Monday, 17 May 2010

The Famous Five

The time is nigh. I have always wanted to write a post using this title and I have been inspired by a post on Karenne Sylvester's excellent beltfree Ning on the topic of writer's block. I have had this title in my notebook for quite a while now and I have decided to give my grey cells a twirl by challenging myself to write a post within the next hour or so, including research and ideas for a lesson. Sometimes it is the only way to be inspired and to beat a blockage. To actively begin to write something as soon as it comes to you and then not stop until the seeds have been sown. By then, you will find that the rest is easy. Your mind will be buzzing with ideas just itching to be vented forth by your creativity. So here goes!

The Age of InnocenceEnid Blyton was my favourite author of all time as a child in the 1960s. I devoured her books. In particular, I loved the Famous Five series about a group of children who were always getting into scraps and adventures during their summer holidays. I loved reading about all the amazing adventures that Julian, Dick, Ann, George and Timmy, the dog, would have. I used to get into trouble for reading these books at school, the book under the desk, while I was supposed to be doing my sums, for example. Until the day I got caught in flagrante, but that's another title for a future blog post! Yes, I know, that was very naughty, but that was the power of Enid Blyton's books.
I was hooked from the first book in the series called Five on a Treasure Island. I and my sisters read all the 21 stories from cover to cover. The expression "lashings of ginger beer" will forever be associated with her books. Yes, those were the days!

Simple Lesson Ideas
Ask your students about their favourite book/series of books.
  • What is so special about the book?
  • Who are the leading characters?
  • Which words sum up the book?
  • Who is your favourite character? Why?
  • What is your favourite story line or part of the book?
  • Invent an alternative ending to the book.
  • Imagine you are a character from the book. Answer questions posed to you, in character.
These ideas are fairly basic and are ones which have come to mind this instance, but have a look at the onestopenglish site on using readers in the EFL/ESL classroom for a more comprehensive and exciting list of activities.

Digital Ideas for Exploiting Books
Ask students to prepare a Glogster on their favourite book.
Ask students to prepare a cartoon showing a dialogue between 2 characters. Sean Banville's Free ESL Materials site has an extensive compilation of cartoon / comics sources and links.
Ask students to compile a Wordle on a section of the book and get students to predict the content of each other's book.
Ask students to complete a Wallwisher with the name of their favourite book and reason why they like it so much.
Set up a wiki for posting book reviews and encouraging collaborative projects.

That's it. This post has taken me approximately one hour to write and I have enjoyed doing it. I must call time now. I would really welcome your ideas. Please feel free to add and share your ideas!


Priscila Andrade said...


Our “The Top 100 Language Blogs 2010 competition” is doing great, with some really cool blogs eager to get number 1 spot! We’re very glad you have accepted this challenge and joined us.

This post is just to remind you there is still time to get your blog up in the list. The voting goes until May 24th at midnight CET (GMT +1), so get down to business and keep voting!

Wishing you all good luck,

On behalf of and Lexiophiles team

Janet Bianchini said...

Hi Priscila

Thank you so much for your reminder. I am very honoured to be included in the Top 100 Blogs 2010. I have already voted in the four categories and it was a very hard choice, as all the blogs involved are equally worthy.

As for whether my dear readers will vote for Janet's Abruzzo Edublog, that is something only my readers can decide. Please do have a look at as many of the blogs as you can, because you will learn so much from them. Each blog is unique in its own particular way.

Best of luck to all the nominees.


Dani Lyra said...

Hi There,

I added your blog to my favorite blogs list. I believe I'll be coming back for inspiration and insights. Thank you,
Dani Lyra

Janet Bianchini said...

Hi Dani

Thank you very much for your kind comments! Look forward to sharing and learning with you as well.


Unknown said...

I came across your site as i have been to a reunion in uk enid blyton society as i was jo (Julie davis)in five fall into adventure 1978/79 and meet up with the two boys and the script writer... it was amazing day with people traveling from around the world.. and thought i would say hi and great bloggs julie (Jo)

Janet Bianchini said...

Hi Julie

I'm thrilled you have come across my blog via the Famous Five connection! You must have had a fabulous time doing the series. Thank you very much for popping by.


Faidzin said...

Hi, my name Faidzin.
I'm a Enid Blyton fans.
I've made a blog about children adventure books. Escpecially from indonesian translation view point.
Please visit my blog. I've tried to make a english blog.
Sorry, i just make one post at this time. This is my new blog