Hope you didn’t experience an “Arbuckle Junction” moment, Sally!

I have been following Sally Pewhairangi’s 100 Days of Creativity project with great interest and yesterday was posting 100 of 100!

So Sally …….



What an amazing effort and commitment! I thoroughly enjoyed reading your little vignettes.

I totally love Sally’s concept for using Afterliff: The New Dictionary of Things There Should Be Words for by John Lloyd and Jon Canter to inspire creative writing.  As a result of Sally sharing her idea I have purchased a copy of this dictionary for the school library and have shared the concept with our HOF English in the hope this might be a technique the English Department employs in engaging and encouraging boys to think creatively about words and language.



I think there are a number of ways this book could be used:

  • Word of the Week 1 – choose a different word each week, display it in the library and invite students to come up with a meaning for it.
  • Word of the Week 2 – alternatively, choose a word, display it with its meaning and invite students to write the funniest, cleverest, or most imaginative sentence.
  • Library Week – either of these could work as a “word for the day” competition during library week celebrations.
  • Class activityMatching game: Select 50-60 words and type them on playing card-size cards.  Then type the corresponding meanings on another set of cards and put them into sets of 10.  When you have a class booked into the library, you could suggest teachers might like to group their class into teams of 3 or 4, give them a set of cards and challenge them to match the word with the meaning.  If it’s an English class or a junior school class their teacher could then have them write a 100 word short story using one of the words, just like Sally did – 100 times!

I reckon there’s probably other ideas as well.  If you think of one, why not add to this list in the comments below?

And the winner of the Book Spine Poetry Competition is…

For those librarians looking for a fun Library Week competition, this is one of the best I’ve come across in a long time! Well done to Melbourne High School for this simple but effective way to promote poetry and books in a whole new way!

Melbourne High School Library


Hanford Lam! Congratulations, Hanford, for a well structured and creative poem using book spines.


Thank you to Dr Prideaux for judging the competition. Dr Prideaux’s job was not an easy one, and she spent quite a while selecting the best from several well composed poems.

Hanford’s poem was so long that the stack of books threatened to topple. I took a photo of the entire poem but also of the poem in two parts so that it was legible.




Matt Lyons came a close second but unfortunately for him there was a single prize of a $30 iTunes voucher which eluded him. Better luck next time, Matt.


Here are the other excellent entries.



Dr Prideaux was also impressed with Ms Buckland’s poem which deserves a special mention.


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Hargest Dress Up Day 2012

Class of 2012

Class of 2012

We had another awesome Hargest Library Week this year!  And Dress Up Day, as always, was the highlight.  This photo is almost all of our Year 13 cohort in costume (or as many as I could fit into the frame!) and is similar to one that appeared on the front page of the Southland Times the following day.

2012 is our 7th Annual Dress Up Day and this year my original costume idea fell through so I opted for Plan B, which was a relatively pedestrian Alice in Wonderland.

I don’t think I made a too-shabby Alice but I do try and mix it up a little and attempt to do something that makes the students have to think about my character.
Alice aka Ms White
Here’s the list of the characters by year I’ve been so far …..

2006:   Mary Poppins

2007:   Bad Jelly the Witch

2008:   The Mad Hatter

2009:   Little Miss Muffet

2010:   The White Queen from Narnia

2011:   Mrs Tiggywinkle

2012:   Alice in Wonderland

I’m already planning my costume for next year, which it seems our entire Y12 cohort are doing as well!  Of course, I always keep my costume choice of costume under wraps and it remains top secret until the “big reveal” on the day.

Dress Up Day also coincided with one of my Tertiary Prep Sessions ….

Tertiary Prep Wed Group

Aren’t they a fine looking bunch of almost-university students!

We no longer have the inimitable Mr Rob Bradley on staff this year, as he’s gone off to climb Mt Everest (everyone will remember his bouncy Tigger in 2010 and his working transformer Bumblebee from 2011)  and so the field was open again for teachers to be in with a chance to win the Best Dressed Teacher award. Competition was fierce but this year’s honour went to our HOD Social Sciences, Mr Cameron Davis who made an outstanding Captain Hook, even if it did take one of his Y13 History students to organise the costume for him!

Captain Hook

Top Male and Female awards:

Lauren and Tom

I just loved Lauren’s comic book creation. Reminded me of a comic I used to read when I was a teenager called “The Archies”.  I always wanted to be Veronica.

And finally, one of the more ingenious group awards we’ve seen. The two gentlemen who created these actually took quite a lot of time and effort to construct their costumes. The Barbie and Ken books …. Barbie even has a classification number!  Of course, the inside covers is where the most …. creative …. work took place!

Ken and BarbieBarbie Classified!Ken and Barbie - inside

These two gained my attention when they arrived at the library and asked for a good picture book they could read aloud, as it was their intention to trawl the school during their study period, looking for unsuspecting classes.  I did hear from our assistant principal later in the day that they had visited her in her office for an impromptu story.

I’ve added a selection of photos from each of our seven Dress Up Days to Flickr if you’re keen to take a look.

Competitions for Library Week 2012

We are eagerly anticipating Library Week 2012 here at Hargest!  It has a firm place on our school events calender – Week 5 Term 3.  This year it’s the 13th-17th August.  

I have spotted plans afoot already within our Year 13 cohort as they pore over images of possible book characters for our annual Dress Up Day.  I have already challenged our staff to make sure they are not outdone by the students this year, as Team Staff certainly came out on top last year after Rob Bradley’s stunning Transformer’s Bumblee production.  Unfortunately Rob isn’t teaching at Hargest this year.  In fact, we just got a photo from him at the summit of Mt Everest – his big adventure this year.

So you may be wondering what on earth the photo above has to do with Library Week?  Well, this is the first photograph entered in our new competition for this year.  We always run some sort of photo competition during Library Week.  In the past we’ve done the “Guess which teacher is reading the book” competition and the “Guess which book this character comes from” competition.  This year the students will have to match the staff member to their bookcase. 

When I promoed this with staff on Wednesday I asked them to think about putting little clues into their photos (after first making sure they’d weeded their shelves appropriately!) to steer students in the right direction.  Within 24 hours I had my first entry!  Hence the photo at the beginning of this blog posting.  Our teacher in charge of Drama has contributed this superb effort. (Thanks Jo – you rock!)  I’ve already printed it out and put it up in the staffroom as an example and encouragement to the rest of our staff.

But wait …. there’s more ……!!  And this competition I didn’t even come up with!  One of our I.T teachers has approached me about running a competition leading up to Library Week, where all of her Y10 and 11 students can design this year’s Library Week posters.  I will be the “client” and go along to their classes to give them their briefing and the best of their efforts will be used next term to promote our Library Week.  Thanks Megan for creating another link between the library and the curriculum.

I’m really excited about this one! And I’m really excited about celebrating Library Week here at Hargest again.

Hargest Dress Up Day 2011

A collection of photos from the 2011 event.  Year 13 students as well as staff take the opportunity during Library Week celebrations to spend the day dressed as their favourite book character.  Always a highly-anticipated event, both groups and individuals vie for the title of Best Dressed.  Lots of fun!

Photos are:

Mrs Tiggywinkle (aka …. me!) Transformer Bumble Bee in both states, Book characters manning my circulation desk, The characters from LOTR Middle Earth and the mirror from Snow White.

 A highlight of the day – and the award for going above and beyond the call of duty would have to go to maths teacher Rob Bradley who spent over a month and some of his hard-earned dollars creating a working Bumble Bee Transformer.  Here’s how it works:

All in all, another fantastic day.  It’s one of those rare days in a secondary school calendar where it’s just all about fun.

Library Week 2011 – not just the what but the why

It’s the first day of the 6th annual James Hargest Library Week …. and it’s time for me to launch myself on the world.  Well, the library world anyway, hopefully.

And what a start to Library Week it has been! I’m a big believer in collaboration of all types and once again, my Hargest Book Club guys have been a great team to collaborate with.  I’m constantly amazed, though never truly surprised at what these young people can come up with.  After arranging them into groups with specific responsibilities, they have organised Dress Up Day (a highlight of every Library Week), quizzes, competitions, displays and posters.  I quite literally couldn’t do it without them.

A new dimension to our Library Week this year is an activity being run through our English Department and coordinated by the wonderful Kerri Sullivan, English teacher extraordinaire. This is as simple as having students fill out a  visual book template which begins with the statement You’ll love this book because ….. Students will be encouraged to finish the statement for their favourite book.  At the end of the week Kerri and myself will compile the best ones and create a poster of student-recommended reads which will be put up in the library for students to look at, and hopefully help them find other good reads for themselves.

While setting up Library Week can take quite a bit of work, the pay-offs are well and truly worth it.  This can be the single most important marketing tool you can create within your library and your school. It is a way of bringing students into your library who might not otherwise come, gives you an opportunity to invite staff who might not normally visit.  It creates a buzz that you might find difficult to sustain or even replicate at other times of the year.  And it may just give you the impetus to have those conversations you’ve been wanting to have with key members of your management team.

What do you have to lose? If you’re not already, why not start planning your first library week today.  Here’s just a few ideas to get you going http://www.lianza.org.nz/resources/promote-libraries/other-ideas

If you already have Library Week firmly on your school calendar, I’d love you to share your top activities to inspire others to get started.  That’s what we school library flock-mates do!