Comedy Writing
& Dragons Den –
Y7 to Y11

What will happen during the session?

You will arrive at Grimm & Co – Yorkshire’s only Apothecary to the Magical – where you will receive a personalised tour of the shop. Our writing mentors will tell you the tale of Grimm & Co: they will introduce our mysterious boss, Graham Grimm, who alongside his sister Grizelda founded the apothecary in 1148 – just before lunch time. Your young people will then discover the secret door into our imagination gym, where everyone (including teachers!) need to exercise their imaginations before climbing the giant’s bookcase to the writer’s pad. This is where the magic truly begins…

Comedy Writing:
A workshop co-created with Jeremy Dyson (Director of Ghost Stories & Writer of the League of Gentleman + many more) to develop inspirational writing methods. Here we enthuse students to explore comedy – both as entertainment and as a way of tackling issues. We study comedy types – from spoof to slapstick and examine why it is popular. Jeremy Dyson has shared his own experiences with us as a professional writer and director – so we share some of his secrets. Next step is a comedy caption activity, discovering the ingredients of great writing and recipes that make you laugh. After a refreshment break we move into character creation and the makings of a sit-com. This is a highly active session where young people will be engaged in group work and individual exercises to produce the makings of a sit-com. Presentations will be made to the whole group.

Dragons Den (2-part programme):
Part 1: The group begin as shop detectives/mystery shoppers to examine the products – from ‘Grandma’s Scabs’, donated by local free-range Grannies, to our ‘Disenchanted Wood’.  We study the enterprising nature of the products and the literacy around them. In the Writers’ Pad we dissect proverbs in action through our products, including tins of Disappointment or Vile Darkness. Following a range of writing activities around enterprising literacy the group is provided with a mission (should they choose to accept it). Please note – there is an element of classroom work to work on the mission away from Grimm between part 1 and part 2.

Part 2: The group returns to Grimm & Co to present their magical being product (benefits, reasons to buy, wording on the tin) to 2/3 real dragons from the world of commerce & industry (magical and mortal) with feedback and potential investment of magic beans/hen’s teeth.

Throughout this process they will benefit from one-to-one support from a story mentor. At the end of the session each pupil (and willing teachers) will be able to leave down the beanstalk slide back into the apothecary – which stocks something for all pocket sizes.

“Davey is generally a very reserved and shy boy, so much so that I have never seen him smile as he suffers with anxiety. At Grimm and Co, I saw him laugh; this was huge as he was with people he did not know and in an environment he had never seen before, and yet, he was able to enjoy himself and make new friends.”

Feedback from a Y9 teacher, Rotherham, following a comedy writing workshop

How will attending Grimm & Co benefit my class?

Grimm & Co aims to boost children and young people’s attitude to learning, confidence, creativity, and courage through an innovative programme of interactive literacy workshops. Grimm & Co has worked closely with schools across Yorkshire to develop these workshops in order to meet the specific needs of local children, young people, and educators.

Through our workshops, we aim to:

  • Kick start young people’s creativity, with a key focus on engaging reluctant writers through complete immersion in a unique and magical story destination
  • Grow young people’s imagination and confidence. At Grimm & Co no idea is a bad idea, and we support all young people to help them fearlessly unleash their imaginations
  • Help young people value the importance of writing and develop a positive attitude to literacy, through the legacy of a published product or outcome that they can share with peers, teachers, and family members
  • Develop collaborative skills as well as individual initiative, through the collective creation of the story’s “building blocks” and the celebration of young people’s unique story endings

How will attending Grimm & Co benefit me?

Our literacy workshops have been developed in collaboration with teachers to help children develop greater self-confidence and self-respect; positive attitudes to writing, literacy and learning; new ways of thinking; and the courage to try new things.

The following responses to surveys asked open questions on what, if anything had been a positive impact on their students after visiting Grimm & Co.

  • 100% of teachers said their experience had been positive for them and for their class – especially in terms of writing. Of these specific areas of impact include the following:
    • 82% of teachers said that attending Grimm & Co had increased their students motivation to write and learn
    • 69% of teachers said that attending Grimm & Co had built their students confidence and self-esteem
    • 67% of teachers said that attending Grimm & Co had developed creativity, imagination and new ways of thinking in their students

Teachers who have previously attended workshops at Grimm & Co have also said that the experience has sparked their imaginations as well as their children’s, stimulating new ideas and approaches around curriculum delivery, and helping enhance their literacy programmes.

“All of the students were contributing to ideas. Especially some students who would normally stay quiet in a class room environment. I love the fact that students were encouraged to use their imagination and praised for it. This is something they struggle to do in main stream English lessons because there just isn’t room for it in lesson”

Feedback from a Y10 teacher, Sheffield, following Dragon’s Den

What is the class teacher’s role during a Grimm & Co workshop?

Sessions are delivered by Grimm & Co’s session leaders, with support from a team of trained volunteer writing mentors. You therefore won’t need to do any teaching on the morning! Instead, we encourage you to sit back with a tea or coffee to observe and reflect on how your class respond to the workshop. Seeing their teachers watching and enjoying the session can really help the engagement of the young people and the dynamic of the group.

The Grimm & Co approach is friendly and informal, which means that we like it when a class gets excitable and enthusiastic about their ideas! The session leaders are trained in behavior management, and are comfortable dealing with this when required. However, if there are any particular difficulties or incidents we would welcome your additional support.

We’d also welcome your help with handing out juice and biscuits during the refreshment break, and as well as any additional support you can offer if there are any young people who might have particular struggles when writing their individual endings.

You’re welcome to take photos during the session – and please feel free to Tweet / Facebook / Instagram us!

What practical information do I need to know about the workshops?

  • The sessions run from 9.30am sharp to approx. 12.15pm
  • All sessions take place at Grimm & Co, 2 Doncaster Gate, Rotherham, S65 1DJ
  • Sessions can be booked on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings throughout term time
  • The session works best with ages 11-16
  • Maximum class size is 30
  • We provide mid-morning juice and biscuits for young people + coffee / tea for teachers (and biscuits!)
  • As we are a charity we ask for a donation of £180 towards the cost of the workshop. This must be paid from the school’s budget; as a charity, a key part of our ethos is not to charge children directly to attend workshops at Grimm & Co. This can be paid by cheque or Grimm & Co can invoice your school.
  • We regret that we cannot offer refunds on cancellations made within two weeks of the workshop date unless a suitable replacement can be found
  • We have risk assessments in place in case you need to see them
  • Packed lunches cannot be eaten at Grimm & Co. However, you can go straight on to the newly-refurbished Rotherham Children’s Library for your packed lunch and a tour to make a day of it. The library is five minutes’ walk from Grimm & Co. Please contact val.pitcher@rotherham.gov.uk if you would like to do this.

If I want to book a story making session, what does Grimm & Co need from me?

  • Send an email to info@grimmandco.co.uk letting us know how many sessions you’d like to book for, an idea of some time periods that might work for you, and the year group(s) that will be attending. We will then respond to you with some suggested possible dates.
  • Following confirmation of your booking we’ll send you a very short online form, setting out what you can expect from us and what we ask from you. This must be completed at least two weeks before your session date.
  • We ask for a register of children’s names at least a week before you arrive so that we can prepare children’s name badges and the front covers of their books. Please send a class list include first names, surnames, and details of any additional needs / challenges to info@grimmandco.co.uk.
  • Please remind the class that our apothecary to the magical is a gift shop. All the profits made in our shop goestraight back into our charity, funding more writing workshops for more children – which helps keep the cost of our workshops low to schools. We can also make sure that no child goes home empty-handed, regardless of whether they’re able to bring pocket money.

 

If you have any further questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to contact us.

The very best of wishes from the team of staff and volunteers at Grimm & Co.

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