Hull City of Culture, National Poetry Day and the Theme of Freedom

Freedom definition National Poetry Day Theme 2017 Bernard Young
Please scroll down for lesson ideas, a video and text of my poem.

Hull, City of Culture

I was very pleased when I learnt that Hull was going to be City of Culture for 2017. I’ve visited most schools in Hull over the years, and know the city well. When I stayed a few days in 2016 to visit Thoresby Primary School, the city centre was in a state of major refurbishment in preparation for all of the activities. The arts and cultural programme for the year celebrates the unique character of the city, its people, history and geography. I think it will be very good for the city and people. You can read more about the City of Culture on their website, https://www.hull2017.co.uk/.

National Poetry Day

This year National Poetry Day is on Thursday 28 September – a little earlier than usual. This is because the organisers, Forward Arts Foundation, are working closely with the BBC and Hull City of Culture on “a celebration that will ensure still more are involved closely in enjoying, discovering and sharing poetry, all year round.”

National Poetry Day Theme Freedom 28 Sept 2017

Freedom Theme

The theme of Freedom is prominent in Hull, because of the sadness about previous prosperity linked to the slave trade, and the celebration of William Wilberforce, a native of the city, whose leadership of the movement opposing slavery eventually led to its abolition in the British Empire, through the Slavery Abolition Act 1826.

Throughout the year of culture there are events linked to the theme Freedom, including the Freedom Festival, 1-3 September 2017.

Using the Theme of Freedom on School Visits

Last week I visited Cavendish Primary School in Hull. After giving a performance to the whole school, I led poetry workshops on the theme of Freedom with foundation and year 1 classes before lunch, and with year 4 in the afternoon.

“Lots of lovely feedback from the classes you’ve been with today and we (foundation stage) wrote our own poem in the afternoon.” Karen Richardson, Cavendish School.

I also visited Thoresby Primary School, Hull, in May this year for the third consecutive year. Freedom was a theme we focussed on in 2015. Last year we covered Heroes, and this year we concentrated on one of Hull’s famous daughters, the boxer, Barbara Buttrick (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbara_Buttrick).

Lesson Ideas for Poetry Linked to Freedom

There are some ideas for a lesson using one of my poems below, and more ideas like this are available from the National Poetry Day website, http://nationalpoetryday.co.uk/education/. The suggestion below is intended to be a part of wider lessons and discussion about the definition of freedom and different ways to be free or not free.

Watch this video of my poem ‘Summer‘:

Read the poem aloud again after watching the video (full text below). Ask pupils questions like:

  • How does the poem make you feel?
  • How do you think the person speaking in the poem feels?
  • Have you ever felt this free?
  • What other things do you like doing that make you feel this free?
  • How does the poem sound different being read on the page and having the music and pictures?

Encourage the children to think about words and phrases. Write things they suggest on post-it notes or on the board.

When I work with younger children, we often compose a class poem, with a tune, but music isn’t necessary.

If you use this poem as a model, it doesn’t need to be about football. Your opening line could start with “You” or “We” or “I” and be about another subject.

For example:

  • “I’ve finished doing my homework, and now I’m going to…” or
  • “I’ve finished tidying my room, and now I’m going to…”

For older children, I give the option of working alone, or in a pair or (with the teacher’s approval!) in groups of 3 or 4, to write their own similar poem.

You could ask the students to look at the pattern of this poem, and look at which lines rhyme and which don’t. Also ask them to listen to the rhythm of the syllables.

I find it is also a good part of the lesson if finished poems are read out at the end, either the teacher reading them, or, better still, the writers.

I hope this all gives you some ideas. If you would like me to come along to your school for your own performance and poetry workshops, please contact me.

Summer by Bernard Young

You’ve finished playing football
You’re lying on the grass
Thinking about the goal you scored
Reliving that brilliant pass

Summer is the future
School is in the past
This is a perfect moment
If only it would last

Just you and your mates relaxing
In the heat after the game
Everyone’s a winner
You all feel the same

Summer is the future
School is in the past
This is a perfect moment
If only it could last

This poem is covered by copyright. You may use a copy of it in your class, but not reproduce it in any publication without prior permission. I’d love to see any poems inspired it.

It’s time to book a poet for National Poetry Day, 28 Sept 2017

It's not too early to book Bernard Young, poet, for National Poetry Day 28 September 2017

UK’s National Poetry Day is usually the first Thursday in October, but this year it has been brought forward by a week to 28th September 2017.

The theme this year is: FREEDOM

If you are lesson planning, there are a lot of free resources for teachers on the National Poetry Day Website, including lesson plans, tool kits and posters.

The change of week and the theme, Freedom, has been chosen because of working closely with the Hull City of Culture and the BBC this year. In 2015, I visited Thorseby Primary School, in Hull, for 3 days and they had Freedom as a theme then too. If you would like to read more about what we did over that period, I’ve written about it here.

If you’d like me to visit your school for poetry performance and workshops around National Poetry Day, please feel free to contact me.

National Poetry Day Theme Freedom 28 Sept 2017National Poetry Day 28 Sept 2017 Theme Freedom

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.

tweetstwilfreds

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!

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.

npd2016-12

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

A Reassuring Message – Free Teaching Resources for National Poetry Day

NPD2016-8

I hope all the teachers out there are having a lovely time still on holiday, sipping ice cold drinks, basking in the sunshine. But for those already thinking about returning back to school and lesson planning, there are some FREE LESSON PLANS and other resources for National Poetry Day on the NPD website.

Maybe a competition will provide some motivation. Here are some to look into:

npd2016-10

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 a poem of mine on that theme to give you some inspiration.

A Reassuring Message

Anything that’s broken
I will mend

Anything that needs to go
I will send

Anytime you call me
I shall attend

You can ask me anything
I am your friend

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.

National Poetry Day is the first Thursday in October. Book a Poet www.bernardyoung.co.uk