Wednesday, 19 November 2014

A story of friendship - The blue haze by Red Sparrow

This is a story for primary aged children. It has been written with boys in mind but hopefully the girls will like it too.

Eddie, Nick and Jake were unlikely friends but they were good friends and this is their story.

Eddie had just turned ten and today was a big day. His mum was allowing him to walk home from school by himself for the first time.

However, before we start let me tell you a couple of things about Eddie. First, he was smart and really loved science and secondly, he was a dreamer. It was this unique combination which led him to be stuck in this tricky predicament with his unlikely friends, Nick and Jake.

Feeling rather grown-up, Eddie starting walking home. He walked proudly out the school gates and down Victoria Road. He passed the bakery and watched the parents buying their hungry kids cheesy rolls and finger buns. He walked past the newsagent and watched Jack’s mum yelling at him to get out and cross the road as the man was green. He walked with a feeling of maturity, the way he thought a teenager felt. Eddie was almost home when he walked past the park. There were shrills of laughter from the little kids being pushed on the swings and tears from the little boy who had just face-planted down the slide but Eddie didn’t take too much notice – after all he was really getting a bit old for parks. It was only when he saw, in the corner of his eye, a blue light at the end of the park that he looked over properly. It was a bright blue haze and if he didn’t know any better, he would have said it was an energy field, something he had only ever read about. This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, he had to have a look. He could hear his mum’s voice ‘Now Eddie make sure you come straight home’ what could he do? He looked around and spotted his neighbour also walking home. He scribbled on a piece of paper the following

Mum, doing a science experiment in the park. I will see you soon, won’t be long.
love Eddie.’

He asked his neighbour to give the note to his mum. She would understand, he was sure.

Eddie walked closer to the blue energy haze. It could be plutonium, he thought with glee. Then I could feed it to my bird Enso and see if he mutated and developed super powers, he thought. Just as Eddie was thinking about a giant Enso flying him to school each day, a humming noise snapped him out of it. He moved closer and studied the blue, humming haze. It looked like a tunnel that was spinning really fast.  It was truly awesome! It must be a quantum teleportation portal, he thought with the same excitement he felt going to bed the night before Christmas. He didn’t even hesitate as he jumped straight into the tunnel ¼ only to be spat straight back out.  Mmm, it must be spinning too fast for me to stay in there, he thought. He pondered for a minute and then he knew just what he had to do. He went to find his friend Jake, knowing exactly where he would be – in the computer lab at school.

Jake was also ten years old, and was a total computer whizz. He was so good the computer teacher would often ask him to take the classes for her. Jake had taught himself to read by the age of three so that he could use his mum’s computer. By six he had written his own software and by eight he had built his own computer from scratch.  He knew more about computers, Apps, programming and hardware than anyone Eddie knew, and this is why he called on Jake this particular afternoon.

As expected Jake was in the computer lab explaining something to the computer teacher. ‘Jake!’ Eddie called from the door.  ‘I need you, I really, really, need you’. Jake came over and Eddie explained about the tunnel and his theories very softly so the computer teacher couldn’t hear. ‘I think my body might be may be too dense to go into the tunnel so perhaps we could slow the spinning down somehow then I might be able to get through the tunnel and then see if it is a teleportation portal like I think it is.  Do you think you could somehow slow the spinning of the energy tunnel?’ Eddie asked.  Jake looked upwards as if his eyes were studying the way his brain was thinking. Then, after a few seconds a big smile erupted on his face. ‘I know what to do!’ he cried.  In the same breath he yelled ‘I’ve got to go Mrs K sorry data emergency’. Jake grabbed his laptop and ran out the door with Eddie.

On the way to the park Jake explained to Eddie what he was going to do. ‘You remember Einstein’s gravitational time dilation theory?’ ‘Of course,’ said Eddie. ‘Well, remember how time or energy can slow when it’s closer to a stronger gravity force?’ ‘Yes,’ said Eddie. ‘Well, I think I can write a program that can increase the forces of gravity in this exact spot, then hopefully we should be able to slow down the energy source, which would slow down the tunnel,’ Jake said rather proudly.  Eddie began to smile, ‘don’t get excited yet’ said Jake. ‘I will only be able to do this for a very short period of time, so you will have to be really, really fast, Eddie’ he said.   ‘I can be fast’ said Eddie. Jake didn’t look so convinced. Unlike Eddie, Jake was not a dreamer and was very practical. He thought for a moment and then said ‘Eddie have you wondered what may be inside the tunnel or even on the other side?’ Eddie laughed: ‘An adventure of course!’

It didn’t take long for Jake’s computer skills to kick in, and the program was soon finished. ‘Eddie, it’s ready to go,’ said Jake, quickly followed by ‘Are you sure about this?’ Eddie rolled his eyes at Jake. ‘Just tell me when to run into the tunnel.’ ‘OK then,’ said Jake. ‘I’m going to count you in and when I get to zero you need to run into the tunnel as fast as you can.’ Eddie gave him the thumbs up and prepared himself just the same as he did before the last school cross-country run. Eddie was a fantastic scientist but he was not a very fast runner, so this was going to be an experiment in itself!

Jake typed a few final characters on his laptop then started the countdown ‘54321 and zero run, Eddie, run’ he yelled. Eddie ran with all his might as he forced his way into the blue energy haze. He felt as though he was in a washing machine being tumbled around and around. He felt weightless and without power over his body as the energy forced him to do somersaults backwards, sideways and forwards. He thought he could see an orange glow a metre away but it was impossible for him to move any further down the tunnel. The force was too strong and the spinning was getting faster and faster and the backwards pull was too intense. The next moment he was thrown out of the tunnel and landed on his butt. His head was spinning but he was not hurt, in fact he was really excited.

‘Jake, that was awesome!’ he said. ‘I almost made it through but it was just too strong for me.’ We have to try again,’ he said. ‘I can’t slow it down for any longer’ said Jake. They both sat in silence for a minute thinking about how to solve this dilemma. ‘We need to increase your physical power,’ said Jake. ‘We can’t do that in 5 minutes though,’ thought Eddie out loud. ‘Ahh, but what we could do is get something to help you, like flippers help swimmers,’ said Jake. ‘Something or someone,’ yelled Eddie. He knew just who could help him - his friend Nick V, and he knew exactly where Nick would be: at the school cricket nets.

Nick V loved sport and was very good at it. He spent all his time playing sport and was the fastest and strongest person in the school. Eddie and Jake raced back to school to find Nick at the cricket nets. ‘Nick, Nick,’ they yelled. ‘We need you quick, come over here.’ Nick V looked up from under his helmet and gestured to his teammates to take a break. ‘What’s up, guys?’ he said.

I think the question should be asked here: how do a science lover, a computer whizz and a sports nut all end up good friends?  It wasn’t as if they played together at lunchtime, Nick was on the sportsfield, Eddie was in the science lab and Jake was in the computer lab. No, these three boys had more in common than interests. It was the qualities they shared. They were all kind, they were all fair, they were all loyal and they always stood up for each other. It was these things that made them such good friends to each other.

So naturally, when Eddie and Jake asked Nick V for help he was there without any questions.  Well, maybe one question. ‘You want me to catapult you into a - what did you call it again?’ Nick V asked. He thought maybe Jake had been looking at too many computer screens and Eddie had been sniffing too many science chemicals! ‘Are you guys feeling OK?’ he asked. ‘Let us show you, so you will see we are not going mad,’ said Eddie, ‘but be quick.’ Eddie was realising his time would be running out before his mum came looking for him. ‘Fast is what I do understand!’ smiled Nick V, and with that they all ran back to the park.

‘Wow,’ said Nick V, ‘this is amazing. Where will it take you?’ ‘We’re not sure, but there are theories that say it could take us to another time, or to another universe, we don’t really know,’ said Eddie. ‘Awesome,’ said Nick V.  Jake frowned. ‘I still think the risk is too high - how will you get back?’ ‘Let’s figure that out when I get there, wherever “there” is,’ said Eddie. Jake explained the process to Nick V and they agreed that when he counted down to zero he would catapult Eddie into the tunnel with all his power.  

‘Are you ready, Eddie?’ asked Jake. ‘Yes,’ said Eddie. ‘Are you ready, Nick?’ asked Jake. ‘Yes,’ said Nick. Jake tapped on his computer and then started the countdown ‘5… 4321 and zero GO!’ he yelled.
Nick V did a little run up and then, pushed Eddie up into the blue energy haze as hard as he could. The only problem was that the force was so great that Nick was catapulted into the tunnel too.

They were both enveloped in blue energy haze. They felt as though they were whirling in space as they were spun around and around and around in the tunnel.

This is what it would be like to live in a blue slushie, thought Nick. There was a deafening hum and he could see that Eddie was trying to yell something to him, but he couldn’t hear. Everything was spinning and he was going around and around. He could see the end of the tunnel, with an opening, and an orange glow beyond. He was close to it, very very close.  

 Eddie, however, no longer had the feeling he could make it to the end of the tunnel. He was still spinning and being flung around, but suddenly, in the blink of an eye, he was spat out of the energy tunnel and found himself sitting next to Jake in the park.  

Nick was no-where to be seen.

What happened next?

Thursday, 30 October 2014

A story to help boost children's self confidence - the ending of Iris the Wallflower by Mollie age 7

I thought I would post a beautiful ending that was sent to me by a girl named Mollie who is 7 years old.

In her imagination and own words this is her beautiful ending.

'What do you need me to help you with?' replied Iris.

'Well, one of the daffodils in the KCW garden feels very different because instead of yellow petals he has blue petals' said Rose. 

'Well, in that case, I think I might be able to help you and the KCW garden' said Iris.  

'How?' asked one of the yellow daffodils.  'Well this is what the portraits of KCW told me...' 'Max told me that you should always look on the good side of someone. So, what is something GOOD about blue daffodil?' 
'He ALWAYS makes me laugh' giggled Rose. 'And does everyone else make you laugh?' asked Iris. 'Yes' replied Rose. 'Well, that makes him the same doesn't it? 'Yes,  it does!' laughed Rose.

                                                                                The End
                                         By Mollie

Saturday, 18 October 2014

A story to help boost self confidence in children - Iris the Wallflower by Red Sparrow

Hi there,
Here is my first blog story, inspired by my son's Kindy class. I hope your children enjoy it. It's for primary school aged children (but some preschoolers may enjoy it too). 
Remember they get to finish the story, and hopefully may be inspired to draw some of the illustrations they imagine whilst reading it, and maybe (hopefully) they might learn something too.
Love Red Sparrow 

Iris the Wallflower by Red Sparrow

Wherever Iris went nobody seemed to notice her.

There was always someone louder.

Someone taller.

Someone smarter.

Someone with more toys .....and someone with more friends, than Iris.

So Iris stopped trying to be seen and started to blend into the background more, and more.

She stopped putting her hand up in class.
The teacher didn’t pick her anyway.

Then, one day, the most peculiar thing happened.
Iris blended into the background so much that her teacher marked her as absent.
‘Mrs Clarke I’m here’ she cried but Mrs Clarke couldn’t hear her. Iris felt a little strange, she was in the classroom, but something was different. ‘Where am I?’ thought Iris.

Then she heard a voice. ‘Well hello there’ said a girl looking a lot like her friend Issy.
‘You look like Issy,’ said Iris. ‘Who are you?’ ‘I look like Issy because I am Issy!’ giggled the Issy-like girl.  ‘There’s something different about you though’ said Iris. ‘Ok’ said the Issy-like girl. ‘Maybe I’m not the real Issy but she made me, to be her.’ ‘Remember when you were asked to paint your self-portraits last week? Well, I’m Issy, made by Issy to be the best version of Issy ever. Very pleeeased to meet you!’  She certainly was as friendly as Issy, thought Iris.

Iris looked around and noticed all these familiar faces smiling at her. There was one that looked like Joe and Olivia, Marcus, Lucus and Hene, Benita, Ava, Alex, Andrea, Harry, Kingston, Lazar, Remy, and even crazy Montana was there. It seemed the whole of KCW were there.

‘Oh my’ shrieked Iris realising where she was.
‘I’m stuck in the arts n craft wall of my classroom. What am I going to do?’

‘Oh it’s not such a bad place’ said Jessica’s self-portrait. ‘you still get to see what’s going on in the classroom and you have all of us,’ she beamed! ‘And anyway, it’s not like you really liked to be down there and at least here you get the best versions of all of us!’

‘Best versions?’ queried Iris ‘Yes’ Zara piped in. ‘Here no one is mean or teases anyone so everyone is free to be themselves without having to worry about anything, oh and we do have a lot of fun too!'

‘That does sound nice’ thought Iris.

So Iris stayed in the 
arts n crafts wall and came to know and love all her new friends.

There was Gabby who was shy in class but in the arts n craft wall made everyone laugh with her dog impersonations. Then there was Sophia, the smart kid in class who would make everyone feel silly by saying how ‘easy’ everything was. Here in the arts n craft wall she would have everyone roll over in hysterics by burping the alphabet. Then there was Will also known as Mr Chatterbox who would have everyone captivated by making up the best spy stories ever. Finally, there was Max who used to worry about what everyone thought, but in the wall he would break out in the most amazing dance moves Iris had ever seen and before long everyone would be dancing!

Iris felt free and was so happy. She loved living in the arts n craft wall.

Then one day something happened.

Mrs Clarke started to take down the self portraits.

‘Goodbye Iris’ said Zara’s self portrait. ‘Time for me to go Iris’ said Issy’s self portrait. ‘Cheerio Iris’ said Will’s self portrait.

‘Please stop taking them away Mrs Clarke’ cried Iris.
Mrs Clarke couldn’t hear Iris and so she kept taking down the self portraits.

As Max was being unpinned he could see Iris was upset. ‘Iris maybe you should go back too?’ he said.  ‘We are all going back to our real selves, so maybe you should go back to your real self too?’ he said.

‘I love it here’ said Iris ‘I feel so happy and so free all the time’ she said.  

‘That’s wonderful, but you can feel like that in your real self too’ said Max. ‘Remember the only reason you feel like that is you are free to be yourself here like all of us. You can be like that in the classroom too.’ he said. 

‘But not everyone is as nice as they are up here’ said Iris. 

‘I know’ said Max ‘you are so lucky because you have seen all your classmates in the best way so even if they are not always like this you know they can be, always look for the best in everyone.’  ‘Oh and one more thing if you are ever feeling sad or worried or angry that’s ok but know you can always come here to this special place and most importantly remember how it felt and know you can feel like that whenever you like.’

‘Wow Max’ said Iris  ‘I always thought you were the funny guy in class but you really are a wise old sensei’ said Iris  ‘I get it from my Mum’ chuckled Max.

Then he was gone and Iris was by herself in the arts n craft wall. Iris thought to herself how wonderful it would be to feel that great in the real classroom.  Well thought Iris, I know I can feel happy and free so even if I’m not feeling that way I know that I can. Iris felt good and decided it would be a good idea to go back to the classroom. Then something happened.

‘Hello Iris, I’m Rose,’ said a Rose. Then came a Bee, an Ant, and more flowers. ‘You can’t leave now’ said the Daffodil the arts n craft  garden need you, you are the only one who can help us……….

to be continued by you..x

@storytelling @childrensselfesteem

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Once upon a time.....

Over the past few years a number of people have suggested I start a blog. My reaction has always been I really don't have enough to say (which is funny for someone who loves writing). Really though, for me it was about having something of substance to say and not just writing something because of the need to post a blog. I knew the more pressure to fill the blog the more inane my posts would be; just look at my twitter account, or rather please don't. The pressure of 130 words sparrows don't work well with caged restrictions.

The good news for my idle twitter account is from trying to think of 130 word pieces of substance I had an idea! My idea went something like this....

I may not always have insightful, intelligent, funny posts to blog about on tap but what I do have in this crazy head of mine is loads of  fun, silly and wacky stories for children. To develop that idea further I worry that children's natural creativity is somehow 'lost' or moved aside to make room for all the other 'stuff' (and trust me there seems to be an awful lot of 'stuff') they must learn at school these days. I believe everyone is creative but I guarantee you if you ask a number of your friends they will tell you they are not (but they really are it's just hiding). Anyway I digress! So my idea was to use the blog to write children's stories all but the ending! This will then enable the children to 'write' their own ending. Given this is a blog and not a book the illustrations will be scarce (if any) so hopefully this will help them imagine the characters and scenes, even perhaps unleashing the artist within and drawing them!

So here are the instructions...
I will write a children's story once a week. If you feel so inclined (and hopefully you will) read it to your child(ren) (or for older children they may be able to read it themselves). I will leave the ending free for them to complete the story. If they like they can also draw the characters. I will let you know the age  appropriateness at the beginning of the story.

What do you think? A good idea or should I head back to twitter!!!!