, got quizzed on a riddle and then couldn;t find the answer. Nothing better than puzzling the person in charge after all and it was good fun 🙂 I can confidently say the best and most confounding riddle I’ve found so far is ‘This body part exists when I’m sitting, and disappears when I stand up. What is it?’ – if you know the answer keep stum, if you’re desperate to know, ask me on Twitter 🙂

Year 6

The big guys! I must admit, this wasn’t my favourite activity and I think I need to rework it. Possibly it just needed some more time, or a bit of a lead in for the more stuck ones. Like How to Train Your Dragon, this would benefit enormously from a smartboard and the eBook of the book, so the kids can all see the illustrations because I have picked the most popular book for juniors at the moment….

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Publisher: Puffin Books
ISBN: 9780141324906
Published: 3/7/2008

Need I say more?

The bit I read aloud from was the part where Greg is recounting his and Rowley’s attempts at writing a cartoon strip of their own, particularly Rowley’s success with the continual catchphrase ‘Zoo-wee Mama!’. In terms of preparation, all it took was an A4 page with a strip of three boxes drawn on it. Took me all of 1 minute to do on the laptop and then it was just a case of making sure I had 30 odd of them. It went down quite well, I think because pretty much all the children were familiar with Wimpy Kid and were eager to get down to a bit of drawing. It’s probably an activity that needs more time though, as some kids needed a bit more time to come up with a joke for their cartoon strip. I’ll have to think up something a bit more time-firendly for next year, but this is an idea worth bearing in mind I reckon. If all else fails, the riddles idea has worked nicely with Year 6’s too 🙂

So, there you have it, what BooKa Uhu did last week for World Book Week. If you like an idea, let me know how it goes, or how you’ve tweaked it 🙂 What did you get up to last week?


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