School workshops

The Donkey's First Christmas, Creative Writing, and Guess Noah's Zoo

Susanne’s school workshops are based around her published work and works in progress. Many are designed to encourage young people to pick up a pencil and a piece of paper and start writing and drawing. 

The Earth & Beyond workshops are different. Children will come out of an Earth & Beyond workshop with a vastly increased comprehension of how big and fast we are as a planet and a real understanding of how we measure time, distance and more.

Susanne’s workshops encourage a variety of learning styles including kinaesthetic, auditory and visual and has proven expertise in engaging reluctant learners and those who feel disenfranchised from the education process.

The Donkey's First Christmas

Susanne’s Donkey’s First Christmas workshops often fall loosely into three types

1. Re-telling a story from different perspectives, using the nativity story as a starting point and The Donkey’s First Christmas as an example. She also offers different options using the story of Jonah and the Whale and the book “Jonah & The Fish” as an example, or the story of Noah’s Ark and the book “Noah And The Rainbow” as an example.

2. How to get started writing and creating stories of our own – where we can find inspiration, how we can take a story from rough to reality – from idea to product.

3. Meet the author and book reading, suitable for assembly, single or multiple classes or a whole year group. In this option, Susanne will read The Donkey’s First Christmas, answer any questions from pupils and staff, and personally sign and dedicate as many books as required following the reading. It is anticipated that this session would last approximately 45 minutes to an hour, dependent on number of signed books required.

Who should I book these for?

Designed to inspire a love of reading and writing, the workshops are suitable for KS1 & KS2. At half an hour long, the Author Talk is suitable for the whole school. Each workshop is suitable for between 15 and 20 children and takes between 50 minutes and an hour.

Earth and Beyond Workshops

These workshops are based on Freaky Facts of the Solar System - an extremely popular Facebook page and a soon to be published series of apps designed to draw attention to the freaky facts of outer space! These workshops use fun, relatable ideas, images and activities with which to investigate how big, far, fast and freaky things can get in the Solar System.

Using their bodies and imagination,  Susanne and the pupils will look into sizes, tilts, orbits, rotations and distances in the Solar System, providing a different way to understand subjects like gravity,  distance or time, as well as encouraging an appreciation of what it is that makes our planet so perfect for life.

The Earth and Beyond workshops take a subject matter which children already love – outer space – and take the abstract out of it, making it easy to understand through use of  relatable ideas and images.  

Answering questions like “how old would I be on Mercury?” and “how much would I weigh on Jupiter?” spark off' thought processes in the participants that can lead - not only to greater listening and concentration in lessons (concerning the 'Earth & Beyond' part of the National Curriculum), but also potentially to independent research of the subject matter.

Children often come out of the Earth & Beyond workshops with a much better understanding of how things work in our place in space and how delicate and freakily perfect everything is for life.

Benefits to the children

Children love the Earth & Beyond workshops because they love finding out:

What’s the biggest thing there is?
Using their bodies, measuring tapes and a giant beach ball, Susanne and the children will work out just how big (or small) things can get in the Solar System, and ask:  What if our planet/ moon or sun were bigger or smaller than they were?

What’s the furthest thing there is?
Using toilet paper, our bodies and quite a bit of space, Susanne and the children work out just how far (or close) things can get, asking questions like “What if our planet/ moon or sun were closer or further away?”

What’s the fastest thing there is?
Using their bodies, stopwatches and a lot of rhythm, Susanne and the children experience how fast (or slow) things can get, and ask questions like “What if our planet or our moon moved slower or faster than they did?”

Build Your Own Planet
Applying what they’ve  learned, Susanne and the children design a planet of their own. Children will have the option to write, present and talk about their designs.

Who should I book these for?

Reception, KS1, KS2. Content is tailored to suit the age group.

Creative Writing Workshops

The Creative Writing workshops are mainly based on Susanne’s published works and are designed to encourage children to put pen to paper. Looking at some of the simple processes involved in making books, apps and other creative works, Susanne helps the children start writing stories of their own and shows how important it is to have fun when we write.

Taking their starting point in the author’s own published (and non-published) works, the four 50-minute workshops and “What’s it like being an author?” talk look at some of the less traditional avenues open to writers today.

Workshop 1: Is it cheating to copy?

Children will look at fun ways they can make a well known story their own, using the nativity story as a starting point  and The Donkey’s First Christmas as an example or using the story of Jonah and/or Noah as a starting point and Jonah & The Fish and/or Noah And The Rainbow as an example.

Workshop 2: Rhymes, Rhythms & Riddles

Using animals as a starting point and Guess Zoo? as an example, children will be encouraged to start rhymes and riddles of their own.

This aspirational author talk will look at where we can find inspiration and starting points for creating our own stories.  Using her own work as examples, Susanne will talk about various processes involved in writing and creating stories as well as show ways she has taken different stories from rough to reality – from idea to product.

Workshop 3: Creating content for animation

Using Count My Teeth 1 & 2 and/ or Find My Chameleon as an example, we will be looking at ways to write for animation and at how it differs from other forms of writing. We will have a go at making our own storyboards so we can plan animations of our own.

Workshop 3: What’s in a story?

Taking the starting point from Susanne’s own published works, we will explore the basic components of a story and be prompted to think in ways that encourage descriptive writing. Using ‘idea maps’, the children will try starting stories of their own.

Author Talk: What’s it like being an author?

This aspirational author talk will look at where we can find inspiration and starting points for creating our own stories.  Using her own work as examples, Susanne will talk about various processes involved in writing and creating stories as well as show ways she has taken different stories from rough to reality – from idea to product.

Who should I book these for?

Designed to inspire a love of reading and writing, the workshops are suitable for KS1 & KS2. At half an hour long, the Author Talk is suitable for the whole school. Each workshop is suitable for between 15 and 20 children and takes between 50 minutes and an hour.

Guess Noah's Zoo workshops

The Guess Noah’s Zoo workshops are loosely based on Guess Zoo? – a yet-to-be-published fun set of rhyming riddles in the form of six apps.

Told from the mouth of various different characters, each app helps kids discover ‘who’s who’ in the zoo.

Fun and easy to play from age one and up, Guess Zoo? builds on the interest children already have in animals and takes their learning to the next level, encouraging interaction and understanding of words along the way.

Who should I book these for?

Primarily Reception and KS1 – with KS2 version available if required.

The author talk is a guided tour through the creation of the apps, including a sneaky peak at the author’s rough notes and scribbles!

In the workshops, children work in pairs to help Noah save their animal from extinction. 

Workshops are designed to inspire and encourage verbal pathways to writing.

Session costs

Author talk, suitable for assemblies or large groups and to include Q&A: £150

Half-day readings and workshops: £250

Full-day readings and workshops, including all workshops offered in the half-day session: £350

“Children enjoyed the hands-on workshop. The puppets and drama activities helped bring the stories to life.”

Kate Jones, Year 3 Teacher, Woodchurch Primary School

“The children loved it! Understanding the storywriting process, thinking about each step and planning as a storyboard has greatly impacted them.”

Louise Pezzaioli, Year 4 Teacher, Woodchurch Primary School

“The sessions were very engaging. I asked the children what they liked best, and ‘saving the animals’, ‘stroking the animals’ and ‘holding the animals’ were some of the responses.”

Gemma Nagy, teacher, Ribbleton Avenue Infant School, Preston

“The children really enjoyed the workshop – even children that would not normally participate joined in and had fun creating their own story.”

Laura Walton, teacher, Thomas Gray Primary, Bootle

“A very interactive session where the children could explore drama, improvisation and how to explore their ideas when writing a story.”

Naomi Woof, teacher, Thomas Gray Primary, Bootle

“Thanks so much for today. All staff said the workshops were brilliant and that the children really enjoyed them.”

Mrs M Piercy Year 6 teacher, Thomas Gray Primary, Bootle

“The workshops have inspired the children to write and create their own stories – to see a love for reading instilled in the children has been fantastic.”

Year 2 teacher, Christchurch Primary, Bootle

“There was excellent questioning about the books and a good level of encouragement for those children struggling to answer.”

Miss Sadler-Jones, Year 2 teacher, St Bridgets Primary, West Kirby

“Some of the children have even been writing their own books this week so you have inspired them!”

Maggie Billington, teacher, Devonshire Park Primary, Birkenhead

“There were a lot of activities and that everyone was included in the tasks. Susanne inspired me.”

Minnie, pupil, New Brighton Primary School

“liked the workshop because it was very inspiring about space”
“I liked that we were doing maths while having fun.”

Charlie and Lauren, pupils, New Brighton Primary School

“I learned that it took 560 of us to fill the tallest building in the world. It was amazing.”

Madison, pupil, New Brighton Primary School

“The kids really enjoyed the Earth and Beyond workshops, many thanks once again.”

Mr Jones, Head of Year 6, New Brighton Primary School

“Thanks for all your input. The children really enjoyed it – we were delighted!”

Teresa Poland, teacher, Rock Ferry Primary School

“A lovely afternoon. The children really enjoyed Susanne’s visit and were very inspired by her story.”

Rachel Pearce, teacher, Overleigh St Mary’s C Of E Primary Chester

“The children were especially inspired through writing, drawing, acting and through Susanne divulging her methods and tips. Very informative and enjoyable.”

Miss C Ainsworth, Teaching Assistant, Our Lady and St Rose of Lima Primary, Birmingham

“Susanne had all children, from Nursery to Year 6, captured this morning. They really enjoyed learning about the creative process on getting a book published and the platforms to get an idea made.”

Miss H Purcell, Year 3 Teacher, Our Lady and St Rose of Lima Primary, Birmingham

“All the children and staff commented about how much they enjoyed Susanne’s visit.”

Miss Coleman, teacher, Our Lady and St Rose of Lima Primary, Birmingham

“Fantastic insight into how stories are created. The workshops allowed the children to think on their feet and show them they can be creative.”

Miss A Neville, Year 2 teacher, Our Lady and St Rose of Lima Primary, Birmingham
Read all the testimonials here