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.
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).
Aldbrough 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!
Two great days at Hollin Primary School this week. Thanks everyone. Nicely captured in the twittersphere:
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.
I was thrilled to be invited back to spend 3 days in Thoresby Primary School last week. It is the second time I have been part of their Kaleidoscope festival. Once again pupils and staff gave a hundred percent and we produced class poems about Marie Curie, Emmeline Pankhurst, Fairtrade, India… and all sorts of heroes.
During this fortnight of exciting activities, the aim is to promote cultural awareness and confront equal opportunities issues in a positive way with a ‘celebration of diversity’. This year’s theme was heroes and people who have made a difference. Thoresby are prolific on social media, so I am including a few of their many tweets to give a flavour of the work produced.
I also spent a day in Stepney Primary School. The teacher who booked me remembered me doing a performance of my poem Orange Socks in a previous school. It is several years since I performed there last. I received a very warm welcome. I gave a performance to the whole school and then led workshops for KS2. They are taking part in a poetry slam shortly, and these workshops were to help get them started. I am sure they will do well. Break a leg!
Thanks again to both schools for a great time and such creative energy.
It’s a busy time for a poet this time of year, and for schools, what with dressing up and doing lots of reading and great creative writing.
The poem in the photo (inspired by my I Like What I Like – see video below) was written with Nursery Children at Audenshaw Primary School, Manchester as a class effort. We performed it at the end of the day to the rest of the school. I was there to celebrate World Book Day 2016 and worked with every age group. A wide variety of excellent poems were written and performed. I had a great time, so thanks to all the staff and pupils for working so hard and for making me very welcome.
In all I visited seven schools just before and during World Book Day Week. Thank you to Abingdon Primary School (Stockport), Gorton Mount Primary Academy (Manchester) who have a fantastic steel band who played for me, Old Hall Drive Primary Academy (Manchester), Alexandra Park Primary (Stockport), Broadfield Primary (Oldham), and (last but not least) Silverdale Primary Academy (Newcastle-under-Lyme).
Thanks also to Authors Aloud who organised a couple of the bookings.
I like playing in the park
I like tig and hide and seek
I like swimming and paddling
I like what I like I do
I like ice cream and Mexico
I like Sealife and Lego
Let’s say hello to our Leo
We like what we like we do
I like flowers and rainbows
I like hopscotch and videos
I like porridge it fills me up
I like what I like I do
I really thought I was going to be late. At 9.15 a.m I was due to perform to KS2 at Manor Green Primary Academy and my 4 mile journey ended up taking 45 minutes to complete. But I did make it with a few minutes to spare and was, after signing in, immediately presented with a cuppa. A good start.
Obviously I performed Traffic Jam as well as Explode, Brilliant, Orange Socks, Lollipop Lady (plus many more poems) before finishing off with a lively rendition of Ref Rap. Thanks (pupils and staff) for listening so well and for the enthusiastic participation.
The rest of the day was spent leading hour long workshops in the hall (two classes at a time) with children working on their own, in pairs or larger groups. They worked well and within that hour I shared writing ideas, they wrote and we ended each session by listening to many of their new poems. A massive amount of poetry was composed that day.
Thanks to all at Manor Green for being so enthusiastic. I enjoyed my time with you and hope to see you again. Perhaps KS1 next time?
I spent a great morning with a fantastic Year 6 class and their poetry loving teacher. I performed some of my poems and then got them writing. We kept to the National Poetry Day theme of ‘Light’ (which complemented the work they’d been doing in science).
As their teacher regularly gets them writing poetry I found they needed very little stimulus. I began with a short exercise based on the senses (e.g. If you could taste light what would it taste of? If you could hear it and it spoke to you what would it say? One answer was I’m faster than you!).
I then gave them a few writing options and suggestions to trigger their poems.
Light Bulb Moment – If you had a bright idea what would it be? What might you invent?
Trick Of The Light – I thought it was a…..(table?, tree? )
But it was a….(dog?, ghost?)
Lights Out – When the light goes
What lurks in the shadows?
Before lunch we managed to hear their new poems and fitted in a Q/A session where they asked me about writing and my life as a poet. A very satisfying morning. Thank you Tithe Barn for such a warm welcome. I left feeling quite light-hearted.
UK’s National Poetry Day, the annual mass celebration of poetry and all things poetical, will mark its 21st birthday on Thursday 8 October 2015.
This year’s theme is LIGHT. Lesson plans and resources can be found on the National Poetry Day website here: http://www.forwardartsfoundation.org/national-poetry-day/resources/lesson-plans/
Here is one from me on that theme.
Light Bulb Moment
it’s a moment
alive with electricity
in your brain
What a hub of enthusiasm and creativity I walked into when I entered Thoresby Primary School, last week. It was great to be back in Hull and I spent three rewarding days in the school as part of their Kaleidoscope festival. This resulted in lots of new poems being written on the theme of Freedom, as well as poems about koalas, kangaroos, pandas (and a variety of other animals) and poems triggered by inspirational quotes from Nelson Mandela, Gandhi and Martin Luther King.
We also composed several class poems to my guitar accompaniment, and a Year 6 class performed theirs outdoors on my last day to an audience of parents and children.
So thank you to all the children and staff for such a warm welcome and for three exciting days (and three fine lunches!). I enjoyed my time in all the classrooms (and in the staff room). There’s already been talk of me returning to work there again, so I’ll be more than happy to do that if the call comes.