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Thursday 26 May 2016

'FRIENDLY ADVICE' - fun poetry workshop/warm up activity based on Bukowski poem

I recently read the poem 'Friendly advice to a lot of young men', by Charles Bukowski. This provides a very simple and fun format for students' own poems. It is very accessible, and is irreverent in a way that will be enjoyable for teens and reluctant writers. Who might they write advice to? Some ideas are: parents, pets, teachers, siblings, politicians, their older/younger selves. Here is Bukowski's poem, followed by my version:

Friendly advice to a lot of young men by Charles Bukowski

Go to Tibet.
Ride a camel.
Read the Bible.
Dye your shoes blue.
Grow a Beard.
Circle the world in a paper canoe.
Subscribe to “The Saturday Evening Post.”
Chew on the left side of your mouth only.
Marry a woman with one leg and shave with a straight razor.
And carve your name in her arm.

Brush your teeth with gasoline.
Sleep all day and climb trees at night.
Be a monk and drink buckshot and beer.
Hold your head under water and play the violin.
Do a belly dance before pink candles.
Kill your dog.
Run for Mayor.
Live in a barrel.
Break your head with a hatchet.
Plant tulips in the rain.

But don’t write poetry.

Friendly Advice to a Lot of Old Men by Joshua Seigal
Sit in a chair
Talk of the ‘good old days’
Wear cardigans and slippers
Pull your trousers up too high
Keep your glasses on a little string round your neck
Be a bit right-wing
Claim that music nowadays is ‘just noise’
Repeat yourself
Talk of the ‘good old days’

Forget things
Repeat yourself
Talk of the ‘good old days’
Insist your vegetables are boiled for a long time
Turn the TV up too loudly
Go to bed at 8am
Let your dentures hang out your mouth
Suck Worther’s Originals
Wave your walking stick at people
Get a hip replacement

But don’t try to be hip.

Thursday 19 May 2016

A Poem For People Doing Exams

Things the Test Doesn’t Ask About

The colours of the rainbow inside your heart
Whether you’ve mastered the art of giving
Whether you’re living in the moment
How you treat opponents on the other team
The volume of your dreams as you sleep at night
The delight you get from trying your best
How you deal with being stressed and upset
Whether you see regrets as opportunities
The laughter your bring to your community every day
The things you say to comfort others
Whether you treat them as brothers or rivals
Your aptitude for survival when fighting bears
How much you care about the planet
How well you pick the seeds from a pomegranate fruit
Whether you remain resolute when things don’t make sense.

Things the Test Does Ask About

Fronted adverbials.

Image result for sats

good luck!

Thursday 12 May 2016

Personal Blurbs - wonderful poems by Year 7 students

A few weeks ago I blogged about a fun workshop idea, in which students write book-style blurbs about themselves and their own lives. I recently ran the workshop with a small group of Year 7 students, and I'm pleased to report that it went very well! We gathered in the library, and each student had to pick a book they hadn't (yet) read. They then discussed, bases solely on the blurb, whether they would like to read it or not, and why. Having thus identified what makes an effective blurb, students then wrote blurbs about themselves. Here are some examples of the fantastic poetry they produced:

The Story of Happiness and Laughter by Zeena
Every little moment, big or small,
Join an eleven year old girl
As she discovers that she can do
Much more than she imagined!
“The most meaningful story” – Emma

The Story of My Life by Khadija

This book contains all the emotions
Read now to find out the adventures of my life
“The most weird book” – Tom

The Most Dangerous Book in the World by Mahrukh

I used to live in Pakistan
But now I came to London
My gorgeous life turned to
Boring life.
When I got admission in the school
I made friends and live my life happily.
“I didn’t even know that my daughter
Will become a writer” – Mum

The World’s Most Boring Book by Hoor

Matching socks
Sitting down
Looking at the ceiling
Eating yucky food
Listening to my sister
Playing Mario Kart
So boring!
Soooo boring!
Ummm this whole book
Is mostly my sister doing nothing
She likes chicken burgers
And pepsi.

Am I Real or Fake? By Stepheny

Stepheny enters the land of Nazareth
Also known as the land of dreams
She is caught in all the mischief
And chaos in this world
And because of this she is sent
To the Queen of Nazareth’s palace.
What happens to her?
Stepheny has inherited the power
Of the eye of hope
Because of this she can see
Hidden creatures

That normal people can’t see