The joy of socks

16th June 2006 at 01:00
Where do all the odd socks go? That's a question frequently heard in my class. It is, of course, the premise behind Grant Slatter's series of books: The Oddies. My Year 3 and 4 children absolutely adore these delightful stories, where loveable characters emerge from the washing machine as missing odd socks and experience fun and adventure in Oddieworld.

My classroom bookshelves have grown and grown with our collection of Oddies books. Children who entered my class as reluctant readers are now immersing themselves in them, and parents are enrolling them on the website, buying books, and even making their own characters with odd socks at home. In school, the stories have formed a basis for several projects.

The books have provided a fantastic stimulus for writing during literacy lessons. Children have designed their own Oddies characters. The consistent narrative structure throughout each of Grant's stories enables children to grasp the style easily, therefore allowing them to plan and write a whole story of their own confidently.

As part of my ICT club, I wanted to extend the children's narrative writing skills by teaching them to use PowerPoint to create digital texts based on their own Oddies stories. The enthusiasm generated by this project was overwhelming. All children dedicated themselves to producing an interesting and exciting digital text, incorporating sounds, transition effects and animation. Some children added a non-linear, interactive element to their "digitext", by inserting links between pages within the document as well as links to locations outside the document such as the Oddieworld website.

It's all Lights! Camera! Action! for our latest project: Oddies movies. The children in my ICT club are currently transforming their Oddies digitexts into films, where our character socks are brought to life on film using Digital Blue cameras (and many feet!), an idea suggested by one of the children.

Creative Partnerships are also starting a project with the Oddies to provide a Creative Sock Drawer full of imaginative resources and we've applied for funding to take part. The boxes are taken home to encourage parents to create new Oddies characters, places and stories with their children: an echo of how Grant created the Oddies with his own children.

Claire Rushworth,

Advanced skills teacher, Broadway Junior School, Sunderland

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