Tom-Gates-Tastic at Hilton Primary School

Hilton Primary School, Inverness, have done some great work with the Scottish Book Trust. Following this, the Scottish Book Trust are offering CPD training for practitioners in Highland on Thursday 14th April 2016, 4pm – 5.30pm.


To book contact:

Find out what Hilton have been up to below . . .

At Hilton Primary in Inverness both of the P6 classes have been taking part in a project inspired by the books and videos of Liz Pichon.

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Getting Started

Initially we watched the Author’s Live Event with Liz Pichon.

This introduced all of the children to the world of Tom Gates. It was an extremely engaging and interactive session as the children had clipboards and paper to follow Liz’s doodling instructions.

During the next session we watched The Brilliant World of Tom Gates as a lead into reading the book.

We followed the very natural progression of the book and focussed on the main themes of doodling, music and comics.


  • We made a string doodle using a piece of string to make a shape, maybe a snail or a monster, and then we added doodles.
  • We created a Tom Gates style wall on frieze paper/bookcase in classroom/ school library.
  • The children developed their doodling techniques – Comic Capers (half a jotter which has a mix of plain/lined pages) for 10 -15 minutes daily to note ideas and to practise doodles.
  • Then they doodled themselves as a character within Tom Gates. They annotated the drawings as Liz does with the characters in her books. The pictures were then added to the Tom Gates wall to create a gallery. 
  • We watched the cooking verbs video clip in preparation for writing our own Granny Mavis style recipes. 

We used pages 98-104 from ‘A Little Bit Lucky’ about the pizza toppings as a stimulus.

  • Then we had a go at making unusual – yet palatable – pizzas. We wrote the pizzas up as recipe cards using ‘cooking verbs’ and displayed them (or you could make a pizza compilation book). 
  • The children used their doodling skills to design a Tom Gates type t-shirt for their rock band. 
  • They all took part in a competition to design a new cover for the next Tom Gates book (as Liz had become too busy to design her own!)


  • The class listened to, learned and performed Dog Zombie’s version of Delia’s a Weirdo
  • They created a band identity through posters and t-shirts.They then produced, learned and performed their own song in their band 
  • The children investigated the layout and information in music magazines e.g. Rocksound, Kerrang
  • They enjoyed creating their own review about their band as part of class rock magazine.


  • Comic Capers – Build up ideas, doodling experience in Comic Capers books. The children spent 10-15 minutes daily using lined and blank exercise jotters. The children asked that we keep this activity going after the project.
  • Then we watched a video clip about producing comics 

We spent time with our class looking at comic strip formats either from the Dandy and The Beano, or Oor Wullie. 

The Tom Gates series is written in the epistolary style which can include letters, other documents and often diary entries. An additional activity could be to compare and contrast Tom Gates with Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Look for any similarities in the style: first person, irreverence, friendships and rivalries, etc. What is different? Can you tell they are written by different authors and if so, how? What are the clues? Which do they prefer and why? Encourage debate and split the learners into two groups each advocating the superiority of one or other of the novels.

Tom Gates Day

Bringing together the activities already covered by the children, the day comprised of;

  • Songs being performed
  • Comics/ Music Magazines to view
  • Competition winners announced
  • Pizzas cooked using recipe cards
  • Excerpt read from latest Liz Pichon book
  • Children dressed up in t-shirts and wearing character masks
  • Doodle activities/games from Scholastic fun stuff website
  • Quiz

As a result of the Authors Live broadcast and the follow up activities, the children have gone on to become huge fans of the Tom Gates series. Many of the children have now got their own copies of the series of books and we have been asked to add collections of books to the school’s reading resources.

1 thought on “Tom-Gates-Tastic at Hilton Primary School

  1. Rebecca Williamson

    I absolutely love this! We have been reading Tom Gates as our class novel and I am now totally inspired to do some fun work to go with it after the holidays, great work Hilton!!


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