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.
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’!
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
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?
Aldbrough Primary School
These colourful characters are the staff at Aldbrough Primary School (East Yorkshire). I was there to help them celebrate World Book Day. It was a lot of fun. The children were all dressed up too and I enjoyed performing for them and helping them write their own poems. A selection of their superb work was shared at the end of the day. It was well worth the early start and the long drive.
“We were very happy to have secured a booking with Bernard for World Book Day 2015. The children (and staff) enjoyed Bernard’s poems, especially the ones they could join in with. They were all clearly inspired by Bernard’s poetry and produced some excellent poems of their own which they shared with the whole school in lots of different ways at the end of the day.” K. Jessop, Assistant Headteacher, Aldbrough Primary School.
I was in schools the whole week. I spent two days in Acacias Community Primary (Burnage, Manchester) performing and leading workshops. I also led two after school sessions there, where children and their parents wrote poems together. I spent a day in Whitegate End Primary (Chadderton) and finished off the week with a visit to St Brigid’s RC Primary (Manchester).
So I’d like to say a big thank you to all the schools who booked me and made me so welcome and a big sorry that I had no other dates available that week for the many schools who wanted to book me. But, as I’ve said before, a poet is not just for World Book Day Week. I’d be more than happy to visit your school any time. If you’d like to know more please do get in touch.
Bernard on the timetable
On Monday I was happy to be visiting St Wilfred’s CE Primary School only 3 miles from where I live in Manchester. The day began in the hall where I gave a performance of poetry and music (great joining in from everyone) to the whole school. After that I joined Year 1 in their classroom where I played them ‘I Like What I Like.’ We then composed a version based on their likes and performed it together.
By the end of the day I’d spent time with every class in the school (EYFS through to Year 6). Loads of new poems got written – class poems, individual poems, poems written with a partner or in small groups (there was a class poem by Year 3 about a big golden bird – not sure where that came from! – which was performed to my guitar accompaniment).
Thanks to all at St Wilfrid’s for the fun and enthusiasm and for a well organised day that whizzed by. Hope to see you all again sometime.
5th October is World Teachers’ Day. Here’s a poem for all the teachers out there.
Every Night Mr Miller Dreams
Every night Mr Miller dreams
of the day he will retire.
There’ll be a small party
in the staff room
during the lunch hour
and at final assembly
he’ll receive a major gift
from the whole school
from individual pupils
who will be heartbroken
to see him leave.
Children, past and present
(some now grown up)
will file past to thank him
for being so inspirational
– for changing their lives.
In the evening
a large group of colleagues and friends
will take him out for drinks
and a meal.
There will be speeches
charting his impressive career
and praising his achievements.
He can’t wait.
Day two. Week one. First job.
A long way to go.
Every night Mr Miller dreams.
You know it’s going to be a good day when a member of staff arrives just after you with a homemade cake. And it was good. The day and the cake.
Thanks to everyone at Airy Hill CP School, Whitby, for giving me such a warm welcome on Thursday and for contributing to a very rewarding and creative day. I started off by performing to the whole school and then worked with Yr1 and Yr2 where we did class poems. Each class did their own version of my poem “I Like What I Like“. I visited all classes during the day and we gathered in the hall to hear a selection of new poems before school ended.
The poem photographed below, based on “Stig of the Dump“, was written by Year 4/5W, their teacher and myself. I played some music on guitar and said I needed some words to go with it, and this is what they came up with:
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.