Posted by: Poems For Fun | January 13, 2016

Spring Term is Swinging!

Daylight is returning, spring bulbs are stirring, and poetry is in the air! It’s in the classrooms, too, and yesterday it was buzzing round the hall of Long Meadow Primary School in Milton Keynes, where able young poets from all around inspired me with their bright, fresh creativity. Well done to all, by the way!

Up and down the UK, schools are planning writing sessions with poets and authors to celebrate World Book Day, and in Wales, St David’s Day, as well as their own special book weeks, poetry terms and other exciting events. Writers can be found via online agencies, such as Authors Abroad, and from The Poetry Society’s list of recommended writers for schools, available on enquiry, or just down the grape vine from other schools, parents and friends. Every writer offers something a bit different from the rest, so take a look at their visit details as you browse.

My own workshops are theme-based, and this term I’m offering: Space, Dragons, Under the Sea, Spring (after half term), and Feelings (KS2 only).  We go straight into the theme with chat, pictures, sounds and gestures, building ideas for language, imagery and poem-crafting as we go, so that the writing stage falls naturally into place and pens flow with zest and confidence. I present a suggested starting point and format, with illustrated, open-ended frames available (at least for younger classes). As children write, I offer one-to-one spurs and reassurance  as needed, while encouraging individual expression and experimentation. Everyone reads out – or sings, if preferred, as sometimes happens – and performances can be developed with a focus on presentation, if required.

Children love poetry because it’s free and open, yet small and neat, and because you can play with it! Possibilities will spring up when you least expect, like spring itself after winter, and once you discover that magic, you can keep it in your pocket for life!

Kate 
Email: katewilliams.poetry@gmail.com

Posted by: Poems For Fun | December 23, 2015

Winter Lights poems by Yr 7/8 pupils

Here is a link to some fabulous poems produced by Year 7 and Year 8 pupils at Pencoed Comprehensive School, Bridgend, S. Wales, in my recent workshops there.

More to be displayed on the page soon. 

Congratulations to competition winners and runners-up, and to all the pupils who attended the sessions! Impossible decisions had to be made in limited time, on work produced in even more limited time! 

Happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year to all,

Kate

Posted by: Poems For Fun | October 27, 2015

Fireworks, winter lights & poetic explosions!

After a fascinating forage through the language of autumn leaves with young writers this month, I can’t wait to see what poetic treasures will emerge from my Fireworks and Winter Lights themes! In fact, I’ve already caught some thrilling glimpses through my latest workshops, where whirling leaves caught the light of lampposts and car lights, and spun into foggy skies like firework sparks. 

We delved into the theme of winter lights, and how they seem to turn our towns into other things, at Headington Prep School, Oxford, on National Poetry Day. You can see a selection of their poems from the day here. Year 7 writers at Ysgol Bro Edern, Cardiff, also set the air buzzing with their mind-stretching metaphors on the theme on the eve of half term – and would they stop writing at the end of that Friday afternoon? No, I’m afraid I had to nag them! Hoping to receive some of their poetic gems to display on my site soon.

Fireworks, like autumn leaves, are boundless in their poetic potential. What with their sounds, colours, movements, shapes and patterns, not to mention the starry void (or miserable downpour?) through which they fly and fade, or the merry crowds below, peering up through fog, smoke and darkness, there’s no shortage of inspirational starting points! Besides, children will have other starting points of their own, not touched on in that list. No mind is the same, as poetry demonstrates.

As for winter lights – well, they twist and meld with my firework theme, of course, and vice versa, but lights can be so many other things too: cats’ eyes – real and road-type, or the necklaces of streetlights above; stained glass windows, lit from within; the glint of a candle in a window; the glare of a search light in your face… But what do those glows and glints and glares represent? Just buildings and traffic? Anything but! And just how dark are the shadows, and how stark the winter trees in the moonlight? Don’t worry, though! We’ll be gazing at Christmas trees and fairy lights too, and celebrating the warm, cosy colours of Christmas.

Yes, November and December offer up creative possibilities galore, and I’ll be venturing through them with children aged 3 to 13 in schools across England and Wales. If you or your school are interested, please get in touch! 

Kate
Email: katewilliams.poetry@gmail.com
Tel. 01446 760124

Posted by: Poems For Fun | August 21, 2015

Autumn leaf poetry

One of my theme choices for this term is autumn leaves. I offer it every year. Here’s why. 

I never tire of autumn leaves, and the children I work with don’t seem to either, even after a double session! Their poems never fail to thrill me either. There is just so much to explore, dream and do with this theme! 

For a start, they represent the season, and the life-death-life cycle of nature, all in a nutshell. Even within an hour’s session we can see our freshly gathered leaf bundles change from crisp and bright to limp and dull. Their fragility can be felt in the palm of our hands and heard in the crunch of our shoes.  Then there’s the range of gorgeous colours to investigate – hues as exotic as mulberry, copper, flame and lime. Nor can we ignore their plethora of shapes and symmetries, and the wreckage of blotches, crumples and rips! They’ll take us down other routes again.

Their fall from the tree offers yet another fascinating talking-point, especially after we’ve been outside to watch them and sent some flying ourselves. How do they fall? In a spinning spiral? A meandering waltz?  Or do they soar upwards, in fact, and race away over the rooftops? Then where? How far can a fantasy leaf fly? Over an ocean, jungle, desert, galaxy? Or just into Mr Jones-next- door’s left trouser leg, hanging from the washing line? And what is a leaf, apart from a leaf? Is it a sky-diver, a wind-surfer, a warning of winter, a wand, acrobat, dancer, fish in a sea of autumn air? Or a sliver of gold? (Treasure-gold? Medal-, crown-, sunset-gold?)

And what does a leaf ride on? Just the murky, misty air? Or something else, unseen? A promise, hope, dream, or the turning world itself?

A leaf,
gold as treasure,
sailed for pleasure
on a billowing pillow of air…

Yes, there’s room for rhyme too!

But how does the abandoned, balding tree feel? Bereft? Or has it actually cast off its leaves as a Halloween trick and turned itself into a wizened old wizard in the process?

The creative potential of leaf poems is infinite. In my poetry sessions, we just fly with them for an hour or so, and see where they take us in that time.

Nor does the whirl of potential fizzle out there. When it comes to presentation, the theme opens more doors again. Their whispering, hushing, rushing sounds can be reflected in physical movements, sounds, song, or accompanying music, for instance; their sweeps and swerves can be portrayed through curved lines of text as well as pictures; their textures, through collage or ‘brass-rubbing’, and their colours through crayons, paints, inks, chalks, fabrics, mosaics – any colouring resource.  Words can be written on a leaf or round it, or one letter per leaf, forming a necklace, arch or cascade. As for the leaves themselves, they can be drawn from imagination, copied or traced, or printed perhaps.

But where can the finished works be presented? Round the classroom, down from the hall ceiling in a curtain of strips? (Put a fan behind them and they’ll quiver!) But don’t worry about all that. The children will have some ideas up their sleeves: they always do.

Kate

Posted by: Poems For Fun | July 26, 2015

Poetry frames available

Hello teachers,

This is to let you know that I’ve at last got all my 70 available poetry frames on display for browsing, and perhaps purchasing. You’ll find them on my overflow website, poems4pockets.com . The frames overflow, too, onto a second page.

About the poetry frames

I design and make my own poetry frames, so don’t expect a polished, professional look! But they have been tried and tested in primary schools across Wales and England with rewarding results, as confirmed by class teachers. Despite my wobbly illustrations and ruler use, they get kids enthused and busy, which is their aim. The designs are child-friendly, with illustrations and clear formats, some in idea-spurring shapes! Each one encourages one or more types of language or poetic technique, serving as springboards for more independent poetry writing. Some children rely on them to get them started, while others give them a glance and shoot off in their own direction, taking one or two of their elements. Either way, results have been stunning through the years. 

Further poetic techniques

When moving on to further aspects and types of poetry (such as metaphor, kenning, cinquain, rhyming couplet, limerick, recipe poem or haiku), I encourage independent writing, especially at key stage two, so you won’t find many sheets that cater for such developments.

You may like to add or delete the odd line to suit plans and pupils, or adapt the sheet to fit a different topic. I’m forever adapting my sheets to fit specific needs. That’s why I only have 70 to offer. The other 100+ are too messy!

Prices and ordering 

The A4, black and white, downloadable sheets are 25p each (min. payment 50p), with free guidance notes on a separate sheet. Needless to say, the watermark will be absent from your PDF copy!

I’m afraid I don’t have the computer skills to offer an automated ordering facility, but will email you your required sheets on receipt of payment, via PayPal or post, and, of course, your sheet order.

(PayPal payments should be to my email address: katewilliams.poetry@gmail.com, but you’ll find instructions on the page anyway.) To post payment, please contact me for my address.

Book illustrations to buy 

I’m also offering a selection of my illustrations from my first book, Swinging through the Sky, Poems for Children, in case useful to anyone. Details are on my overflow site again, ‘Book Illustrations’ page.

Any questions or comments? Please contact me at any time.
Email: katewilliams.poetry@gmail.com 
Tel. 01446 760124

Kate

Posted by: Poems For Fun | July 24, 2015

Autumn Term Topics

Looking ahead to next term…

I’m sure no teacher wants to be thinking of next term already, but this is just for mulling over, or anyone super-organised who’s booking ahead of the new year rush.

Unleashing creativity

My workshops will be available as ever next term, with topic choices as below. I offer a specific selection so that I can prepare thoroughly and effectively for each one,  with varying content to cater for all ages and stages from Nursery to Year 6. The topics I offer are open-ended ones that lend themselves to free expression and creativity, while also being subjects that children can relate to.

Topic choices for Autumn Term 2015:

Autumn Leaves ~ Windy Day ~ Town ~
Fireworks ~ Winter Lights.

Topics per day

Preferably no more than one topic per morning/afternoon, please, and ideally one per day. They tend to merge into each other anyway!

Any questions or suggestions, please get in touch!

Happy holidays!

Kate 

Email: katewilliams.poetry@gmail.com

Posted by: Poems For Fun | June 14, 2015

Poetry via Skype!


World-Wide-Web-Workshops!

laptop pic

I’m excited to announce that I’m launching a major extension to my workshop services – via Skype!  My online inputs, in association with agency Authors Abroad, will be available from the start of July.


Cost-effective simplicity!
 A screen session offers a flexible, budget-friendly alternative to an author visit, enabling schools to slot in a creative writing boost whenever and wherever they want it, without the all-day commitment, logistics and added in travel costs of an ‘actual’ visit. It won’t be the answer for all schools, nor for every time, but it’s an option rich with positives and potential.

Cost: £40 + reclaimable* VAT per 30-minute session.

Price includes downloadable follow-up materials.
Booking is through Authors Abroad (contact details below).
(*VAT is reclaimable except for certain independent schools.)

Workshop themes: I can offer a much wider variety for Skype sessions than for school visits, not having to lug associated junk along on journeys or round school buildings. Giving 30-min. inputs only, as opposed to overseeing the writing process as well, will allow me time between Skypes to switch mind and materials for the next, so pick and choose as you wish!

The list: Creepy Crawlies, Wild Woods, Jungle, Birds, Windy Day, Tempest, Seaside, Under the Sea, Sea Monsters, Dragons, Giants, Castles, Space, Sky, Town at Night, Busy Street, Autumn Leaves,  Christmas Colours, Spring Animals, Spring Colours, School Sounds.

Downloadable support resources:  I will email downloadable backup materials (poetry frames, support poem, song and action-rhyme wording, as relevant) the day before.Presentations: I also offer 30-minute interactive Skype talks on ‘Why I love writing poems’, including 5 min. Q&A time.

Maximum number of sessions per day: morning: 3; afternoon: 2.

Versatile uses: while unlocking imagination, stretching language skills, and firing enthusiasm for poetry-writing, an input can also serve in other ways, such as an end-of-term treat, a boost to a class topic, a link with the outside world, or just a change from ordinary lessons. For children, it offers an enjoyable and vibrant learning experience.

To discuss: please contact me (see below) or Shelley Lee at Authors Abroadshelley@caboodlebooks.co.uk .

To book: please email Shelley Lee at Authors Abroadshelley@caboodlebooks.co.uk .

Poetry frame examples 
are available on my other website: http://poems4pockets.blogspot.co.uk/, ‘Poetry Frames‘ page.

Any comments on this world-wide-web-workshop-way welcome!

Kate
Tel. 01446 760124
Email: katewilliams.poetry@gmail.com 

Posted by: Poems For Fun | May 27, 2015

Language fun

Every child, it seems to me, has least a wisp of poetry inside them – I would maintain far more. In fact, in some ways children can seem more poetic than adults, because they express themselves so naturally, vibrantly and musically. I suppose it comes of being fresh, clear-headed, fired-up about life, and free from the restraints and distractions that come with the years. 

But to express themselves most effectively through poetry, children need to be equipped with some writing tools, such as a reasonable breadth of vocabulary, some dexterity with the words they know, and an inkling of how words can be swapped about, twisted, built on, lined up and presented to take their ideas even further and make their poems ring. 

Such skills will be assets for literacy in general, of course, and for life in general too, so the more opportunities they have to develop them, the better.

So I’ve started posting ideas for simple language games, idea-sparkers and poetry writing approaches on my other website, poems4pockets.blogspot.co.uk . I’ve also listed my poetry frames there, with a few examples, available to order, purchase and receive online.

Some of my poetry-writing suggestions involve creepy-crawlies, which is also one of my workshop themes this term – a fascinating subject to explore!

Kate

Posted by: Poems For Fun | May 14, 2015

Summer themes

Hello schools!

My summer term themes are seasonal, fun and, as ever, open-ended. I’m offering a choice of three topics, though they tend to overlap and stray off who knows where as ideas fly and imagery sets the room alight. 

My 3 loose themes are:

Seaside
Insect World
Summer Woods and their Wildlife

Seaside can lead into Tempest, Under the Sea or Sea Monsters for junior classes, as required at booking stage.

I find Seaside the most effective theme for infant classes. 

What’s involved? 

Seaside – and beyond: We celebrate the lights and sounds, movements and mysteries of the sea, the fun and feel of the sand, the joys of jumping frilly waves, and the vastness and power of the open sea.

Insect World: We celebrate the delicacy and grace of insects and their myriad ways of moving through sky and over land, not forgetting, though, their colourful array of characters, and the menace of some, too; we follow their weaving, whizzing or floating roamings through their summery settings, whatever they may be, perhaps even drifting into fantasy land!

Summer Woods and their Wildlife: We celebrate the lush beauty of summer woods – or trees in parks or other green spaces – and the deep, cool shadows beneath; we watch for playful squirrels and snooping foxes, sparkling sunbeams and milky moonlight, whispering leaves and squelchy puddles, but who knows where our wanderings will lead us? or we may. In fact, each child will make his or her own personal venture, as with every theme. That’s the delight of a poetry workshop – we build and share together, but each child will branch off in their own individual way and make their own discoveries – and creations.

What sort of poetry?

We explore for vivid, expressive words and imagery, turning descriptions into similes, and similes into metaphors, and sometimes shrinking the whole poem into a tiny, 17-syllable haiku. We experiment with alliteration and bring ideas to life with onomatopoeia; when time, we investigate rhyme possibilities, and how to juggle language and swap in alternative words to find the best rhyme for the role. In longer sessions, we may stretch ideas into recipe poems, or jiggle them into riddles, or shape them into pictures, or turn them into mini-performances, with actions and sound effects. No two sessions are the same!

Further details available on my Workshops page, or just ring or email me any time to discuss or make a booking.

Kate

Email: katewilliams.poetry@gmail.com
Tel. 01446 760124
Vale of Glamorgan, S. Wales.

Posted by: Poems For Fun | April 21, 2015

Opening windows for all

Some children gaze at the little pictures I put up at the start of a workshop. Others go more for the class chat and story-sharing. It might be the most restless child in the group who sits the stillest as I read out my poem. Often, it’s the quietest kid who gives the loudest roar, or does the fastest gallop, when we act out our theme. As for the singing, I can never guess, as I reach for my ukulele, which children will sing and swing with the most tangible enthusiasm, and who will be too spell-bound by the music to join in at all.

If anyone’s bored by any stage of the introductory input, well, none of them last long, so there’ll be something to appeal in a minute or two. 

But as for the poetry-writing that follows, I’m forever amazed at children’s zest for it! And quite right too! There’s nothing like good old pencil-and-paper for self expression of the most refined, personal and versatile sort! No matter the hurdles of letter-forming, word-spelling, phrase-forming, or even of catching and pinning down the wonderful words that were whirling around our input session just now!  Once children are fired up to write, nothing seems to put them off.

Some will reproduce the rhythm of our word-building song, or invent a new one of their own – and even a new tune perhaps! Others will be more absorbed by the language-delving opportunities, or by the fun and games of whichever poetic techniques we’re looking at. Some will write within my poetry frame, using it as a secure base for trying out new words and images; others will use the sheet as a springboard for quite a different sort of poem, perhaps one that popped into their head as they sat down to write.  Often children will work in rhymes, entirely unprompted – on purpose? Sometimes, but more often instinctively. ‘Rhyme?’ they’ll echo, mystified, ‘Oh, yes!’ Aren’t children amazing!

True, there are always one or two who need a little nudge, but there’s always a good reason: they have too many ideas in their head and want to write them all down at once – that’s a common one; or they think their writing has to be perfect and they’ve already made a mistake; or they think their poem has to rhyme.

More often than not, when someone is stuck, the cause turns out to be incredibly basic: a broken pencil tip, a ripped sheet, a wobbly chair, sunshine in eyes, funny little insect wandering across table that deserves study… Once these matters have been addressed, off they’ll shoot with the rest of the class!

And the results are always heart-warming in their fresh, natural expressiveness. I’m fascinated, every time, by the innate sense of poetry that children reveal! Where does it come from? I often wonder as I think back over all those marvellous contributions on the journey home.

I’m taking bookings now for summer workshops, with loosely seasonal themes such as Sea, Insects and Summer Woods. For details, please see my Workshops page, or contact me to discuss.

Kate

Tel. 01446 760124
Email: katewilliams.poetry@gmail.com

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