I visited this school on Thursday the 11th of October and met children from several schools, including the host school Westgate. We talked about books and stories, Greek myths, Beowulf, King Arthur, Merlin and a hundred other things. We planned and wrote a story that had a beginning, a middle with a dilemma and an ending that resolved that dilemma, although we didn’t plan the story in that order. The children wrote very very very good stories and understood how to enrich their work with connectives and adding action.We talked a LOT about the Little Gingerbread Man and how arrogant he was, a tale ending (like Macbeth) in tragedy although Macbeth wasn’t eaten by a fox. The host school was excellent and I was looked after SO well and with such hospitality, as were the pupils and grown ups from the visiting schools. One of the adults, Rahit, was the dad of Hema and Hita and Tom’s mum was there too, so they sent me this photo between them all to celebrate the day. They are pupils at Saxilby C of E Primary school in Lincoln. Thanks to you all, the children and the grown ups worked so hard and it really was a great day.
This great school is in the Wirral on Merseyside and I was able to stay with our friends John and Norma the night before. We meet them every summer at a fantastic campsite in France called Bel Ombrage and it was a bit strange not to see them wearing shorts and T shirts! But this was the Wirral in October and on the 9th I started the day performing poems to the whole school. Then I worked all day with the KS2 pupils. John is the vice-chair of Governors there and went to the school when he was a boy, so he has a long and valuable link to the school and its community. I had a great day, performing poems, laughing a lot and helping the pupils make their own poems. They all seemed to enjoy the day as much as I did, so I drove back over the M62 in a very good mood!
On Thursday the 4th and Friday 5th of October I went to just outside Scunthorpe to meet the people who run the YHGfL operation. This boils down to me sitting in front of a camera and reading my poems to kids in their schools on a video link. The children were in front of their interactive whiteboards and they could see and hear me and I could see and hear them. What was really funny was when my friend Andrew who runs this part of the operation, switched on the link before the people in the classroom knew!! So we could see and hear them and they didn’t realise! Tee hee hee!!!!!!!!!! Anyway, I read some poems and the children asked me loads of very good questions. Here are the schools I visited by the magic of broadband.
Normanton All Saints , Fairburn Community Primary (who had Burton Salmon Primary with them), St John’s CofE in Wakefield, Oyster Park Primary School in Wakefield, Grange Lane Junior School in North Lincs, Kinsley J and ! School in Wakefield, England Lane school in Wakefield, New Pasture Lane in the East Riding and Upton Primary School in Wakefield.
It really was a bit strange to start with, and sometimes the picture quality went all weird so that the classrooms and the people in them looked like they were swimming around at the bottom of a very blurred pond, but most of the time it was fine. Certainly the schools seemed to like what we did and several teachers have emailed me to say that they and the children really enjoyed the time we spent together. I know I did, although some of the questions were hard.
I visited this lovely school on the 1st of October. We drove down to see Adrian and Susie in Epsom, (that’s my brother-in-law and his wife) not to mention my little nephews Freddie and Monty on Sunday and whilst they all celebrated Adrian’s birthday the next day, I caught a train to Clapham Junction and found the school behind some very imposing purple gates. I worked with every year group in the school from Nursery to prep 6 and I was really looked after very well. We had a great day, despite the horrid, rainy, nasty weather which meant that nobody could go outside at break time and all that sort of thing. The school has a really excellent reputation which is not at all surprising as the standard of the work achieved by the children was very high. The grown-ups could not have been friendlier and I was able to meet some of the parents at the end of the day when I signed some books. A really great day in a very good school, just opposite Clapham Common, so lots of greenery and open spaces to enjoy. Except it was raining.
On Friday 28th of September I visited this absolutely wonderful school and read my poems to all the children and adults, before working with several classes on making poems.Those sessions were great and the children concerned made some really exciting poems. I left them with other poetry work to have a go at after my visit had finished and I am sure they wrote really excellent material. I was also able to meet the Y5 and Y6 pupils and together we did a really long and very detailed drama session in which we made up a story and worked out some endings. It was work based on the Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf, a dark and dreadful story of cruel monsters and the bravery of the communities who faced up to them. After my visit the children were going to write stories based on the work we did. Now, although Drama is fun and very absorbing, it isn’t easy to concentrate for that length of time. A lot of the work we did was new to the children and although we had a great time, everybody had to work hard and join in. So many children made so many terrific contributions it is hard to praise them enough. This session was one of the best Drama experiences I have known in a school. Thank you! I met some really great adults too. and they sent a couple of photos of me reading to the whole school.
In early September i was on the road again, this time to Blackburn in Lancashire. I had visited this school before a few years ago but now I found myself outside a magnificent new building, with fantastic glass walls and amazing new facilities. They even had a football pitch on the roof!!!!!! They had high fences and a roof and everything so nobody could fall off, but really…………football on the roof!! Wow! I had a great day at St.Silas, starting with a performance of my poems and then working throughout the school making poems with different year groups. I was able to read some new poems because Paul Cookson and I have a NEW BOOK out soon from Macmillans Children’s Books. It will be called It Came From Outer Space, so we have both been writing loads of UFO and Outer Space poems. Great!
Visits To Northamptonshire
On the 17th of July and on the 24th of July i went down to Northamptonshire to work in some schools for the Library Service. The first school I visited was Exeter Primary School which was confusing as I always thought Exeter was in Devon, anyway we had a good time, performing poems and talking about writing. During the second day I visited the libraries at Oundle and Thrapston and met some great people who really seemed to enjoy the poems a lot. Here are a couple of photos of that day. The first one is at Oundle the second at Thrapston.