Story Bites in School is in its second year at Hamstel Junior School, and for Year 6 it is also their second project. We stared reading and exploring The Extincts by Veronica Cossanteli back in September and over the interim each class has familiarised themselves with the book, we’ve had quizzes, played games and discussed lots of different things. There have been disagreements – is Yoda a mythical creature of the future and are
mermaids real? There has been lots of laughter and opportunities for everyone to shine and share their experiences and ideas as we situated the book in a wider cultural context.
On Thursday 29th January, Story Bites in School The Extincts came to a climax at Hamstel with the All Day Challenge. This part of the project is inspired by the book and tweaked and shaped to accommodate the pupil’s responses to the book. Nobody in the school knows what is going to happen on that day, in fact once the touch paper is lit by the instructions nobody including me, knows exactly what will happen.
The pupils and staff gathered together at the start of the day to be given instructions and resources, knowing that by the close of the afternoon the project would be complete. The anticipation in the hall was palpable in the pupils, as was the fear in the teaching staff. The Extincts is about a farm of mythical and extinct creatures. The plot is mapped in a fairly complex way and covers a wide range of themes that are linked through concepts of conservation, friendship, family and selflessness.
We challenged the Year 6s to create a new creature to live at the farm. They had 250 small cube boxes, masking tape and paint. They also had to give their creature an identity – species, name and place of origin at the very least and a care plan so that we knew how to look after it. They could use other resources that they could find in the school and they could be as imaginative as they chose to be. By the end of the challenge they had to be able to introduce their creature to the rest of the year.
Year 6 came up trumps! An amazing day started with each class working in very different ways to evolve their ideas. By break, we had news that a Minionsaur, a Dragodo, a Meglapheo and Grandma were all on their way to the farm. The rest of the day, including some very unlikely suspects actually choosing to work over lunch, was a flurry of activity. Somehow (don’t ask me how … it always does) everything was done on time, and we all paraded round to meet the creatures and be told how the care for them. It was a truly inspiring day.
Read more on the book The Extincts by Veronica Cossanteli here.