Steve Cole Inspires Kingsland Primary School

To celebrate Book Week Scotland 2014 Steve Cole travelled the length and breadth of the country on the Book Week Scotland Road Show, visiting 11 different primary and secondary schools in 6 local authorities. Susan Ward, Principal Teacher at Kingsland Primary School in Peebles, describes how Steve's visit inspired a brilliant cross-curricular project involving dinosaurs, reading and practical maths!

P4-7 were in for a real treat when popular children's author Steve Cole visited Kingsland as part of Book Week Scotland. As the only primary school in the Borders to secure a visit from Steve, Kingsland pupils went all out to impress with dinosaur-related problem solving and artwork in honour of Steve’s Astrosaurs books, which feature dinosaur astronauts in space!

TOP SECRET: A message from the Astrosaurs!

After receiving an important memo in an envelope marked ‘TOP SECRET,’ P4-7 classes knew something big was going to happen. The memo revealed that the Astrosaurs needed Kingsland pupils to plan for an emergency evacuation of the Jurassic Quadrant, just in case things got a bit hairy and they had to make a quick getaway! Each class was tasked with finding out how many dinosaurs would fit in different areas of the school. They were given basic dimensions for their dino and then it was over to them; how would each class work out the maximum number of dinosaurs they could squeeze into their space?

After lots of discussion, teamwork and practical maths, each class successfully created scale drawings and display work for their area.

After lots of discussion, teamwork and practical maths, each class successfully created scale drawings and display work for their area and we now know how many Velociraptors will fit in P4, how many Stegosauruses we could squeeze onto the MUGA and even how many Compsognathuses will fit in Head Teacher Mrs. Wilson’s office!

Some Kingsland pupils took on the extra challenge of designing a new spaceship for the Astrosaurs. Of course it had to be super-fast, super-strong and be able to take out the enemy wherever the Astrosaurs might come across them!

The Day of Steve's Visit 

With excitement building amongst the pupils it was finally time for Steve’s visit to Kingsland Primary School.

Pupils were enthralled as Steve used his unique (and often eccentric!) style to enthuse about writing and get this important message across: a little imagination can go a very long way!

Just by using a little imagination, even the most ordinary objects can become exciting.

Pupils learned about how, just by using a little imagination, even the most ordinary objects can become exciting. For instance, what would happen if a vampire bit a banana? Would it become a banampire?! Steve’s wacky style captivated the audience and his hilarious anecdotes had them in stitches! Nathan, Ella and Annie from P6B are big fans; "Steve was so funny, he was like a comedian!"

Steve had a serious message for Kingsland’s aspiring writers too though; practice makes perfect. "You wouldn’t expect a professional footballer to walk onto the field and score having done no training", he told his avid listeners. "It’s the same with writing. All the practice you do now in school, planning and writing stories, is training you to become the great writers of the future."

This was music to the ears of Kingsland teachers, who know full well that good planning and lots of practice are always the key to success!

Kingsland head teacher Jacqueline Wilson said "This was a brilliant opportunity for pupils to learn first-hand from a very successful author. Making the link between what pupils learn and the real world beyond the school gates is an excellent way to inspire pupils and we are delighted Steve could join us."

Classes were buzzing with excitement after Steve's visit with many budding young novelists now brimming with ideas for their own bestsellers!

Classes were buzzing with excitement after Steve's visit with many budding young novelists now brimming with ideas for their own bestsellers! P6 pupils Beth and Leah really enjoyed the event, adding, "We've got so many ideas for stories; we can’t wait to get writing!"

What better response could you ask for?

Take a look at the gallery below to see some of the work from pupils at Kingsland Primary School.

Susan Ward

Susan Ward is Principal Teacher at Kingsland Primary School in Peebles.