Heard of App Smashing? Just in case you haven’t it is ‘the process of using multiple apps in conjunction with one another to complete a final task.’ Perhaps then you have heard of the music mash up? Again the dictionary definition ‘a recording that combines vocal and instrumental tracks from two or more recordings.’
So these are tech answers to something teachers have probably been doing for decades. I have decided to call this ‘Book Blasting,’ using multiple books to inspire pupils to come up with a final outcome.
I have decided on the following ‘rules’ in order to create the ultimate ‘book blasts.’
1) It should be 3 or more books
2) Linked by theme/character/setting etc
3) There should be a range of genre including fiction and non-fiction.
4) They should inspire a range of writing activities.
In short there should be a diverse range of books.
Here is one of my examples.
The three books I have chosen are:
· ‘Flanimals’ by Ricky Gervais
· ‘The Land of Never Believe’ by Norman Messenger
· ‘Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There’ by Lewis Carroll
If we start with ‘Flanimals’ we can see a range of creatures such as the ‘Grundit’ who “staggers around half-witted and grumpy, trying to start trouble.” The ‘Blungling’ who “hamble-springs around happily caring for its young. It’s not so happy when it has to watch the adult Mernimbler rip its baby’s head off.”
As you can see; lots of made up creatures names along with illustrations of each creature. The descriptions include further nonsense words for description such as ‘gruntloid’ and ‘sproodling’
The students could draw their own creatures and develop descriptions for them using strange nonsense words, they could create a nonsense word class dictionary in order for there to be some commonality of language.
This is where our second book of the ‘Book Blast’ comes in. ‘The Land of Never Believe’ is a wonderful book which is set out like a children’s encyclopaedia with hand drawn plates. However it is completely made up.
Examples of creatures from The Land of Never Believe are ‘The Fisher Bird’
“Disguised as fish, these sleek, clever birds sit quietly in a menacing row, waiting to strike, which they do with phenomenal speed”
‘The Lurking Otter’ is another made up creature which “pretends to be a rock as it waits for passing fish.” Mr Messenger had an enormous fright when he sat on one.
The students could create their own “Land of Never Believe” in order to house the new creatures that they came up with when looking at ‘Flanimals.’ The book could then inspire some explanation and ‘Non-chronological report’ writing where the children add many more details to their creatures such as habitat, feeding habits etc.
This then leads onto the third book. ‘Through the looking glass and what Alice saw there’ by Lewis Carroll written in 1872. I will only use ‘The Jabberwocky,’ poem from the text as it links to the previous two, it has a number of strange creatures contained within its verses, the ‘frumious bandersnatch’ and the ‘slithy toves.’ But these pale into insignificance when compared to ‘The Jabberwocky.’
“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!”
These lines are the warning that the young hero is given. Teachers can analyse the poem with their class and the strange creatures that the students have invented can then be incorporated into their own poems.
Following the creation of their poems the students can create a narrative which tells the story of the young boy looking for and overcoming the Jabberwocky, a retelling could be developed by the students creating their own narratives containing their own scary creature.
Perhaps this would take a whole half term to create and in my classroom I would definitely be using some visual stimuli alongside but you can see how finding these three very different texts your lessons could ‘Blast off’
Enjoy ‘Book Blasting’ I would love to hear of any ideas you have for a ‘book blast’