My website has a new look

screen print of website theme

The new chalk board theme

My webmaster, Karen, has given my website a new look. This website is hosted on WordPress.com. There are lots of themes to choose from. We decided this one was fun, casual and flexible (just like me!) and had a sort of link to schools. Although I bet there aren’t any classrooms in the schools that I visit that still have a chalk board. The reason for the change was to make the site work better on mobile phones and other devices. I hope you like it. Please do let me know what you think.

The old Koi theme that wasn’t responsive to mobile

What a Wonderful World Book Day Week

Basket of tea and coffee

A warm welcome from Moorside Primary School, Swinton

I know World Book Day is just one day, but it turns into a whole week of celebrations in many schools, and for me. That’s a great thing. I was in a different school each day of the week and met so many wonderful students and staff, and many dressed as characters from books.

One thing I am finding more frequently now when I visit a school is that the day’s events are captured in images and video and tweeted before I even get home. Here are some examples.

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Many thanks for such great week to all of the staff and students at Hunslet Carr Primary School (Leeds), St Joseph’s RC Primary (Bolton), Christ Church CofE Primary School (Oldham), St Wildrid’s Primary School (Sheffield) and Moorside Primary School (Swinton).

Thank you so much for such a wonderful day. The children, staff and parents really enjoyed it and I was impressed with the poetry the children created in such a short amount of time.” Vicky Sherrington, St Joseph’s RC Primary School, Bolton

We loved every minute, thanks so much – we’re all officially inspired.” Rachel Robinson, Moorside Primary School, Swinton.

Celebrate poetry with UNESCO’s World Poetry Day on 21 March each year

World Poetry Day (21 March each year) celebrates and promotes the reading, writing, publishing and teaching of poetry worldwide. The day was declared an official observance day by UNESCO in 1999. But as many countries already had established traditional National Poetry Day’s around October time, this worldwide celebration receives very little publicity in those countries, including the UK. (Actually this year National Poetry day has been moved to 28 September in UK). I say, the more poetry days, the merrier.

“Poetry reaffirms our common humanity by revealing to us that individuals, everywhere in the world, share the same questions and feelings.”

“Poetry is the mainstay of oral tradition and, over centuries, can communicate the innermost values of diverse cultures.” (UNESCO website)

You could celebrate World Poetry Day in your school by learning about poems from different cultures, including from pupils’ own cultures. Or investigate different forms of poem, such as the Japanese Haiku or the Arabic Ruba’i.

Here are some teaching resources online that you may find useful:

National Poetry Day 28 September Freedom

Ideas and Resources for World Book Day on 2 March 2017

Photo https://flic.kr/p/2qqrc

I’m fully booked for the week of World Book Day, but do have availability after that if anyone wants a poet to liven up a school day.

For those of you looking for some activity ideas for World Book Day, I came across this poster on Twitter of 20 Bright Ideas.

Poster from http://www.worldbookday.com/resources/primary/

This is part of the resource pack for primary schools available on the World Book Day website here: http://www.worldbookday.com/resources/primary/

I hope you all have a great World Book Day and ‘do something booky’!

Word image saying 'so something booky'

Image Credit: the first photo in this post is shared by Creative Commons CC-BY-SA licence on flickr by Hans Splinter at https://flic.kr/p/2qqrc

World Book Day celebrates its 20th year on Thursday 2nd March

wbd2017-booky

2017 is the 20th year of World Book Day. It’s a celebration of authors, illustrators, books and (most importantly) it’s a celebration of reading. In fact, it’s the biggest celebration of its kind, designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading, and marked in over 100 countries all over the world.

I’ve had some great visits to schools over the years in the week of World Book Day. Last year I visited seven schools just before and during World Book Day Week, mostly in Manchester where I am based. I blogged about it here.

It is always fun to see how teachers and students dress up as characters from their favourite stories. Such as the teachers from Albrough Primary School in 2015 (read more)  and Oldfield Primary School, gosh was that one really 2012? (Read more).

Teachers in fancy dress at Aldbrough Primary School

Aldbrough Primary School

Oldfield Primary School

Oldfield Primary School

There is still time to book me for sometime around World Book Day. For an idea of how a day of poetry workshops can work in a school see here. If you are interested, please contact me to check availability and cost.

What ever you do, I hope it is something booky!

Apple Thoughts on Apple Day

a group of apples

Image credit: Apple Gala Golden Delicious Jonathon Orchard CC-BY Jackson’s Orchard https://flic.kr/p/s6RjYb

As it’s Apple Day, I’ve had apples on my mind. Apple Day (21 October every year) was launched by Common Ground in 1990 to celebrate the wide variety of apples and to contemplate the risks of losing the diversity of this wonderful fruit. Apples feature richly in our culture from the temptation of Eve in the Garden of Eden to the temptation to buy the latest smartphone. These are my thoughts in poetry form.

Apple Thoughts On Apple Day

(i)
Lots of people
love apples.

We’re tempted by the shiny skin
and the lively taste
that lies within.

And we adore the humble apple
in crumbles
and in pies.

(ii)
When I see an innocent apple
hanging from a tree
I make a wish that no mishap’ll
befall him.

(iii)
In my day,
when young people
wanted to experiment with alcohol
they opted for cider.

Do they still?

As a teenage kid
I never did.
I preferred beer.

(iv)
I’m picturing a billionaire businessman
in a shiny green appleskin suit
sitting behind a desk
in the Big Apple,
apple juice running down his chin
as he bites into a big red one.

(v)
The Beatles christened
their company and record label Apple.
I remember ‘Hey Jude’
revolving on the turntable
and watching the Apple logo
go round and round.

Tasty song.

(vi)
Apple Day,
by the way,
is nothing to do with computers.

(vii)
I guess
some people
whose livelihood/ business
is apples

are obsessed
with them?

(viii)
Is it bonkers
to be bananas
about apples?

Lots of class and individual poems created at Hollin Primary School

hollinprimary

Two great days at Hollin Primary School this week. Thanks everyone. Nicely captured in the twittersphere:

Concentrated half day poetry workshop with one year 3 class

Bernard Young half day visit to Chorlton CofE Primary school

Mostly, when I visit a school, I spend a whole day and work with all year groups, spending a little time with each, having kicked things off with a performance to the whole school. However, on Friday, linked to National Poetry Day, I had the pleasure of spending half a day with just one class at Chorlton CofE Primary School in Manchester – Miss Lowe’s year 3 class. This meant a more concentrated experience for the students in that class.

I performed to the class reading some poems from my books, some with guitar, and then answered their questions about being a poet. After that we wrote a poem about their school all together, with guitar accompaniment. Then I gave them some suggestions so they could write their own individual poems, which every child did. At the end of the session each child performed their poem to the rest of the class. All of this before lunch time! A very successful literacy lesson.

Thank you Year 3 and Miss Lowe for your enthusiasm and creativity. I hope this experience has nurtured a confidence with poetry which will stay for every day.

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A Message from two children for National Poetry Day

Poem from Bernard Young visit to a school on National Poetry Day

We had a great time writing messages poems for National Poetry Day at St Paul’s Primary in Worsley today. Well done everyone and keep it up! Here is an example from Amy and Hadley.

Dear Mr Poet
I’m out of ideas,
And don’t I know it,
If I don’t get started,
I’ll be here all night,
And that’s just not right!

Dear Mr Poet
Thanks for the lesson,
To you I owe it,
My ideas were great,
I picked up a pen,
And I wrote it down,
Miss gave it a ten!

Dear Mr Poet
Thanks again

Another Message Poem for National Poetry Day on 6 October

DSCF6640

National Poetry Day takes place the first Thursday in October every year in the UK. Each year there is a theme and this year it is MESSAGES. Here is another poem of mine on that theme to give you some inspiration.

Message From A Miserable Tortoise

To whom it may concern,

Don’t expect
to see me today.

I’m fed up.
Depressed.
Withdrawn.

You can knock as hard as you like.
I’m not coming out.
Not even for a lettuce leaf.

I’m a hard nut to crack.
An unsociable bone.

Leave me alone.

I’m already booked for the actual day of National Poetry Day, but still have some slots that week, if you want to have me come to your school to kick off the creativity, or any other time of year is good too. Just contact me for availability and price.

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