Advent Book Review 12: The Big Christmas Book

big book of christmas

The Big Book of Christmas is a compilation of stories, songs, scripts and rhymes chosen by Gaby Morgan. I love her collections, Read Me 1 and Read Me 2, and read them to Esther and William every day when they … Continue reading 

Advent Book Review Seven: Carol Gaily Carol

What it looks like now!

This is a book of Christmas carols but for me it is more than that it is a book of Christmas memories, Christmases at junior school where we used to sing these carols over and over again every year. And … Continue reading 

Night Monkey Day Monkey Book Review

Night Monkey Day Monkey

Over the last couple of weeks we have been reading and rereading a book which is becoming a firm favourite in the Nairn Henley household. A Julia Donaldson picture book about night and day, through the eyes of two little … Continue reading 

Fudgy Comes to Stay: A Review

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Esther and William will be 7 months corrected age next week. Developmentally they are at the stage where they love cuddles with people and stuffed toys. They are starting to develop preferences for certain toys and stories. They are beginning … Continue reading 

Mumra’s School Disco!

For Mumra’s 7th playlist she is asking us to reveal our school disco tracks.

I have two; a dance track that for me signifies the start of my disco career and the first song that I can remember slow dancing to in the school hall.

Both tunes remind me of my time at Edinburgh School in Munster,Germany and I guess at this time I would have been in Years 7, 8 and 9.

The dance style of the moment was The Running Man!

Madonna was enjoying a revival.

My full school disco playlist would include many many classic early 90s tunes but these two define, for me, discos at school.

Snap – The Power and Madonna – Crazy For You

Oh the memories of those so special days!!

Technotronic anyone? Betty Boo? Pump up the Jam!

They say that your school days are the best days of your life and with tunes such as these making up the soundtrack how can they be wrong?

Mumra Playlist

Flashback Friday – All Island Championship

When I was 6 we moved to Cyprus where I went to Berengaria School followed by Episkopi Primary. It was a great place to be during thos important childhood years. School started at 7.30am and finished at lunch ready for afternoons in the sun and on the beach. Happy days!

One of my best school memories from this time is playing table tennis. My Mum and Dad were both excellent table tennis players and my Mum in particular won lots of trophies and awards.

In 1985 I also played table tennis in a competition and what’s more, I won. I won the Junior Doubles competition with my good friend Mary Casson and I came second to her in the Singles contest. These games formed part of the All Island Table Tennis Tournament where I represented my school.

I continued to play table tennis when we moved from Cyprus to Germany but I never played competitively again, which is a shame really as I think if I had continued I could have been really rather good. My parents still play even now, though socially rather than competitively.

Here are some photos of a younger more champion me!

Bloggers Year Book

Today I have been reading about a Bloggers Year Book to be collated by Tara at Sticky Fingers. This has been inspired by people posting old school photos as part of this week’s The Gallery theme of Education. I did not post my school photos but would very much like to be included in the year book so am posting some photos here. These are all quite early pics through primary to Year 7, I think. They were all taken in the 80s.

I wonder if regular readers of my blog see any likeness between me and Esther and William? I would be really interested to know.

Year Book Photo Collection

Book Review Owl Babies

This book by Martin Waddell I adore. It is such a simple, repetitive text but with much that can be read beween the lines. In our house this book is often performed with finger puppets! I find this text perfect for performing or reading aloud, gving each owl baby a distinct voice and character of its own. The text in parts is poetc and reads much like a lullaby. It is a classic bedtime tale.

Three owl babies, Sarah and Percy and Bill, are waiting together for their Mummy to come home from hunting. They are worried that she might not return and Bill in particular really wants his Mummy. Together they wonder where she might be and when she will be home. They huddle together for warmth and comfort until soft and silent Mummy swoops through the trees to Sarah and Percy and Bill.

This book is also perfect for use in the classroom for children aged 5 – 7.

My favourite activity is to use puppets or sequencing cards to retell the story.

You can split a class into three groups and ask each group to read the speech of one of the owls and try to imagine what that owl is thinking and feeling. The children could then extend their character profiles by using their understanding of the three personalities to try imagining how they would each respond to other situations, such as learning to fly, making a new nest and finding their own food.

During a shared re-reading of the story you can ask children to listen carefully to the babies’ speech and decide at the end of each page whether the owls are getting more nervous as the story progresses. A nerve chart/graph can be used to support visual and kinaesthetic learners. Understanding characters’ motivation for their actions is an important part of reading and understanding narrative fiction.

Ask children to think how a trio made up of their own friends and family would respond differently to various situations. Encourage children to think of times when they have been scared or excited and when they have reacted differently to a family member or friend. Think about actions, words and feelings. Role play could be used to explore different situations.

A great tool for the classroom is Role on the Wall. Draw an outline of each owl baby on the wall and then write key words about their character on to the outline. What they look like on the outside and what they think and feel on the inside of the outline. This is a good plenary activity that can be used after characters have been explored through role play.

As well as being a beautiful simple story, Owl Babies also exemplifies theuse of a full ramge of punctuation marks in context. This book is a great resource for sentence level work in literacy. How many different words, for example, can children come up with to replace ‘said’?

For a book with so few words, there is so much to be gained from sharing this story wih children in your classroom or your home.

Why not try these ideas linked to the text?

Ask children to write a set of Keep Safe rules (procedural text) for the owls when their mother is a way or for themselves in a given situation – in the playground, in the classroom etc.

Compare Owl Babies with the first chapter of The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark to compare the feelings of the Plop with Sarah, Percy and Bill.

Ask children to compose a speech by the mother owl to make the owls feel better. The Owl Mother puppet can be used for children to deliver their speech through. This could be a good paired activity.

Make a class reference book called ‘All About Owls’, use the information text included as an introduction to the text type and as a model for children’s own text.

Incorporate the use of ICT and create a web page, ‘All about Owls’.

A fantastic resource and a right good read!

Mummy and Esther and Will!

When I Grow Up

When I was just a little girl,
I asked my mother,
What will I be?
Will I be pretty?
Will I be rich?
Here’s what she said to me …

From an early age I dreamed of being; never being any one set thing but each thing related to words. And now when I think about those childhood ambitions many of them remain the same to this day. I would still like to be an actress, a journalist, an English and Drama teacher. Added now to my list are the White House Press Secretary and my one childhood pipe dream, a professional ice skater, like my childhood heroine Katarina Witt.

So here in more detail are the things I would most like to be when I grow up.

Ice Skater
When I was younger I lived in Germany and I used to love watching ice skating on television. My favourite skater was Katarina Witt. She was a hugely successful skater and was jut gorgeous to watch. I loved her grace, her elegance, her costumes!! I loved watching her colour and creativity and sparkle on the screen. I used to dream of being just like her. In reality when I went ice skating as a child I had to hang on to the sides of the rink so as not to fall over. An ice dancer I was never going to be!

Actress
I tried so hard to make this dream come true. I was in every possible school production, I studied GCSE Drama and A Level Theatre Studies, I joined local drama groups and when we moved to areas that did not have a drama group then from as young as 9 I woud start one. Drama was and is my thing! I would have given anything to be a professional actress. When I was a child I was desperate to join Anna Scher Theatre School. I worshipped her and wrote her letters. I am fairly sure that she replied too. I also went through a phase of wanting to go to The Italia Conti Academy, none of this was possible as by this time we were living in Germany. I wrote to the BBC too and asked if I could be an extra. I also told the BBC about a book I liked that should be made into a TV series and I even offered to play the leading role myself. I was desperate! As I got older I realised that I needed to make the best of my amateur experiences as a professional role was probably not ever going to be mine.

Writer / Journalist
I tried hard to achieve this goal too. I was editor of our class magazine at school as a pupil and also ran the school newspaper as a teacher. At university I wrote short pieces for the TES and had an interview for ATL. In my late teens I had an interview for a job as a local news reader on BFBS Radio in Germany. They were very impressed with me at the interview but I was too young for the role. I loved the interview though, choosing what news needed to be given the highest priority and makng headlones and reading them out over the air. Such a great experience, I would have loved that job! Now as a blogger I am developing my writing skills and I also write articles about Zu3D for my fiance. I would like to write a book one day. I have been writing stories and poems for as long as I can remember. It is something that I find very easy, something that I love to do. Perhaps an educational children’s book will be in the offing one day.

English and Drama Teacher
I am half way to this one already as a primary teacher and literacy subject leader but when my own children go to school I would like to work as a secondary school English teacher. I want to be like Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society. That is my dream job. That is the dream I am going to strive to achieve next and I cannot wait!!

White House Press Secretary
This is my fantasy dream job after becoming a little obsessed with The West Wing. I think I could be a good Press Secretary, I would love to give it a try!! I love the patriotism and passion in The West Wing. I am not American but The West Wing makes me want to serve at the pleasure of the President. Of President Bartlett anyway!

So there you have it, what I would be, if I could be, should I ever ever grow up.

Please hop on over to Manana Mama who is hosting this week’s listography to explore other people’s hopes, dreams and fantasies.