Lesson Planning For Next Term? Inviting A Performance Poet To Your School?

Bernard Young in a school arms in air

A poet in your school? Why not? The right poet (I mean me! but there are lots of us) can offer an exciting start to your school day (I include guitar and just enough joining in during my morning assembly performances). The children head off to classes with loads of writing ideas already in their heads and I then work with all ages throughout the day.


Teachers tell me that having an enthusiastic practitioner of the art in the classroom has a tremendous effect on them and the children. Together (teachers, children, poet) we produce fantastic new poems and usually share them before home time. After that we all go home (apart from the teachers who have yet another after-school meeting to attend).

For some ideas for bringing poetry in to the class room see my collection of blog posts on the subject – classroom ideas. Another way is to have a look at some of my videos on YouTube. They can be used for a sing along break during the day, or as a springboard for other poems using the same patterns. If you want to discuss what I could do in your school and what it will cost, please contact me.

Remember UK National Poetry Day is Thurs 2 October 2014

NPD_logo_colour_landscapeUK National Poetry Day is a nationwide celebration of poetry that has been held on the first Thursday in October since 1994. The next National Poetry Day is Thursday 2nd October 2014. Every year the organisers suggest a theme to inspire events and contributions, and this year’s is Remember. Share your poems for the event via Twitter and Facebook with the hashtag #nationalpoetryday or post them on the National Poetry Day Facebook page and follow the Twitter account to see what other people are doing. For more information about the day see the National Poetry Day Website.

Naturally this is a busy day for performance poets who work in schools, so it is worth booking early to avoid disappointment, and also having some flexibility around the day, perhaps having a poetry inspired week. If you would like me to visit your school, please contact me. This post will give you an idea of what a day in your school could be like.

Here’s one of mine on the Remember theme:

School Report

We never could remember
how to spell diarrhoea.
It was easier to invoke
a chill or an upset stomach
than to search for a dictionary.
But it didn’t matter
what my mother wrote
as long as her note
excused me from football
or rugby or cross-country.

Finally I openly rebelled
and raised a two-finger V
in time to be recorded for posterity
on the annual school photograph:
a brief yet permanent moment
of glory and defiance;
it went unnoticed for months
and prints were sold.
When parents eventually complained
I was caned and, unceremoniously, expelled.

This poem has previously appeared on blipfoto.


Time to Wrap up and Rap

Cat wrapped in a blanket
Image Copyright Karen Cropper
Since the season of cold weather is upon us, here’s a poem for you to rap as you go about your business. Might warm you up. Particularly if you perform a little dance at the same time.

Wrap Up Rap

When the wind is blowing
And snow is on the way
Get your woolly hat on
Wrap up warm today

And sing the wrap up
Sing the wrap up
Sing the wrap up rap

Find a scarf and good thick gloves
Don’t forget your coat
Be prepared for the attack
When Jack Frost grabs your throat

And sing the wrap up
Sing the wrap up
Sing the wrap up rap

Here comes thunder
Here comes hail
Hear the thunder
Dodge the hail

And sing the wrap up
Sing the wrap up
Sing the wrap up rap

Hat for head
Socks for toes
In your scarf
Bury your nose

And sing the wrap up
Sing the wrap up
Sing that wrap up rap

Bernard Young is an experienced performance poet who is available for workshops in schools, particularly primary age. He is based in Manchester, but will travel further afield. Over the years he has also worked successfully in partnership with Road Safety officers, combining the road safety message with creative writing. For more info, see the Contact page.