Rachel Knox is a History & English lead as well as the deputy head teacher at Gawber Primary School! Today she tells us how Young Writers inspired her very own picture book.
It is probably easier to begin by telling you a little about me and my connection with our school. As well as being the deputy head, I am also the History and English lead and I'm passionate about both subjects. I'm particularly interested in the local history of Gawber as I was once a pupil at Gawber Primary myself and my family members have also been pupils of Gawber School.
This year was the 50th anniversary of the current school building (although there have been school buildings that have preceded us) and so at the beginning of the last school year, we started to plan celebration events to mark the occasion. For example, after working with the local history group, we planned a community event where we showcased memorabilia, inviting local residents to share their best memories of our village.
In order the raise the profile of writing in our school, I decided to encourage our children to enter The Magic Door competition, giving everyone the beginning to the story where our school mascot, Jeffrika the giraffe, discovered the mystery door. The children were then free to come up with their own story about what adventure Jeffrika may get up to after going through the door. We promoted the competition in school, encouraging the children to become 'published writers' to help mark the 50th anniversary.
To promote and encourage the competition further, I wrote the beginning to my own story about Jeffrika as an example for the children, where he went through the door and visited the schools of the past. Originally, the idea was that I'd model the first stages of story writing for the children but it soon ignited a spark within me and before I knew it, I'd written the book of The Primary School Giraffe.
I've always wanted to write children's books and I'm often telling the children at school to believe in their own abilities. What better way to model the joy of writing that to write a book myself? Last Saturday, the book was 'live' on Amazon and on Monday I read it aloud to the whole school. Absolutely wonderful!