James Mayhew visits Greys Class – 6th March 2014

What an inspirational and exciting day for Greys Class as we were visited by James Mayhew, the top children’s author and illustrator.

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The day started with Mr Mayhew giving us a talk on how he had got into illustrating as a child.  We heard how he loved to draw dinosaurs when he was a child and he proceeded to draw us one!

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He then went on to show us his wonderful first draft of his first story about Katie’s adventures in art galleries, which he had  created whilst a student.

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The children were fired up asking and answering a great many questions ranging from where he got his ideas for his stories from to what his next book will be called.

After reading us a Katie book, at Reece’s request, Mr Mayhew asked if we wanted him to tell us a story.  When we replied eagerly that we did he started to paint a picture holding the pad on his knee and painting it upside down!  As he painted, building up the picture with layers of colours, he told the story of St George and the Dragon – the children and staff were transfixed by both the storytelling and the illustration.

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After break, Mr Mayhew unravelled an enormous piece of paper. He asked the children to choose two of their favourite paintings from the Katie books – they choose “The Bathers” by Seurat and “Waterlily Pond” by Manet. He then proceeded to sketch out a faint outline of the two paintings using pastels.

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 The children then gathered round and using the Katie books as a guide they enthusiastically picked up the pastels and filled in the picture.

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Our finished result – please do come and see it on our ceiling!

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The children then began to design their own illustration of the St George story – using watercolours and pastels.


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These are some of our finished paintings.

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In the afternoon we held our very successful book swap for World Book Day. There were many very pleased children walking away with new books.

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On Wednesday the children had created book covers for their favourite books – thinking about how best to illustrate the story to attract other reader’s attention and what would be the most effective sentence they could write as blurb to draw readers to the book.

Mr Mayhew judged these book covers to see which were most effective.  The winners in Greys Class were Nina in Year 2 and Jessamy in Year 1.

Earlier on in the week we continued to help Henry Hyde  get out of a potentially fatal scrape.  He had become stuck in Ancient Rome and was being required to design and construct a working drain for Caesar or else be hurled to the lions!  The children set about the task with gusto using bottles, trays, cardboard tubes and yogurt pots to design a non leaking drain.


 They tested them with Miss Mander pouring water into them and holding them over the water tray to check if they leaked.

It was decided that plastic was the best material with which to build a drain and that the drain needed to be pointing downwards to enable gravity to pull the water down the pipe and into the sewers.

We were able to send this information and the instructions on how to make a drain to Henry Hyde and he informed us this research and our instructions had led to his release and he would no longer be fed to  the lions!  He has now returned to his Time Machine to continue on his journey – and we hope to hear from him next week when he may have reached a new destination in the past.

These are the instructions that Kai wrote to show Henry Hyde how to build a drain – please notice the detailed illustrations.

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In Numeracy – the Year 2 children have been continuing their work with fractions – the Year 1 children have been measuring using cubes and rulers.

Well done to all of Greys Class for their hard work in creating the Katie film – your effort and enthusiasm has enabled us to have had the most stimulating and inspiring week.

Next week we will be participating in events as part of the Henley Youth Festival – we will be going to the Kenton Theatre on Tuesday to see “Peter and the Wolf”.  On Thursday we will be at Christ Church watching a musical workshop by “Travelling by Tuba”.  I am looking forward to another inspiring and unusual week.

Our stars of the week are:

Kai for his detailed instructions and diagrams on building a drain.

Jonty for a very positive attitude in lessons.

 Please do look at the Henley Herald website which has a piece about James Mayhew’s visit to our school.

If anyone has any boxes, plastic bottles or other “junk” we can use for modelling then please do bring them in next week.

Have a super weekend.