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Tuesday, 3 June 2014


Here is an idea based on celebrating that which is normally perceived as negative. The outcome will probably be some light-hearted poetry, although it is hoped that students will be led to reflect on deeper issues to do with self-identity too. It will also require some gymnastics and contortion of the imagination!

Each pupil writes a list of things about themselves that they don't like. They then pick something off the list, and write a poem praising that thing. It could be from the point of view of an imaginary King, Queen or Superhero (e.g. 'The Queen of Bad-Spelling' or 'Captain Awkward'). A good technique to get started might be to come up with some examples of elaborate hyperbole: "I am so awkward that...," "I am so stupid that...". Here is my own poem to use as an example:


I am the greatest person in the world
at failing to make friends.
Put me in a room full of people
and I’ll still be as lonely
as a sumo wrestler at a breakdancing contest.
I collect strangers
like a cat collects dead frogs.

You could count the number
of schoolmates I made
on the digits of a quadruple amputee.
My friends from university
number ten to the power of zero.
Need advice on failing to connect
with potential pals?
Call No Friends Man –
the solitary superhero.

Yes, my ability to not make friends
is truly legendary.
It’s just a shame
there is no one around
to call me a legend.