Christmas Arrives

???????????????????????????????‘Last week, the first signs of Christmas started appearing in the school. The 1st December heralded the start of decorations appearing in classrooms, canteen, offices and library. During the early part of the week, an idea shared through School Librarians’ Network was put into practise as Mrs Sinclair and some lunchtime regulars recycled old withdrawn paperbacks into Christmas trees. Actually, what happened was Mrs Sinclair was recycling the paperbacks and the pupils spotted her and wanted a go.

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During the course of the week more decorations were made. It became apparent that old yellowed books made for rather nice sophisticated decorations and paper chains,  stars and dangly concertina ones followed. An old magazine was also turned into a slightly taller tree too.

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‘Hot Chocolate Thursday’ turned away from Middle Earth and Lord of the Rings Monopoly and a decoration session was enjoyed by those who participated.

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Now, with just over a week to go until the end of term, the library is decorated and the trees are up.

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It surely isn’t the festive season already? & 12 Words of Winter

Time has run away with us again and we find ourselves nearly at Christmas. It has been an extremely busy term with lots of classes booked for a variety of projects: Ancient Civilisations; Japan; Extreme Weather; Explorers; to name but a few. The Spooky Happenings storytelling event seems a long time ago too… it went really well with local storyteller, Tom Muir, coming in to read a selection of ghostly tales.

More recently, some S1 and S2 classes got a chance to enter the 12 Words of Winter competition and write some very short stories during their English Library periods. A national competition is run by The School Librarians’ Network, a professional forum. This year the time scale was rather on the short side for us as folk are still in the full throws of school work so launching it was difficult. In the end, some S1 / 2 classes, who had completed this terms library work, got  a chance to try this during the week to the run up to the closing date of 6th December. The in-house school competition closes today (13th Dec).

Pupils had to write 12 word stories which had a beginning, middle and end. This is quite difficult for some and quite a few were more poetic in form. Despite this some of the writing was really good. Quite a few were shortlisted and one winner was put forward for the national competition. The winner and shortlisted entries are rolled forward to the school competition which will be judged early next week.

Sent to National Competition:

Winter arrives. The ball deflates; boots away. Boredom, stuck inside ‘til spring. ( CC)

Shortlist:

Robins soar through holly bushes, White droplets. Carols echo in pure whiteness. (MF)

Reload, finger on the trigger, aim, breath, shoot. The Turkey is ready. (JM)

Autumn leaves gone. Dark nights draw in. Snow starts falling. Winter’s here. (MA)

Winter is here, air is clear, but don’t fear, snow is here. (CC)

The new snow covered the memories of last night. Let’s make more. (LB)

Making snow angels in the snow but BRAIN FREEZE. That wrecked it. (FC)

The house shook with thunder followed by a flash bang. Power out. (BH)

Little Children all wrapped up. “Hora!” they say “Lots of snow!” (EM)

Hungry, hungry reindeer, ate a pies, so delicious, let out a sigh. (IW)

Crisp sharp snow fell on my frozen pail battered face. Shrapnel sharp. (IG)

Dark late night. Frost biting at your toes. Huddled round the fire. (SS)

Huddle around the fire. Cinnamon candles flicker. Lights shimmer in frozen lakes. (SS)

Outside in the snow. Jack Frost nibbling your nose. Winter is here. (HM)

The snowman glared from the darkness. He realised it was the end. (AW)

Patterns of frost follow us wherever we go. Icicles form around us. (IS)

Jack Frost nips your nose. Watch him create winter on this day. (DF)

Charcoal eyes watch over the pond. Forgotten now. He cries. Falling apart. (AB)

The snowman melted. The sun dropped. Children drifted asleep. Tired of waiting. (AH)

The frost got into the car engine so I stayed at home. (EW)

Alone in a snowy wasteland fifty miles from anywhere. Death is soon. (EH)

Cold winter day. Man walked into a cave. Icicle fell. He’s dead! (AJ)

Now even the snow’s dark as I stumble outside, the dogs bark. (RM)

Wrapped in my finest hat, scarf and gloves. Hope he’s there tomorrow. (MT)

Looking out the window. The ponies with heavy rugs white with snow. (CM)

Frosty morning. Walking by the horrifying snowman staring at me. I’m chilled. (CJ)

I went outside to face the snow. COLD! SNOWY! Ran in again. (JA)

Drifting out of darkness comes white fluffiness, sharp edges. A black nose. (NH)

The deafening silence of winter falls in the night. Winter is here. (BT)

Snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow (OH)

Ice cold. Dark and scared. Sleepy and tired. Frosty and snow. Chilled! (OH)

Father sings a carol. Children pretend to sleep. Black boots crunch. Silence. (EW)

Winter arrives. The ball deflates; boots away. Boredom, stuck inside ‘till spring. ( CC)

Cars in the ditch. People on the phone. Three Christmases are ruined. (KD)

As darkness falls, winter creeps in and the family comes cheerfully together. (EF)

Snow on the ground. Driving home for Christmas. Didn’t see the ice. (AH)

I see a white wonderland. Sparkles blind me. I wake up disappointed. (MB)

Flash of white. Flash of blue. Crack of thunder. Wha hoo Boom! (LB)

Cold morning fire crackling. Toasty toes. Cosy inside. Outside, blizzard, crisp snow. (DH)

The church bells ring. Snow falls on a frosty night. Carollers sing. (JG)

I’m cold. Melting really. My buttons are slowly slouching down. I’m gone. (ES)

Thunderous flashes illuminate the dark sky. Lightning pouncing on helpless electricity poles. (IR)

Snowball fight. Sister hits me. Got to get her back… big time! (AH)

Tall, green and spikey, smothered with sparkles, proudly I sat on top. (HO; IT; TP)

We have even had entries in German (The first one has been added to the shortlist for the in-house competition):

Die kalte kunkelne Lichte schmücken die Straßen, beschäftigte Körper beeilen zu kaufen.     (The cold sparkling lights festoon the avenue, busy bodies rush to buy.)      (AF)

Die Kinder schlafen, der Schnee fällt. Charles Dickens ist der Weihnachtsmann. (11)        (The children sleep, the snow falls. Charles Dickens is the Santa.) (AN)

Glitzernde Kügel hängen am Weihnachtsbaum wie die Sterne im schönen Himmel. (11)(Glimmering baubles fill the tree like stars fill the beautiful sky.) (11)  (CF)

Some staff have also put entries in:

Ho ho ho O’ what fun. Snata is here bringing good cheer.

Driving home in the snow. Whirling, twirling, whipping up. Had to stop

Taking an hour to myself. Falling from the sky, chilling the world.

Dunkel, Schnee, Kälte. Geschmuckte Weihnachtsbaum, Schöne Geschenke. Aufgeregte kinder versuchen zu schlafen. (Darkness, snow, cold. Decorated Christmas tree. Beautiful presents. Excited children trying to sleep)

Nearly February

It is hard to believe that were are already at the end of January. S4 Prelims have been and gone and S5 Prelims are due to start soon. February inservice and half term is next week – seems awfully soon! Weather has been mixed with snow in a small part of the West Mainland affecting one bus a week or so ago and storm force winds causing all school transport to be cancelled today. The school is quiet, yet the library is ‘busy’ in the sense of it is booked and the smaller classes are still coming to read, do research or use the computers.


The ’12 Words of Christmas’ competition presentation took place last week and our overall winner was from 2M. Her entry was forwarded to the national competition and was picked as a runner up by the author Anthony McGowan.

School results:

S1 – EW 1T The snowman looks sadly at the sky as streams of light emerge.

S2 – CM 2M The snow was whiter; the tree was brighter, when Santa was real.

S4/5/6 – IT Shimmering star sent startled shaggy shepherds, surprised, seeing sweet smiling sleeping son.

Staff – CM Shopping, cards, presents, decorating, concerts, cooking, parties, dancing, wrapping, cleaning. Knackered.


Two events / activities are currently planned for this term:

Pupils will be given an opportunity to read and judge graphic novels for the Stan Lee Excelsior Award. This award is a national one with pupils from many schools taking part. The graphic novels are now ready for borrowing and will be on display in the library. A Friday lunchtime group (with coffee or hot chocolate available) which is open to all who are interested, takes place from 12:45 – 1:15pm .

World Book Day is on Thursday 7th March. This is still in the planning stages, but it is hoped that there will be a lunchtim reading in the library. Free £1.00 book tokens will be available and can be exchanged for the special £1.00 books or used in part exchange for a full price book at local book shops. Plans also include a bookmark competition which ties in with a national one being run at the same time.

12 Words of Christmas

Many 12 word short stories have been submitted for this competition, particularly from S1 and S2.Bone Thief

Here is the short list which will be judged by local author V. M. Whitworth who wrote The Bone Thief, a rather good and enthralling “historical thriller” set in Anglo Saxon times.

Pupils

S1

Santa coming. Jingle bells ring. Stars twinkling. Children counting down the hours.

Snowball fight after rain. Hit him in the face. Bet that hurt!

Splat! Right in the face. He is angry. I go and hide.

 I tiptoe gently across the frozen ice, snowflakes falling. CRACK! Very cold.

Pecking at worms in the ground. BANG! On the table. Christmas dinner.

The snowman looks sadly at the sky as streams of light emerge.

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S2

The snow was whiter; the tree was brighter, when Santa was real.

Black boots touch the snow. Door opens. Lock clicks. Swiflty quickly gone.

I bought my Christmas tree for a fiver on a Thursday night.

Rattle, bang, clunk, thud, pop, SMASH! Should not have shook that present.

Here he comes. Santa has my Dad’s brown eyes… Wait a minute…

The snowball fight has consumed the playground sending the young kids scurrying.

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S4/5/6

Shimmering star sent startled shaggy shepherds, surprised, seeing sweet smiling sleeping son.

 Breaks into our house each year without keys. Santa Claus, housebreaker extraordinaire!

Smiling faces and having fun, winter’s now here and it’s only begun.

The Star of Bethlehem will guide us all to a happier Christmas. 

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Staff

The Star, magi followed, Shepherds, Angels heralded, Revealing Love, In manger, born

Sledging… wheeeee. Frost stings my face. Crashing… Arrgh! Snow up my nose.

Christmas at the palace. The Duchess retches, William winces; the world watches.

One horse town; open all hours. Jingle sleigh for sale. Snow down.

 “‘Twas a pair partridge, ye ken, hen? Lordy; milking it for gold!”

Kings follow the star. Shepherds look in delight. A celebration is born.

Reins, clutched in smutty gloves, flick reindeer suddenly heavenwards.  Black anthracite descends.

Shopping, cards, presents, decorating, concerts, cooking, parties, dancing, wrapping, cleaning. Knackered now.

Last Christmas I gave you my heart. Then I dropped down dead.

It’s (Nearly) Christmas Time!

Christmas is nearly upon us again and there are a number of things to see and do in the library until the end of term on the 21st.

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Pupils Librarians have been busy decorating the trees and the Christmas display is up on the wall. This year an old display has been resurrected from the archives with the centre piece being The Twelve Days of Christmas. Flanking this are a handful of old photos of Orkney and some hand made (not very many computers back then for shiny colour printouts) and illustrated information sheets about Christmas, some done by ex-pupils and some by myself.

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A rather squat, leaning into the Orkney winter gales 😉 book tree

‘Trees’ made out of stacks of books appear to be the ‘in thing’ this year with a number of pictures being circulated on the internet. Here is our attempt in a very limited space. 

12 Words of Christmas

Not long ago, on The School Librarians Network (SLN) (an online forum) someone somewhere suggested an idea for a competition within their school. This grew legs and sprinted away with it becoming a national competition with the the winning pupil receiving an iPod Touch. Many schools across the country are doing this, with the overall winners from each school being forwarded to the national competition.

In Stromness Academy, this competition is open to all pupils and staff. S1 and S2 have worked on their stories – remember, they are only 12 words long – during library periods ith some producing up to six or seven entries. Stories are shortlisted and there will be a prize for each year group as well as an overall winner.

There is still plenty of time – the closing date is Thursday 20th December. PUpils and staff can submit as many entries as they want.

Here are some examples that have been submitted so far:

A transparent snowflake falling from the deep blue whilst twinkling through starlight.

Snowball fight after rain. Hit him in the face. Bet that hurt!

The snow was whiter; the tree was brighter, when Santa was real.

Black boots touch the snow. Door opens. Lock clicks. Swiflty quickly gone.

Falling. Pale figures drifting in darkness. Winter has begun. Cold tears falling.

Rattle, bang, clunk, thud, pop, SMASH! Should not have shook that present.

Here he comes. Santa has my Dad’s brown eyes… Wait a minute…

The snowball fight has consumed the playground sending the young kids scurrying.

And from the staff:

Last Christmas I gave you my heart. Then I dropped down dead.

The Star, magi followed, Shepherds, Angels heralded, Revealing Love, In manger, born

Sledging… wheeeee. Frost stings my face. Crashing… Arrgh! Snow up my nose.

Christmas at the palace. The Duchess retches, William winces; the world watches.

Misletoe in the doorway. Her waist encircled; in love, her cheeks burn.

Postprandulate, Monopolate, Pictionate, Articulate, Gesticulate, Flatulate, Televisulate, Brandiculate, Hiccupulate, Somnolate, Choculate, Indigestulate.

One horse town; open all hours. Jingle sleigh for sale. Snow down.

Christmas Reading Challenge

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This challenge has been resurrected after a few years gap. A number of wrapped books have been placed under one of the trees in the library and pupils (and staff) have been invited to select a book to read over the holidays. They don’t know what they are going to get other than the chance to possibly read something completely different to their normal choices. All that is asked is that they give the books a fair chance then fill in a mini review slip giving a brief outline of the book and some comments (good or bad). Those that return their books and completed review slips after the holidays will receive a small prize.

Snowflakes

Here is a fab link showing you how to make the most amazing sculptural snowflakes. (Thank you to an SLN (School Librarian’s Network) member for sharing the link.)

Click on the image to go to the link:

Festive decorations

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The wallcharts

Many thanks to the first year class who have spent the last 3 weeks (2 periods a week) creating an informative display about Christmas, covering traditions, Scottish Christmas, Orkney & Shetland Christmas and Christmas around the world. They also have created book displays roughly based around their wallchart themes and decorated parts of the library.

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12 Days of Christmas
Reading Zone
Reading Zone

 

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Busy with tinsel, glitter and glue

I have been ever so impressed with the calm attention the pupils gave to the project, never getting over excited, because it was ‘Christmas’ related. During the final lesson on the project they worked well together, helping each other to put the final touches to the display.