Professional children's performance poet! MA in Writing/Education and residencies at various schools. Books published by Bloomsbury. Blogging students' work, works-in-progress, and miscellanea. Blogs also about psychology and mental health. Blog posts not always child friendly.
Inspired by the heartbreaking events which daily unfold on our newscreens, pupils at my weekly lunchtime poetry group have been writing refugee poems. I shared with them three poems, by Michael Rosen, Martha Sprackland and 9-year-old Lamiya Safarova. After a brief discussion, I asked pupils to write poems from the perspective of a refugee. Some used their imaginations, whilst others based their pieces on real experiences. I'm excited to share the results:
I saw a girl who twinkled
She had a smile on her face
But from the inside she was glum
And full of sorrow
I tried to ask her but she would never say
Why she feels this way
The next day
I saw her sitting on the bench crying
When I asked her what’s the matter
I am a refugee girl
And I hate being this person
Refugee Poemby Sakai
I sit on the bench which is broken in half
I stare at the empty bottle wanting for more water
I am very pleased to be back working at Plashet School, having worked there last year as a Spoken Word Educator. I ran my first lunch club of the term yesterday, and was delighted that almost all of the following I had gathered last year decided to return. In a testament to the skills they have acquired, I didn't need to give them many writing prompts or to set up elaborate activities; after a brief discussion about what they got up to during their holidays, I let them loose on the writing. Some girls decided to write about an activity they undertook during the holidays, and others just, well, wrote about whatever they wanted. Here are two fantastic examples:
Ready to step on
Checking if it’s safe
You can hear the people
As soon as they get off
People come eagerly rushing
To get on
You can hear the man saying
Are you ready?
YESSS! They scream
It’s too late to get off
WOOO! They scream
As it goes down
Faster than a motor bike
Then it’s all over
All About Meby Dina
I am like a mango birthday cake
Exploding with flavour
One fact is anger and happiness are my best friends
But now tasting the cake I feel bitter and
National Poetry Day is on October 8th, and the theme is Light. As ever with NPD, this is a very broad theme, and encompasses a huge variety of possibilities. Here is a very simple idea, which can be adapted for children of all ages and abilities. What follows is the broad outline; feel free to add, subtract and alter according to who you are working with.
Play a game with the pupils. Name a colour, and give them a set amount of time to list as many things as they can that have that colour. So for example, you might say 'green', and pupils might write 'frog; grass; tree; snot, etc. If you are into gamification, you might make this activity into a competition.
Use some of the ideas generated in the previous activity to model some similes for the class, e.g.: 'as green as a....', 'as red as a.....'. Use this as an opportunity to discuss which are the best ideas, and how to make the similes more interesting/exciting.
give out lots of sheets of coloured paper - as many different colours as possible placed on each table. Children can write colour-based similes on the sheets of paper, according to which colour paper they have been given.
Share my poem 'Fireworks', below. In groups, children cut out the similes, and stick them onto a black backdrop, so as to form the shape of a firework in the night sky. They can then practice performing the pieces, and you have some lovely collaborative shape poems to display.
Hello people, and welcome to the first blog post of the new school term. I have been somewhat lax in updating this blog, the main reason being simple laziness. However, there are two rather more salubrious reasons for my lack of blogging: (a) I have been working on two children's poetry collections, for which I have rather excitingly been offered a contract by Bloomsbury (of Harry Potter fame), and (b) I have been completing my MA dissertation.