Friday, June 3, 2022

SUPERKICKS _____ What to talk about at our Superkicks school talks

NOTE: Hi! I recently posted an update clarifying Benedict Boo's role in this series, you can read it here. You can also read other posts in the Superkicks: The Secret Journals series here.

My Superkicks fiction series features lots of thrilling action in various learning environments, not just in schools but also at the Superkicks training programme created by Dr JJ Khan, the central mentor character.

These scenarios are all inspired by my own experiences. Fun fact: my first job after my A-Levels, before my National Service, was as a relief teacher.

Later, I completed my teacher training at the National Institute of Education, and went on to do my MA and PhD at the National University of Singapore. That's how much I enjoyed the feeling of learning and growing.

I also love to create rich learning experiences for others. Many of my course mates were educators, and through them I worked on lots of exciting projects in schools, everything from creative arts to science education, mostly involving some new form of interactive or media technology.

Due to recent requests, I'll be offering a new series of Superkicks talks for primary schools, both in person and over Zoom. These sessions can be customised for assembly talks, or for smaller groups.

Here are some relevant topics close to my heart.

Me looking sporty at a school talk, back in
the early years of Super Cool Books.
1. Good Character Values
These Superkicks stories are a great way to get students thinking about their own behaviour, and how this affects the people around them.

What makes a happy team? How can young leaders get respect and cooperation from team members? What is trust, and how is this earned? Why is a sense of community important?

While doing research for this Superkicks series, I was inspired to learn that over the last one million years humans have grown increasingly cooperative as well as empathetic, and these traits helped us thrive and evolve. This is Dr Khan's main insight in training the young players.

By the end of this session, students will learn to recognise basic patterns of team behaviour, with reference to scenes in the Superkicks stories, and also get tips on creating positive, happy teams.
2. Writing with Rhythm
How do I manage to write so many stories that readers enjoy? A big part of this is writing sentences that have a nice, lively rhythm.

Just think of the classic phrase, "once upon a time". It has a catchy, inviting rhythm, "dum-dadum-da-dum", which makes you want to settle in and listen on.

For this session, we will look at one or two very short stories written in an awkward or flat rhythm, and I will demonstrate some quick and easy ways to make them read better.

These tips will help students become more confident and resourceful when expressing themselves.

3. Hollywood Writing Secrets

When writing any kind of narrative, whether it's fiction or non-fiction, it's important to have a basic sense of sequential storytelling, or the piece will end up disorganised and even incoherent.

For this talk, I will demonstrate a simple method that Hollywood scriptwriters use to create coherent and engaging stories, by working with the classic Beginning-Middle-End structure to convey a sense of cause and effect.
Students will get to write their own short story outlines, and receive quick feedback from me.

I'm also open to requests for any specific themes or skills to be covered.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, previously Super Cool Books had an arrangement with Benedict Boo to be our schools salesperson for this series, but now I'm most thrilled to share my enthusiasm and literary mentorship directly in this way. So do get in touch to sign up for these talks, especially if you're a teacher or parent looking to book a session.  

We thank everyone for your generous support of this series so far.

Let's look forward to a great Superkicks experience!


— Don