Category Archives: Event Ideas

'Doctor Who' Spanish fan film: 'El Mundo Imperfecto'

I just saw this mentioned on Twitter.

A Spanish fan-made Doctor Who episode, created to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who.

It would be perfect for a language day or for teachers of Spanish to possibly suggest to their students for homework. If anyone runs a dotor Who Club it would be perfect for a Library/Modern Foreign Language Department cross-curricular event.

Activity Idea: Stop-Motion LEGO Movie

I had been toying with the idea of making a Lego stop-motion movie for quite a while before I had the idea for a Halloween short which gave me the impetus to get started.

For the camera I used my Samsung Galaxy S3 smartphone, the cast was composed of a number of Lego minifigures.
cast of halloween for tl
The set was made out of a Lego baseplate and handmade scenery.
lego base for tlscenerybackground for tl
The most intricate part of the whole endeavour was making the bookshelf and books out of cardboard.
shelf for tllittle books for tl
I was rather pleased with the finished result:

It is important to have a script, for even though it is a silent film you need to keep track of what is going to happen and where the intertitles have to be placed.

Depending on how much movement is occurring I found it best to keep scenes fairly short to prevent accidents, including fingers appearing at the wrong moment, camera and set collapse as general mishaps that would necessitate the re-shooting of an entire scene. The Lego bumps on the baseplate made it easy to keep track of where the characters are supposed to move.

Creating a Lego movie can be a good way of engaging a group of teens, you can get a group working on script development, another on set design and creation, depending on the number of scenes you want to incorporate you can have multiple phone-camera operators, Lego minifigure wranglers each controlling the movements of their character and director (or directors) who maintain overall control of the filming.

I would recommend using a mobile phone tripod to cut down on camera shake although Youtube does offer the tools to stabilise the finished movie.

Jobs for a group-made stop-motion film:

Director
Script-writers
Set designers/creators
Camera-operators
Lego-wranglers
Intertitle creators
Editors
Publicity team

19th September: International Talk Like a Pirate Day


Ahoy mateys! Hoist the colours, splice the main-brace and raise the mizzen!

Yes! International talk Like a Pirate Day is almost upon us again!

Rather than rehash the suggestions I have made in previous years I thought why not take the musical route in your libraries in 2012. Piratical types have always enjoyed a bit of a sing-song as I discovered last year when I ran an impromptu shanty session in my library – teaching a group of year 7s,8s, 9s and two 6th formers how to sing Yo-ho-ho and a Bottle of Rum was brilliant! If I manage to do it again this year I will get a video and audio recording.

If you are interested in the music and words you can see (and hear them) here:
 

 

Then there is the Disney version (made famous by the ride in Disneyland and the movie Pirates of the Caribbean)
 


 

There is also a version by amazing Steampunk band Abney Park
 


 

Staying with Abney Park (and Pirates) they also have a track called Airship Pirates
 


 

Steampunk has been growing in popularity over the past few years – I have been a fan before I knew there was Steampunk, it started when I was in my teens and started reading the works of James Blaylock and Tim Powers, then years (and years) later I came to the UK and was given a copy of Airborn by Kenneth Oppel – and it brought back my love of airships, pirates and sky-high action.

I also love the Victorian era and the whole neoVictorian world that the Steampunk genre inhabits is something wonderful!

Anyway this is supposed to be a post about International Talk like a Pirate Day – I will get back to Steampunk in another post.

So Pirates!
 

Did you know that there are only three real Pirate jokes?
 

According to Cap’n Slappy that is…
 

The biggest one is the one that ends with someone usin’ “Arrr” in the punchline. Oh, sure, thar be plenty o’ these, but they’re all the same damn joke.

  • “What’s the pirate movie rated? – Arrr!”
  • “What kind o’ socks does a pirate wear? – Arrrrgyle!”
  • “What’s the problem with the way a pirate speaks? – Arrrrticulation!”
  • …and so forth. Those jokes only work if people know their arrrrrs from their elbows!

  • The second joke is the one wear the pirate walks into the bar with a ships wheel attached to the front o’ his trousers. The bartender asks, “What the hell is that ships wheel for?” The pirate says, “I don’t know, but it’s drivin’ me nuts!”
  • And finally, a little boy is trick or treatin’ on Halloween by himself. He is dressed as a pirate. At one house, a friendly man asks him, “Where are your buccaneers?” The little boy responds, “On either side o’ me ‘buccan’ head!”
  •  

    Potential activities include
     

  • Creating a piratical joke-book;
  • Discussing movies featuring pirates;
  • Book discussions;
  • and on a serious note comparing the romanticised view of pirates versus their reality and the re-emergence of pirates of Somalia and other places.
  •  

    YA Piratical Novels:

  • Vampirates Justin Somper
  • Pirates Celia Rees
  • Blackbeard’s Pirates versus the Evil Mummies James Black
  • Treasure Island Robert Louis Stevenson
  • The Curse of Captain LaFoote Eddie Jones
  • Airborn Kenneth Oppel
  •  

    Pirate Movies:

  • Cut Throat Island
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Treasure Island
  • Master and Commander: far Side of the World (not really pirates but amazing scenes of ship-based battle)
  • For more ideas and information of this most illustrious of holidays you can look here:
     

    International Talk Like a Pirate Day

    Creative Writing: Zombie Poetry

    It is a quiet evening in the boarding house (apart from being a school librarian, these days I also take some duties as a house master in the boys boarding house) I was reading the New York Times online edition and came across this extremely interesting article:

    What Rhymes with ‘Undead’? Some Poets Know

    It made for interesting reading.

    I have worked with a number of teens that would respond well to the idea of creating zombie poetry. It is quirky enough to attract even some of the hardest to reach kids and with zombies becoming more mainstream it would not put off too many of the more normal young people.

    Creating a Zombie-themed writing event could be run over two or even more meetings. It is a little-known fact that Night of the Living Dead – the movie that started the zombie movement is now in the public domain and can be shown freely in libraries without the need for permissions. The film itself is below:

    The film can be used to discuss how zombies in cinema & on television have changed over the decades, from the slow shambling monstrosities of Night of the Living Dead to the faster shambling monstrosities of 28 Days Later and The Walking Dead. You can bill it as a mixed media Zombie poetry writing session, including movies, books, comics including The Walking Dead, Marvel Zombies and more. There are even musicians that have written songs about zombies but they may not be appropriate for the audience, for an example take a listen to Voltaire singing Zombie Prostitute.

    There are examples of zombie poems online in case you need to provide inspiration, including the Little Boof of Zombie Poems by Tom Beckett.

    Halloweek: Halloween Cosplay

    For the manga and anime fans that use the library (and particularly if you have an established manga group) run a Halloween cosplay.

    There are a number of gothicy, scary manga series including Rozen Maiden, Rosario Vampire, Hellsing, Reiko the Zombie Shop, Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service, Cat-Eyed Boy, Hell Girl, Zombie Loan.

    You can also encourage your manga fans to dress up as Sadako Yamamura the ghostly girl from The Ring movie. “within seven days of watching a normal videotape, you receive a phone call, saying you will die in a horrible and painful way” you could play pass the parcel with the “prize” being a video tape cassette.

    Encourage the artistic members of the group to design and create their own manga horror characters. Almost anything that you can do during a standard manga meeting can be adapted for a Halloween special…

    Halloweek: BOO!k Discussion

    If your space and budget is limited you can fall back on a BOO!k discussion. You can put a Halloween theme on the proceedings by putting whatever snacks you provide for the group into trick or treat bags. You can also put a personalised joke into each of the bags, there are many websites that specialise in Halloween humour.
    As a related-craft activity you could show off some Halloween origami skills.

    Halloweek: All Hallow's Read

    All Hallow’s Read is a Hallowe’en tradition. It’s simply that in the week of Hallowe’en, or on the night itself, you give someone a scary book.

    Rather than read about it you can watch Mr Gaiman explain it below

    This one can be done on a day or over the week, produce horror reading lists, see if you can get signed copies of scary books to give away as prizes – this is easier than you may think with the number of authors on twitter. It may be easier to stick signed book-plates into books as they are easier to post. Ask publishers if they can donate a copy or two or buy them and get them signed.

    Anyway All Hallow’s Read is an idea that was dreamt up by Neil Gaiman, his written material can be used for a Hallowe’en event all on its own. Sandman (create your own Merv Pumpkinhead), Neverwhere, American Gods, The Graveyard Book – there is so much creepy goodness is his back list you can go wild.

    Halloweek: Día de los Muertos Tuesday 1st & Wednesday 2nd November

    The Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. It is particularly celebrated in Mexico, where it attains the quality of a National Holiday. The celebration takes place on November 1st and 2nd, in connection with the Catholic holidays of All Saints’ Day (November 1) and All Souls’ Day (November 2). Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars honouring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favourite foods and beverages of the departed and visiting graves with these as gifts.

    You can run calaveras de azúcar (sugar skulls) design competitions. You can follow the example of Jonathan Koshi and update the idea to pop culture items: http://bit.ly/ghyTGl & http://bit.ly/nq4s3R or print out a skull picture and have the young people create their own designs.

    To keep the theme spooky you can also read Mexican Folktales to them while they work.

    Halloweek: Monday 31st October Hallowe'en

    Monday is Halloween so if you run a Teen Group or Chatterbooks group on this day it may be possible to run a pumpkin carving workshop or even a spooky story event – maybe combine the two. Think about running a creative writing event – spooky stories created by the group, or each attendee can suggest the scariest story they know and argue about which one is the scariest.

    As I have suggested in previous years making a librarian mask is as simple as taking a photo of your face and printing it out on a sheets of cardboard for the attendees to cut out and wear. The October 2009 edition of Teen Librarian Monthly has a step by step process on how you can make the mask.

    Library Myth Busters

    This is an idea I have been working on that can be run with a Reading Group and also for breaking the ice for new users in the Library:

    This event can be run by following the Myth Busters format of having small teams investigating various Library Myths and then presenting their findings to the entire Reading Group. If permission can be obtained for filming, a short DVD could be made of the proceedings. This could tie into a larger media and film-making programme that can be run over half-term or summer holidays. It is fun and educational – teenagers learn how the library works and what the staff do all day as well as debunking misconceptions they may have on what goes on in libraries.

    Here are a a list of library myths that can either be debunked or confirmed:

    • Librarians have lots of time to read on the job
    • All librarians are fast readers
    • Public libraries are only busy during the school year
    • Public libraries are only busy during summer holidays
    • Libraries are used only by those who cannot afford to buy their own books.
    • Librarians have no stress
    • Librarians have read every book in the library.
    • Librarians know the answer to everything
    • Everyone who works in the library is a librarian
    • Libraries are just about getting books
    • Libraries aren’t necessary because everything’s available on the internet
    • Libraries have plenty of money because they get so many donated books and charge so much in fines
    • The librarian can be held responsible for everything that kids check out because they work for the government and must protect young people from bad things
    • School libraries aren’t needed because kids can get everything they want at the public library or online
    • Librarians wear their hair in buns, have wire-rimmed glasses, and say shhhhh! all the time
    • Librarians only issue books
    • Everything in the library is free
    • You have to know Dewey to use the library
    • Libraries are serious and quiet all the time
    • It is difficult to get a library card
    • Libraries are for English readers only

    The list is by no means complete and if anyone would like to add library myths in the comments you are most welcome.