Monday, January 30, 2006

How it all started

As a favour to a mate, I spent this morning at a primary school, working with three classes of Year 4 kids on creating their own Dr Who companions.

Started by reading them a bit of Time Travellers and showing a clip from the Christmas Invasion, and then answered some questions before they had to work.

Frightening how media savvy the kids are – and they had no shortage of questions to ask about the series (new and old), writing in general and the state of television today. They were extremely adept analysing stuff they’d seen (not just what I showed them), taking stories apart and rethinking them. Wish I’d been that bright at that age.

Or now, even.

One class really took to rearranging the letters of their friends' names to create something good for an alien. Another was much more interested in how the Doctor met these new friends. And the third wanted to make the weirdest companions possible - one made of fire, another a lemur, another a robotised dog...

I’d been told to expect short attention spans, but it seemed more that they just took in the details absurdly quickly, moving immediately on to the next cool thing. You just have to keep the cool things coming. Amazed watching the teachers – calm and encouraging when they could, terrifying and stern when they had to.

The kids agreed that Mr Hughes especially would make a really scary Dr Who monster. Yeah, New Show should do evil teachers…

Some highlights:
  • One kid knew and could spell "Raxacoricofallapatorius", but got stuck spelling "his"
  • I asked one girl what her companion was scared of and she replied, very carefully, "Looming over her is the fear of ice cream melting"
  • A boy explained the plot of his treasured DVD - a gold man with funny eyes turns into evil spaghetti and the Doctor ties him up (I guessed correctly which one)
  • And there was a fierce argument between two boys about whether “Who” is his surname...
Have donated a bag of old Target books, because the whole wheeze was to get the boys reading. (In between tasks, the girls were reading 500-page novels about fantasy ponies and magic, the boys mostly struggling to read the captions in a Shoot! annual).

Will check back in a few weeks and see how the book have gone down. But vividly recall my own great thrill of discovering The Invasion in the library, the joy of boning up on old show.

Knackered, got into town around oneish to resume a more grown-up freelancing gig. And to pick up The Beginning.


Anonymous said...

I'm not sure I was expecting a blog about 'the joy of boning up'

0tralala said...

Rude person.