Michael Rosen

World Book Day 2019- We're Going on a Bear Hunt

News from another of our schools about how they spent World Book Day. Many thanks to Tracy!

World Book Day 2019  saw our school celebrate the 30th ‘bookaversary’ of the classic and  wonderful ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury.

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Children and Staff  were encouraged to dress up as their favourite ‘booky’ bear or wear an outfit befitting a Bear Hunt- so our classrooms were  full of intrepid explorers and Paddingtons, Poohs, your average Grizzlies and even a teacher ‘Rupert’ (whose heart broke a little every time a child asked ‘Who is Rupert the Bear?’ Ah, children today have missed out on the charm of Nutwood Forest!)

Our library had transformed into a ‘Bear Hunting’ zone complete with all the obstacles the mighty bear hunters face in the story.

There was grass, a river, mud, forest,snowstorm and cave all created out of junk, blankets, balloons,cushions, camo nets, duvets and our everyday library furnishings. It was made interactive by some adult ‘wafting’  and enthusiasm and of course,the vital ingredient of ‘imagination’- which our small bear hunt participants duly switched on by tweaking their ears before we began.

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In the spirit of the ‘Share a Story’ theme of this years World Book Day, our Bear Hunt was  ‘call and response’ with initial quiet, uncertain voices turning into giant, excited, giggles as we progressed through our hunt -repeating with enthusiasm the familiar refrains and joining in with gusto the necessary ‘Swishy Swashy, Splish Splosh, Squelch Squerch, Stumble Trip, HoooWoo, TipToe’ to accompany our obstacles. The crescendo was of course our ’Bear’. By then our children were so completely absorbed in the story book world that our average ‘Ted’  became our frightening quarry and the ‘quick’ return journey home was quite exhilarating. Our library walls positively shook with the voices and laughter of thrilled little and big bear hunters as they realised they had ‘Forgot to close the door!’ and the smiles and twinkly eyes of the little faces peeking out of covers to announce full heartedly ‘WE’RE NOT GOING ON A BEAR HUNT AGAIN!’ was one of those priceless moments of working with children when you realise, just for an instant, how so very small  and innocent they really are.

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Over 200 KS1 children took part in a Bear Hunt that day and each hunt had something ‘magic’ about it - from the little girls who, dressed as Princesses, lifted skirts to avoid muddy hems in the ‘Mud’ to the boys who ‘swam’ through the wafting ‘river’  and exclaimed that in the ‘snowstorm’ they had ‘Really walked on ice!’ (it IS quite surprising how slippery an uncovered duvet can be!). The day positively flew by! The magic lingers a little still - with the smaller children still viewing our now ordinary Teddy with some trepidation!

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Seeing teachers interact with their pupils  in an imaginary world is not something the curriculum allows on a daily basis so it is lovely that World Book Day exists and that  the amazing ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ could give our pupils and staff that 10 or so minutes of opportunity to make a memory of a happy school day and of course -  feel the power of a really great story!

Egmont Reading for Pleasure Awards 2018

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Yesterday, I went to The Open University in Camden to attend their Research Symposium: Reading for Pleasure: what next? As part of this day, the Egmont Reading for Pleasure Awards were to be presented by Michael Rosen.

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Having caught the 6.20am train, I had plenty of time to catch up on some reading. 'Thornhill' is a fantastic read, told through journal entries and pages of illustrations.It is an incredible story- one which we will be reviewing very soon.

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Read number two was the next in the wonderful 'Secret Diary of...' series by Philip Ardagh, illustrated by Jamie Littler. Full of fun facts and information, these books are extremely entertaining! I'm sure the man siting next to me was trying to read it over my shoulder whilst pretending to work! This is another title we will review soon.

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My final read for the journey to London was this - 'Lifters' by Dave Eggers. This was a very enjoyable read- another for the to-be-read pile!

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I finished my books just as the train arrived at Paddington station where I took a moment to visit my favourite bear! I then made my way to Camden and to the offices of The Open University, arriving just in time for tea and pastries. Fortified by my nine-thirties, I was ready for a morning of research and discussion about reading.

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Chris Routh from the FCBG was there and I realised one of the speakers was someone I had gone to school with- it's a small world!

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And then...it was time for the awards. Mendip Green had entered in the whole school category and were awarded Highly Commended. The only drawback was having to have my photo taken! It would have been lovely to have the whole staff there to receive our certificate!

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The day continued with lots of thoughtful discussions, including a panel of speakers who spoke about the reading projects they are involved in and the impact these are having. I made copious notes which I plan to share with everyone at a staff meeting soon!

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All too soon the conference was over, so I made my way to Piccadilly and Hatchards Booksellers, a beautiful 'Brilliant Bookshop' where I purchased some new reading material for the journey home!

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It was a wonderful day! Lots of food for thought and focusing on reading- what more could anyone want?!