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Wednesday, 10 September 2014

WHAT IF? - Poetry workshop idea for KS2/3 (including a poem about my mum being an invisible sausage!)

Last week I performed at a gig with the poet Paul Lyalls, and we swapped our books. His book contains an interesting little poem called 'What If', which consists of a series of bizarre and surreal questions. Here is an extract from the poem:

What if a teacher was afraid of knowledge?
What if my mum was an invisible sausage?
What if people were born old and grew younger
and younger until they finished up as little babies?
What if a book didn’t have pages?
What if you could make time moving slow or fast,
make the bad times go quick
and the good times last?
What if no one ever dies?
What if you had fried eggs for eyes?

It struck me that this poem could form the basis for a workshop based on the imagination.

Step One

Present pupils with a copy of Paul Lyalls' poem. Have a discussion about which are the strangest/most interesting ideas. 

Step Two

Pupils write their own list of 'What If?' questions. Each pupil should aim for at least five. Prizes could be given for the person who writes the most, and the person who comes up the with most interesting/funniest idea. 

Step Three

The teacher collects in all the poems (for that is what they are!), and redistributes them, so that each pupil has someone else's list. They then have to choose a 'what if' question from the list, and write a poem 'answering' it. Some things to think about may be: What would you think? What would people say? What would the world be like? Can you describe a specific situation?

Here is my own poem, answering one of the questions on Paul Lyalls' list above. This can be presented to pupils as a 'model' for their own pieces. By the end of the workshop, each child will have produced two poems!

Parents Evening

My mum and dad step up to my teacher
and my dad shakes her hand.
“May I introduce my wife”, he announces.
The teacher looks confused as my dad
gestures at the empty space beside him.
“It’s OK”, my dad says to the teacher,
“she’s a sausage.”
The teacher gasps.
“But I c can’t s see a s s sausage”, she stammers.
“Ah”, my dad says, “that’s because
she’s an invisible sausage!”
The teacher asks:
“Do you mean to tell me that Joshua’s mother
“Yes”, my dad says.
“Ah”, says the teacher, “I guess
that explains a lot.”
“It sure does”, says my dad,
as he gives my mum a great big kiss.
(Or was it a bite?)

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