Helen Swinyard, Learning Resources Centre Manager, Heartlands High School, London
Take a journey through the years with the Carnegie at Heartlands High School!
Heartlands High School in Wood Green, London, welcomed Year 7 students in September 2010 and is now an over-subscribed school with over 1000 students in school Years 7-11. The Carnegie Award Shadowing was followed from the very beginning of the school’s inception and has evolved each year!
The Carnegie Award was part of the InterHouse Challenge programme (challenges throughout the year gained house points, with an end-of-year trophy). 30 students and staff from each house read at least 1 of the books each and met weekly after school to discuss and choose their favourite! The official winner that year was Monsters of Men, whilst the most popular at HHS were Prisoner of the Inquisition and Out of Shadows.
The library officially opened and a librarian, Ms Swinyard, appointed! We now had Year 7 and 8 students joining together as part of InterHouse and had 3 discussion meetups and 2 online review submissions (1 of the first impressions and 1 of the whole book). A Monster Calls officially won this year – now one of our Year 7 class reads!
A final voting party was the highlight of this year’s award, now for Years 7, 8 and 9, including enthusiastic younger siblings of previous participants. The club also moved to a weekly lunch slot – which meant only those taking part could come to the Library at that time! It caused quite a stir! But anyone could join and we no longer limited it to certain house reps, but for anyone who wanted to come along. The school favourite was DEFINITELY Midwinter Blood, although the official winner was Maggot Moon. Our library also joined Twitter!
The Bunker Diary (which won this year) was in constant debate as we moved back to an after school weekly club – and is still a popular title here. They all felt it was fine, and the adults and press were making a fuss about nothing! The school favourite was Blood Family, though. We also had fun this year taking it in turns to update the website, Tweet and take photos.
Apple and Rain was definitely the favourite – a book that’s also a poem…? It blew their minds! The official winner was Buffalo Soldier but only staff participants read it that year! This year we also moved the award up to older students, since Year 7 were taking part in the first year of the Haringey Children’s Book Award instead.
This year, instead of a book club, we tried the books out with top set Year 9, who were complaining that they had read everything in the Library and there were “no good books”. After a ‘book speed-dating’ session where they were introduced to each book on each table, they voted to read their favourite and then discussed in class with their teacher. The favourite was Lies We Tell Ourselves (the award was officially won that year by One).
This year we are back to a ‘free-for-all’ system for anyone who wants to take part, in a virtual book club format, since the Library is used for GCSE and internal exams so much. Word of mouth and historic participation (and merits!) mean students are still reading and reviewing, plus the repeat promise of watching the ceremony LIVE. Our rewards are cumulative, so the more they read, the more merits and treats they get. Anyone who reads 3 or more of the Carnegie or Greenaway titles get into a goodie bag prize draw, and receive an invite to watch the ceremony. We don’t have a sure-fire winner yet, but the books that are the saddest seem to be getting the most attention! Our lovely display this year was designed by a Year 10 work experience student, including bunting.
You can follow this year’s journey with the Carnegie at Heartlands High School on Twitter. Who do you rate as your winner this year?