Posted by: Poems For Fun | August 21, 2015

Autumn leaf poetry

One of my theme choices for this coming 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, the year-end leaves 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 consider, with 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 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? (From what, though?) 

What does a leaf ride on? Just the murky, misty air? Or something else unseen, like a promise, or hope, or the turning world, or something else? (A leaf, gold as treasure, sailed for pleasure, on a billowing pillow of air… There’s room for rhyme too!)

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’ll just fly with them for an hour or so, and see where they take us in that time.

Autumn leaf poems lend themselves to artistic display and performance. Their whispering, hushing, rushing sounds can be reflected in physical movement or accompanying music; their sweeps and swerves can be portrayed through shapes and pictures, while their colours, shapes and textures can be caught in artwork, through crayon, paint or ‘brass-rubbing’, for instance. 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

Posted by: Poems For Fun | April 13, 2015

Summer creativity!

Welcome to the summer term, teachers – a term to be governed by who knows which political party?!

Let’s just hope, whichever party it be, they allow a little chink in the curriculum for creativity at last! Let’s hope they stop to see, as you teachers do, that there’s more to education than SATS results: in particular, that children have the most amazing, over-brimming imaginations, coupled with a stunning potential for creativity that deserves to be tapped, nurtured, stretched and launched! Somehow, you insightful and determined teachers manage to squeeze in opportunities for this between the slots and tick-boxes and targets – but how, I just don’t know!

So let’s pray that whoever governs after May 7th grants you some space and freedom to teach and nurture as you see fit!

On top of these wild hopes, I have an the even wilder one about school budgets… or are thin air and magic wands to be relied on yet again?

I’m crossing fingers for a bit of summer sunshine for schools after the election, especially on the creativity-tapping front! 

Meanwhile, my poetry workshops are available as ever to help where I can, with prices reduced where possible to help in that way too. Details (including latest rates) can be found on my Workshops page.

All the best,

Kate

Email: katewilliams.poetry@gmail.com
Tel. 01446 760124
Twitter @katypoet
Home: S. Wales
Area of travel: south and mid Wales, southern and central England, London, Manchester and Sheffield.

Posted by: Poems For Fun | April 6, 2015

Warm Weather Workshops

Open windows, blue sky and fresh, fragrant air! What could be more conducive to creative writing? I can’t wait for my summer term poetry workshops to begin, and the doors to open – in all ways!

Whether we’re imagining ourselves at sparkly, splashy seasides, or up in the calm, clear sky with the butterflies and birds, or down in the lush, flowery grass with the ladybirds, summer will be there to lift and spur us – yes, even on the dull days there’ll be whiffs and flickers, hums and flits, and with any luck a dry spell for popping outside.

I’m very aware of the ever-tightening budgets schools are having to juggle with, and have reduced my rates further, where possible, to help where I can. To clarify, I’ve set out my latest rates, county by county, on my Workshops page (scroll down beyond 4th image), and will confirm these again in my summer term e-flyer. 

I shall not be offering topic choices this term, but will ensure a summery focus, with abundant scope for creative fun and adventure at required age and ability levels.

Any questions?  Wish to make a booking? Please get in touch!

Kate

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

Posted by: Poems For Fun | March 18, 2015

Summer bookings…

Yes, it’s already time to be looking ahead to next term, and planning a poetry day, perhaps! 

True, the children all wrote poems for World Book Day, or perhaps for another recent event. But creative writing is a complex, multi-faceted skill that takes years of practice and experience to develop. Poetry alone offers limitless potential for self expression! There’s always another way to write a poem, and another way to look at a subject. So the more opportunities to delve in and try out different approaches, the better, of course! 

Poetry might not serve an obvious purpose in life, yet it can help and enhance our lives in countless ways. If a child is confident about crafting a verse, he’ll probably feel confident about writing a letter later in life, or debating a point or raising a question or applying for a job, all of which he’ll probably need to do at some point. If he can summon the language he needs, and arrange it effectively for his purpose, he’ll be off to a great start, and every classroom poem will help him on his way. But, of course, poetry is for more than that: as with all art forms, it’s for enjoyment, or self fulfillment, or whatever he might want to call it. So again, the wider we can open the door for him, the better! (I’m using ‘he’ and ‘him’ for convenience here.)

One of the wonders I witness in a workshop is seeing the less confident writers get scribbling without even seeming to quite notice they’re doing so – and then not wanting to stop! It’s that sort of subject: it sounds so dull yet offers so much!  A step can turn into a leap, and a leap into an adventure, all in a flash.

So, I’ll be running poetry workshops for Nursery to Year 8, as ever, next term, in Wales, the Midlands, the South West and London, for any schools, nurseries, referral units or libraries that may be interested.

(Please note, I do not recommend my workshops for special schools, apart from referral units for children in mainstream education.)

Details of my workshops, including content, pictures and feedback, can be found here.

Happy spring!

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

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