VisitGrubtown is an interactive, online story targeted for 7-11 year olds. The story follows Jilly and Mango through a new location every week as they track down the saboteur of the town’s efforts to win the Golden Pineapple. Players are also able to contribute to the in-story online newspaper, the Grubtown Daily Herald, which is recruiting aspiring journalists to write articles, restaurant reviews, and movie reviews.
VisitGrubtown gives students a chance to practice their writing skills in a fun setting, and can be used to help teach them about writing in a journalistic style. The best articles will be selected and printed in a real newspaper that will be sent to the selected students. Philip Ardagh, author of the Grubtown Tales series, will pay a classroom visit to the student that writes the best article.
Setting up Accounts for Students
Registering on the site will allow your students to submit their articles for publication on the online newspaper. Registration requires selecting a Grubtown name (which will become the student’s byline in the newspaper), a first name, and a valid email address.
Students should turn in their Grubtown name so you can see who has been published online. The articles are pre-moderated daily to ensure that no offensive content is written in the article.
Once the students have registered, they can submit their articles by clicking on the ‘Submit your Story’ link on the top left hand corner of the page. Articles should be at least 25 words long and refer to events that could be happening in Grubtown. For ideas, students can read about the characters on the bio page, and then make up events that could happen to them (e.g. Mrs. Awning Trapped in Mailbox!)
Students should keep the following items in mind:
- Headlines should be short, relevant, and describe the event being covered
- The main, most important facts of the article should come first with supporting details and facts coming later in the article. The first paragraph should answer – Who, What, When Where and Why?
- Use quotes of characters on the scene to show the ‘local’ reaction to the event
For a short writing activity, students can review fictional restaurants in Grubtown. In writing the review, the students should think about the following items:
- Who is the audience? (People who like to eat food in restaurants. People looking to find out where to go to eat. )
- What is the key information the audience would like to know? (How does the food taste? How much did it cost? How was the service? What does the restaurant decor look like?)
- When should the audience go? (Lunch/breakfast/dinner/snacks?)
Restaurant reviews are only 25 words long, so students will need to think carefully about what would make the most effective review for any given restaurant.
Each week, two new movies are added to the theatre in Grubtown, which are puns on the original movie names(e.g. Free Whaley, Quack to the Fuschia.) In writing the review, students can use their imaginations of what would happen in these spoof films and comment on their thoughts about them. Some of the things students should keep in mind while writing the review:
- Who is the audience? (People who like to watch films, kids, etc.)
- What did they think of the film? (Did they like or dislike it? Was it funny, sad, silly?)
- What were the key highlights of the film? (Make up main plot points based on title of film)
Movie reviews are quite short, only 25 words long, so students will need to think carefully about what would make an amusing review for these fictitious films.