One of the joys of writing for Chandler’s Ford Today is discovering projects I would not have otherwise come across. One of these was the Road to Agincourt Project which appealed to my love of all things historical.
Another was when I interviewed Kate Day of Chocolate Muffin Publishing and looked at their work with children and dementia patients (amongst others) to encourage creative writing.
Tonight’s post almost combines the two. Tying in with the Agincourt Project because of its links with the Sir Bevis of Hampton legend, is the Story Shuffle Project. This encourages children to write and ten local schools are taking part in the project, one of which is Merdon Junior School. The schools partner up with local libraries and naturally Merdon is linked to our library.
Image Credit: All images, unless otherwise stated, were supplied to Chandler’s Ford Today by Eastleigh Borough Council.
The Story Shuffle Project, which is being launched by The Berry Theatre, sets pupils ten challenges to complete during the autumn term. Following an initial workshop with the Hedge End-based theatre’s Drama Development team, the schools will use the story of Sir Bevis of Hampton, as the basis for the challenges, devised by the theatre’s associate writer, Matt Beames.
These challenges, when met(!), will then be fed into the Story Shuffle app, which was created by local developer, TinRaven, which is run by Niall Fraser. Eastleigh Borough Council’s Eastleigh Train idea encourages children to be more involved with their local libraries, which is why the Council is also involved with funding for this project.
The app is due to be launched during the Storywriting Festival in spring 2017. The app can hold hundreds of stories (in this case it will be the children’s versions of the stories of Sir Bevis) and it can be programmed so you never read the same story twice.
The Berry Theatre’s Drama Development has run workshops on the tales of Sir Bevis of Hampton. All schools in the Story Shuffle Project will use these stories as the basis for challenges devised by associate writer, Matt Beames.
Once the children have written their stories, these will then be collated, digitised and fed into the Story Shuffle app. These are then unlocked when the children visit their local library and enter a secret code.
I think this project is an excellent idea. The children are encouraged to visit their library and I recall having codes and things like that when I was growing up. I loved using them or trying to break them and I am all for projects that encourage anybody to see reading and creative writing as fun (because they are!).
I can also see the potential in developing a love of a good story (starting off with the Sir Bevis legend) going on to encourage a love of reading non-fiction (”real” history if you like). I’ve always found that if you can spark an interest in a subject, you then want to read in depth in and around the topic. Hopefully the children taking part in this project will find the same.
This new project could be a good way of getting a reluctant reader to discover there is a lot of fun to be had in coming up with your own stories as well. Already there is feedback from pupils who had not known about the Sir Bevis legend.
Pupils that took part from Freegrounds Junior School in Hedge End happily shared their thoughts.
Nine-year-old Sam, said: ‘It’s really cool because lots of other places have legends, and I had no idea that Southampton had one.’
Tom, also age nine, said: ‘I feel quite honoured to live in Southampton now!’
I had not known about the legend either until researching my previous CFT posts and I am glad to have discovered it. It is a cracking story. And it is known Henry V enjoyed Sir Bevis’s exploits via tapestry (the original comic “book” perhaps?).
I was delighted to come across the Road to Agincourt pdf files about Sir Bevis. There is a wealth of information here and I love the way it is presented. I would have loved a presentation like this when I was studying history.
When the children unlock and access their stories with their secret code, they will also be introduced to a wider range of books. The idea of encouraging reading and then to expand on what you read must be good for educational standards too.
During the Story Shuffle Project, the pupils will work towards gaining the Discover Arts Award qualification by learning more about the drama team’s day to day roles. This qualification is available for anyone aged up to 25 and encourages young people to find out about art around them and share their experiences. It all helps spread the word about art.
The awards match the Olympic medals in that they come in bronze, silver and gold. Each stage is progressively more challenging. For example in the silver medal category, I liked the idea of young people having to develop their own portfolio of art work (though this can be done the old fashioned way in print or the more modern way by blogging, making their own video diary and so on). The award is run by Arts Award and there are five levels to it (the first two are Discover and Explore, designed for younger children). And yes it ties in with the National Curriculum.
The project has been supported by Southampton based charity, Artswork, (£50,000), and there has been further funding from Eastleigh Borough Council and Arts Council England. Artswork also run creative apprenticeships.
Story Shuffle (and I love the name!) is part of the Berry Theatre’s Write Now programme which aims to develop new writers. See the link. The launch of the app during the Festival next year is to celebrate one year of the Write Now programme.
The schools taking part are:-
Wordsworth Primary School – Shirley
Banister Primary School – Southampton Central
Bevois Town Primary School – Portswood
Bitterne CE Primary School – Bitterne
Weston Park Primary School – Woolston
Cherbourg Primary School – Eastleigh
Freegrounds Junior School – Hedge End
Wellstead Primary School – West End
Netley Abbey Primary School – Netley
Merdon Junior School – Chandler’s Ford
I hope this project is successful and maybe, just maybe amongst the children taking part in Story Shuffle will come future writers and young people who discover they really do love history and may even go on to a career involving it. But something has to strike that initial spark of interest whether it be in reading, writing or whatever and I hope Story Shuffle can do that. Certainly the potential is there. I hope everyone taking part has a lot of fun with this.
Read blog posts by Allison Symes published on Chandler’s Ford Today.
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