Literacy Pirates

a fleet of learning centres in Hackney, Haringey and soon beyond

Luke the Magician (Magic Mike)

The Jolly RogersComment

Today we were visited by a man called Luke O'Neill and he is a magician. He showed us some card tricks. One involved him putting a pen through a card. He told us about how he got into magic. He is 21 years old and he has been practising magic for 3 years. He practises for 2-3 hours a day and sometimes up to 8 hours! That's real dedication. For 6 years he did juggling and he learnt magic by watching Youtube videos.

After he showed us some tricks we went downstairs and he did a performance for all of the Young Pirates. When we came back up stairs Luke showed us how to do some of his magic tricks. It's all about how fast you move your hands and how you get the other person to be distracted by something so they can't see what you are really doing. That's called misdirection.

Luke was really nice and fun to talk to. I think he should have his own TV show. You can contact him @O'NeillMagic.


Arwen the Assistant Producer

The Jolly RogersComment

Today we were visited by a lady called Arwen Roberts. She is 29 and her favourite subject is English. Her favourite food is burgers and her favourite colours are yellow, green, blue and white. She works for TV and writes drama and comedy. She is from Yorkshire and her first job was as a runner at the BBC TV Centre in the drama department but now works for Tidy Productions as a production secretary where she helps the cast with their needs. Arwen told us about the different departments. There are 7 departments:

  • Costume department;
  • Hair and make-up department;
  • Location department;
  • Art department;
  • Camera department;
  • Directing department;
  • Script department

After we learnt about want she does for her job we did an extract of the TV show ‘Our Girl'.  I directed the scene and told the actors what they needed to do and what they needed to improve. Afterwards we swapped and I then filmed. In the end I thought everyone did a great job. You can contact Arwen on twitter- @arwenelinor or her website- IMDB.

Silvia - Partners for Youth Employment

The Jolly RogersComment

Today we were visited by a lady called Silvia Giovannoni Webster and she works for a company call Partners for Youth Empowerment (PYE). She is a creative facilitator. A facilitator is a person who is not like a teacher but helps people build on the participants’ ideas.

In the session we played a rhythm game and a memory game. We also wrote a poem were we all wrote one line and acted it out, we wrote the poem to help us:

·        Be more creative as a group

·        To have a better understanding of others in a group

Empowerment is when someone gives a person the power to have their own say and have creative ideas. 

This was my poem:-

The hum of the Hackney Pirates sound
So cheerful and fun
Being here makes the world go around 
The atmosphere is cheerful and happy 
I cant help but smile when I walk into the ship
It can make you smile every day when you look at the sky
Its like a happy feeling of your own where you can forget whats happening in your life and have fun. 

It was really fun and I hope to see her again.

You can google search Partners for Youth Empowerment.


Kate the Chocolate Maker!

The Jolly RogersComment

Today, we were visited by a lady called Kate Burton and she works for a company called The Cocoa Den. In the session she told us about the different types of chocolate and how cocoa pods (beans) are grown.

In her company, they make chocolate sculptures and she told us about how she started to make chocolate. We used cutters to cut shapes in the chocolate then we covered them in ether white or milk chocolate and decorated them. We even decorated marshmallows! I made one that looked like a bear and also drizzled chocolate over the top of some.

Her company has a website and you can buy some of the chocolate. The process of making cocoa beans into chocolate is the following. It starts as a cocoa pod that grows on trees but they can only grow in hot countries such as Africa. The cocoa beans only ripen 2 times a year. Then, when they are ripe they are cut open and the cocoa beans are removed but they are covered in a kind of mesh. The cocoa beans are dried for 7 days and the mesh is removed (you can eat the mesh!) then the cocoa beans are dried for another 7 days. Once dried then can be sold to be made into cocoa powered or chocolate. Although the cocoa beans can be eaten on their own. When the cocoa beans are turned to power it is melted into chocolate liquor. The liquor can be separated into cocoa butter or cocoa powered. You contact Kate at or @thecocoaden at Twitter.  

Lexi - Animator

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Lexi is a graphic designer. She makes film trailers and does work for the BBC. She also showed us a show reel of her work which she created in university. Her first animation is called 'Happy Pill' and it is about a stick man who found a pill and ate it. Then he turned into a pill. It took her 2 weeks to make the animation. 

Lexi is 30 and she sings in a band called 'HoopDriver'. She migrated from China to England when she was 17. She also plays hockey in the Olympic stadium but not professionally. Her favourite food is dumplings and she has a dog called Holly who is 6 years of age. If she could be an animal she said she would be a bird of any kind. She is inspired by her favourite movies 'Jurassic Park' and 'Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind' which is a Japanese animation movie. It was also released in 1984 which was the year Lexi was born. She likes this movie because the girl was the heroine not a boy which made it more interesting. You can find her on twitter @littlelasai.

This Is Rubbish - Mickey and Poppy

The Jolly RogersComment

Today the crew were visited by Mickey and Poppy from This Is Rubbish, who fight to increase awareness about food waste in the UK.

Mickey and Poppy treated us to some delicious banana muffins which we all scoffed down. After they told us that the muffins were made from bananas that were going to be thrown away because they had gone a little soft or looked a bit brown. Thankfully Mickey and Poppy saved them otherwise we wouldn't have gotten to eat their yummy muffins! They told us that bananas are the most wasted food the UK and that you could make a BILLION muffins with all the bananas we throw away every year. Just imagine how many hungry and homeless people we could feed with all those muffins!!!

It's not just banana that get chucked out for no reason. Mickey showed us pictures of massive trucks full of bread crusts that get thrown away by sandwich factories at the end of every day. It's so sad to see all that bread going into the bin. I love the ends of the loaf so I could eat some and we could feed the rest to birds.

Mickey also showed some more horrible pictures of vegetables and other fruit being wasted. In some of them it looked like millions and millions of oranges, tomatoes and apples.  It sounds silly, but sometimes the reason supermarkets throw food away is because they think that they look funny so people won't buy them. We saw some pictures of vegetables that looked a bit wonky but we would still eat them all.

Mickey and Poppy asked us to think of some slogans that could get people to buy wonky looking food and to get supermarkets to stop throwing away good food. Here are some of the slogans that me, Michaela and Nardos thought of:

·         Don’t waste, get on the case.

·         Eat what you want. Take what you need.

·         Just because it’s brown, don’t mean you bin it down.

Ben Sellers

The Jolly RogersComment

Today we were visited by a man called Ben and he is a music melody composer from Yorkshire. He showed us an app called 'Loopseque' were we made a composition to a short film and made a backing song the Ambassadors Rap that Anthony wrote for us. 

We played a rhythm game to start the session then we preformed what we composed during the session. It was really fun to play with all the different rhythms. Some of us made a track to go with a video that showed a man skydiving off the side of a cliff. The music we made had to be tense at the start and got more relaxed as he landed. I liked using the app because we got to mess around with all different beats and you can change the beat as it's playing. My favourite part of the session was performing with my beat while Anthony rapped to it. 

Ben was really cool and one of our best ever speakers! You can tweet Ben @thebosmanruling.

Josh and Josh - Cape-Abilities

The Jolly RogersComment

Today we were visited by a pair form a group called CAPE ABILITIES. They go to primary schools and talk about how to be a hero of the world. They even have there own interpretations of the word 'heroes'

H - hopeful

E - empathetic

R - resourceful

O - open-minded

E - energetic

S - super-sapiens

It was a little confusing on the account they were both called Josh but we got it in the end. Josh 1 as a kid he liked to dress up as a super hero. He would imagine all the different possible things he could do to change the world but in the end he gave up. Josh 2 wanted to be a rapper and he loved to skate boards and play the guitar.

They showed us a slide of some the things they do and why. I learnt that you don't have to have super powers to be a hero. All you need is a motivation and you can do anything.

We played a game with willow sticks to see how well we can work as a team. It was fun. We also drew maps of what our dream worlds would be and then we presented them to each other, that was really fun too.

If you could do anything to change the world what would you do?

Alexis Deacon

The Jolly RogersComment

Alexis is an author and illustrator for children's books.

The first thing he did was he drew a picture of a creature made up of many different animals. He even let us draw our own made up creatures and it was amazing. If you could draw a made up creature for a book what would it be?

Then he showed us loads of different pictures of simply drawn faces. He explained how different types of lines can make different facial expressions. Look:

(: = Happy

): = Sad

:p = Silly

He also showed us that different body positions mean different things.

He read a book he has written about a bird and crocodile. It was called ' Croc and Bird' I thought it was a great book for young kids and I believe lots and lots of people will love it.

There are many ways to get in contact with Alexis, here are some links.

Mussel Men

The Jolly RogersComment

Today we were visited by two people called Sean and Kirsty who work at a Scottish seafood cafe in Hackney near Dalston Junction. The cafe is called Mussel Men. They have had it open for 10 months now, it opened on the 7th of June 2014. Sean is the cook at the cafe and Kirsty tells the customers about the mussels and other seafood items on the menu.

They came in today and let us draw our favourite type of fish or shell fish. The type of fish they sell is mussel, clam, squid, lobster, crab, shrimp, prawn and oyster. They don’t sell shark fin or crab sticks.

If you go there you will never get bored because you can play thumb wars with the workers and if you win three round you get a free mussel man t-shirt. The workers also dress up like sailors to entertain the customers.

PrintME 3D

The Jolly RogersComment

Today we were visited by a company called PrintME 3D who  specialise in printing and scanning 3D object. The names of the members who came in today was a guy called Peter a girl called Priya and the last guy was called Dan.

They showed us some of the items they make and we got to use some of the machines they use. One of the items was a 3D pen and we made some 3D object like flowers and squiggles. We also scanned our faces and looked at them on a computer and we watched them start to print out a 3D octopus. We also played with a little mechanical printbot (a car) and a robot called JD. JD was doing different moves and was being controlled by the computer. The printbot was moving in circles until one of the Jolly Rogers fixed it and made it go faster and go forwards.

If I could have anything as a scan I would have a 3D model of my granny's dog - who passed away - so I can have a memory of him here.

If you could have anything printed what would have?

Tom Mustill

The Jolly RogersComment

Tom Mustill is a Wildlife Film Director who has done some work for the BBC. He has made movies such as Bat man of Mexico. He showed us a video of a documentary about some of the things he has filmed like a kangaroo giving birth and a family of baboons. He told us about how the male baboon finds a mate by seeing if the female is ready to have another baby. He also showed us a tooth of a sperm whale which had washed up on the shore and scientist had to cut it open to find out what it ate and if it was healthy.

He also showed us another tooth from a White Siberian Tiger who had died. Tom once stayed on an island right of the cost of Madagascar to study rare pigeons. The island is the original home of the Dodo. He told us if could be any animal he would be a giraffe.

Check out Tom's website for more cool videos:

Tom is an inspiring and courageous man who will inspire many people to come.

Anna Clover

The Jolly RogersComment

Anna is a devised theatre performer and writer. She sometimes does acting but she prefers writing because she gets nervous. She has done a few different plays such as A Tempest in a Teacup with some kids who signed up to Hackney Shed.

Devised acting is when you do acting with no script and no clue of what you are going to do next. You use many different methods such as stage combat and improvisation.

Anna is a fun and kind person, with lots fun ideas and a bright personality.

Ashish (Ash) Ghadiali

The Jolly Rogers1 Comment

Today was the first Jolly Rogers meeting after the summer holidays and we were visited by Ash Ghadiali a short film maker who came in to show us a short film he had made.

The film was about some friends who like to play scrabble but one of them likes the girl but she likes someone else. The girl named Bobbie came after school telling her boyfriend she was going to get a book but was really going the play scrabble with the boy named Rajah. Then Bobbie and Rajah were left in the dark of their school and they kissed. I believed that was an OK movie but not suitable for young children because it had swearing such as “f**k” and “a**e hole” in it. Also it had flirting and kissing. But overall it was a good short film. Ash did good :-)

James Turner

The Jolly RogersComment

James Turner had just come back from a trip to the Arctic and he came in and speak to us about his trip. He also showed us a few pictures of him and his group of adventurers. His organisation is called Green Peace and they work to save the environment from global warming. Before they went to the Arctic they went to the Amazon. Many animals live in the Arctic such as polar bears and walruses. James has seen a polar bear but only from a distance because they are dangerous if you get too close. Snowy owls live in the northern parts of Antarctica. Another animal that lives in the arctic is the arctic fox but he hasn't seen one yet.

Tom Barry

The Jolly RogersComment

Tom Berry loves to draw and write poems. He does art work for a living and was inspired by the books he has read. Some of his art work is being sold in our shop The Ship Of Adventures. He is an illistrator  and poet. He is in the middle of writing and drawing a poem book about different paths in life and London.