I aim to make my KS2-3 talks and workshops entertaining and inspiring, filled with fascinating facts and plenty of jokes!
My sessions focus on three key areas: teaching children to use their imagination, building on their language skills, and above all, revisiting and editing their work to improve it. I also push children to think about the world around them in a different light: to see how unusual, exciting and strange life can be, and how it makes the best inspiration for stories.
(Photo © Chiara MacCall)
MINIATURE MARVELS WITH “MAX AND THE MILLIONS”!
In MAX AND THE MILLIONS, a boy discovers a microscopic fantasy civilisation living on a bedroom floor. After discussing microscopic worlds – how there are millions of living creatures all around us, so small we can’t even see them – the children imagine what it would be like to be an ant-sized person. How would everyday objects and rooms look to you? This can lead to a writing workshop where the children write entries from the expedition diary of a pint-sized explorer, or a longer workshop where they design maps of new kingdoms in bathrooms, kitchens, gardens and more!
“Ross Montgomery was fantastically engaging and gave our school, and the visiting primary schools, one of the best talks I have ever witnessed. One of the best things was the amount of engagement from the audience, who didn’t even realise they were having an English lesson!”
Neil Madden, Head of Drama, Sibford School
Suitable as a large talk or smaller workshop for Years 3 to 6.
SCARE YOURSELF SILLY WITH “CHRISTMAS DINNER OF SOULS”!
In my collection of gruesome festive horror stories, CHRISTMAS DINNER OF SOULS, I aim to make the reader squirm with terror – but how can you do it? After discussing horror scenes and the techniques writers use to build up to a big scare, the children write a scene of their own, using vivid language, tension and pace to build to a terrifying climax! With the help of atmospheric music and dramatic readings, the children revisit their work several times, improving it each time and learning the value of editing.
“Ross truly inspired our children. After his visit, non-readers became readers, sneaking sly glances at reading books under the table during lessons. Parents said that their children were asking for notebooks to record inspirations and story ideas. This has really raised the profile of English across the school.”
Lucy Hanham, Head of English, Thorngrove School
Suitable as a workshop for Years 5 to 7 – max 35 children per session.
MAKING ALIENS WITH “PERIJEE & ME”
In PERIJEE & ME, a girl discovers an incredible shape-shifting alien and secretly raises him as a little brother… that is, until he takes over the world! After discussing aliens and all the different examples we can think of in books and films, the children create their very own alien and describe every part of it, using vivid language, adjectives, similes and metaphors to create an amazing descriptive paragraph.
“The children were totally captivated. We were blown away by their creativity and the dazzling similes that they eventually came up with – fangs as sharp as treacherous butcher’s knives, skin as sparkly as the sun reflecting on the sea, wings with feathers as soft as the clouds, a fiery tail terrifying like a bolt of lightning … such an inspiring, exciting morning.” Claire Williams, Year 4 teacher
Suitable as a large talk or smaller workshop for Years 3 to 6.
WHO, WHAT, WHY, WEREWOLF?
In THE FINNEY ISLAND FILES, Ash works out that his parents have been turned into robots by studying their strange behaviour. They now wear futuristic jumpsuits, speak without emotion, and they’ve even stopped blinking! In this workshop, we think about what else his parents could have been turned into – Werewolves? Aliens? Mermaids? – and think about how we could give the reader clues by showing rather than telling. A masterclass in how to write between the lines!
Suitable as large talks or workshops for Years 3-4.
FACE YOUR FEARS WITH “THE TORNADO CHASERS”!
In THE TORNADO CHASERS, a group of children decide to face their fears and do the most terrifying thing they can think of – race across bear-infested countryside and stand next to a raging tornado! In this talk, I talk about fear and what it means to be afraid – how our minds can trick us, how everyone is frightened of something, and how I use my own fears to inspire me as a writer. Is it wrong to be frightened – and can we ever overcome our worst fears?
“Ross had the audience completely engaged from start to finish, particularly at the points where audience participation was required. The talk appealed to both boys and girls, and was informative and fun. I can’t help feeling that everybody left the hall feeling a little bit braver! Highly recommended, and a joy to look after.”
Kellie Balseiro, School Governor
Suitable as a large talk for Years 3 to 6.
BREAK THE RULES WITH ROSS MONTGOMERY!
Rules are important – but not when it comes to writing stories! My books are filled with characters who do things they shouldn’t do, and that helps make them funny and exciting.
In this talk, I help the children plot a story about a character who breaks a rule, complete with a crisis, climax and resolution. Will their character be punished? Will they get away with it? Or will they get sucked into a black hole in the sky and transported to a planet on the edge of the solar system populated entirely by geese?
“Ross was not only incredibly professional, but hugely inspiring for all the girls. All girls produced some impressive work, and, more importantly, were talking about his stories long after he had finished. His way with the class and behaviour management skills were both faultless.”
Molly Fowler, Head of English, St Christopher’s Prep School
Suitable as a workshop for Years 3 to 5 – max 35 per session.
SET THE SCENE WITH “THE BUILDING BOY”!
Inspired by the story, we think about other places which Grandmother and the Boy could have visited. Then we think of how we can set the scene by engaging all our senses and describing what they could see, hear, and feel. An opportunity to begin work which could lead to a vivid display, stretching their imaginations and vocabulary!
Suitable as a workshop for Year 3 to 4 – max 35 children per session
BEING AN AUTHOR
“So many children were talking about aspiring to be an author after meeting Ross. They loved his stories and were still coming to my room a week later asking to buy his books. The whole school cheered when I said that I would be buying his books for our library!” Mrs Sadler, English subject lead, Walton Primary School