The Iron Man Project by Shade School: How did it all begin? Here are our ideas...

Shade School, Todmorden, pupils with some of the work they have created for the project based on Ted Hughes's book The Iron Man
Shade School, Todmorden, pupils with some of the work they have created for the project based on Ted Hughes's book The Iron Man

Like many other children in Todmorden, our Year 5 class have been enjoying a project on Ted Hughes and The Iron Man.

We have thoroughly enjoyed all of our visitors: Terry Caffrey was hilarious and inspired us to write poetry any way we wanted without worrying about the “spellering or the handwritering”. He also liked to make up new words!

This poem was written by Ebony Redmond about a week after we’d met Terry:

“Don’t you ever wonder what boys hide in their pocket?/It’s all sorts of bits and bobs, maybe a lady’s locket./They have nails and snails, mats and cats./ Also logs and dogs, keys and peas, bees and knees/Mostly tens of pens, for when they lose the pens from mums and dads./ Now you know what’s in their pockets with lady’s lockets.”

Terry also showed us how to be our own publishers. We made our own books, then filled them with a poem and lift-the-flap illustrations.

Sculptor Mick Kirby-Geddes was great! We all made a bust of a person from recycled materials.

It was a bit weird though because, at lunch time, none of us were very pleased with what we’d made. Then, when we’d put on all the mod-roc, they looked fab!

After Mick had left, we set to and covered them in tissue paper – they look a bit like mosaics. We really like the fact that they were all different – unique, like us.

Last Ursula Holden-Gill came and we enjoyed her storytelling and made our own versions of the Iron Man story. In the lovely weather, we went out onto our school-yard and did some filming of the Iron Man story.

We learnt to hold the story in our heads. No writing, but we remembered to use story language and make it as interesting as possible. We also thought about how the Iron Man ever came to exist in the first place.

Amelia Taylor thought, maybe it was a little girl who made him? She wrote: “Many years ago lived a young girl. At the age of eight Kaitlin was small and unhappy. She had no friends. Maybe it was because she had strange ideas. Or that she looked different. But whatever the reason Kaitlin was lonely.

“One day Kaitlin was sent by her mother to collect scrap metal... something to do with the environment, she was told. One by one the people of the village chucked a huge piece of scrap metal into the skip that Kaitlin was pulling along. After a couple of hours, three skips were full of metal. Kaitlin miserably walked home; the rain pouring down on her and soaking her clothes. She told her father the skips were full and he set off to get them.

“The next day Kaitlin sat staring at the metal and suddenly a strange, strange idea burst into her head like a balloon popping at a party. It was a great idea! She, Kaitlin Gruffin, would make a huge metal Iron Man and he could be her friend! Smiling smugly Kaitlin rolled out a piece of paper and set out her plans.”

Or maybe, as Harry Griffiths imagined, he was made by a magnetic force in space?

Harry wrote: “It all began one million years ago when a small magnet began to collect lumps of metal. Then the magnet created a hand, and then the hand began a project - the project of The Iron Man. When the project began the Iron Man was created bit by bit, piece by piece.

“First the hand built the head taller than a bedroom, and then it created the leg taller than a metal fence. The torso was as big as a house and the arm was half the size of the leg. Then it was completed.”

Class teacher Mrs Sutcliffe says: “This has been a wonderful way to end our school year. Every child has enjoyed learning and exploring new ideas. We are really looking forward to the exhibition in Todmorden Library in the Autumn!”