Posted by: Poems For Fun | January 13, 2021

Making Vid-Link Writing Exciting

How on earth can you get kids to write quality poetry via a video link?

 

 

 


I’m talking about anxious 5- and 6-year-olds, often stuck on the simplest word and unnerved by the unfamiliar term ‘poem’; fidgety 7 and 8-year-olds bursting with energy, and the super-mature at the top end of primary, in sight of their teens and with far more important matters to focus on than poetry.

How can you get any of these youngsters involved via a rectangular window on a metal box on their kitchen table, amid the breakfast remains and the yapping puppy and the screaming baby and Mum on the phone to her boss and the kettle boiling and the rain pouring down outside?

 

 

 

Answer: pretty easily, actually, I’ve found. You just need a few ingredients, thrown in briskly, one at a time, and whisked up together. But ingredients must include these
5 staples:

Pacethe moment your audience have grasped point a, move on to point b. If anyone’s looking vague, give them a step up, but keep the session moving, or the distractions around them at home could win out.

Fun
you don’t need to act the clown or think up any tricks. If there’s a dash of humour to be had, grab it, and ditto with goose-bumping jitters or mind-bending wonder, but otherwise, variety of activity and a relaxed atmosphere will be enough to generate fun – even online.

Clarity clear, manageable steps that make sense to everyone. If anyone’s unsure about something, they’ll find it harder to get that across to you online, and you’ll find it harder to pick up, too, so extra care is needed to ensure everyone ‘gets’ each point and instruction.

 

 

 

 

 

Interaction quick-fire questions with swift responses from you will involve the maximum possible children to the maximum degree, while keeping up the pace. Comments to the whole class also help individual participants to feel involved and motivated.

Positivity For many children, it’s all too easy to lose confidence, even in an ideal classroom setting, but when you’re stuck at home, away from all that’s familiar about school and feeling the chilly side of ‘remote’, it can be even harder to stay positive and keep trying. So encourage, praise and celebrate as much as possible, both group-wise and individually. I try never to say ‘no’ anyway, but I’m all the more careful to avoid that response online.

10 MORE INGREDIENTS

Other ingredients can vary, depending what you have available, and what ideas and aims you may have up your sleeve, of course.
Here’s the 10-point list I aim for:

 

 

 

1) A familiar, open-ended topic – e.g. space, seaside, dragons, jungle, colours, castles, moods.

2) ‘Tell me’ challenge –
let them teach you – briefly. Pick 4 or 5 volunteers to tell you something they know or have experienced, relevant to the topic, while you control the steering wheel and brakes.


3) Pictures –
e.g. print-outs from free photo sites, or your own sketches perhaps, to hold up briefly in front of the screen. Avoid putting the onus on your students to access your pictures electronically: even if they can cope with such a process, it would kill the pace and immediacy of impact. Relevant physical items will also go a long way to bringing your virtual session alive for your remote students. (Picture shows my sofa, dressed up as a spring scene!)

4) Acting – for them and you too! Adjust your screen angle and your own position for whole-body view. It’s a great way to break ice, melt screens, and get under the lid of your topic. Acting out also gives children a chance to stretch, burn off energy, and get the circulation going.

 

 

 

5) Singing – yes, group singing online can work – enough for this session anyway. Ideally, spice up the activity with some sort of musical or percussion instrument (I use a ukulele, on which I can play 3 chords(!) or a home-made shaker). Take any line or two from poetic contributions generated so far and set them to any simple tune, familiar or made-up on the spot. Clap the rhythm, chant together, and invite variations. E.g.The sea is teal as a peacock’s tail, oh, yes, it is!’ Then swap in volunteered ideas for the simile. KS1 children will enjoy adding in actions for the different variations too, with your guidance.



 

 

6) Vocab challenge – poetry requires apt vocabulary, and choices too. Delving for appropriate words and images also clarifies and expands ideas, and helps writers to express them effectively. On Space, you might ask: ‘Is space big, or more than big?’ [Elicit words like huge, vast, enormous..] Then refine and shift your questions, inviting imagery too: ‘How huge? More enormous than what?’ Never mind that your pupils are lined up in on-screen boxes, and geographically miles apart – quick-fire throw and catch can still work, and will spark up the session wonderfully.

7) Comedy – best thrown in casually, with a straight face and level tone (I find). E.g. of space: ‘So can you get fish and chips up there?… No? But perhaps the planets are edible, are they?… And what do the aliens use for toothpaste?…’ Of a jungle – ‘Is it okay for me to sit down and have my picnic?’ (Bearing in mind greedy monkeys, tramping elephants, cheeky parrots, soggy swamps.) Let them tell you – through their giggles and dramatic impersonations.

8) Poetic trick – demonstrate a poetic technique, e.g. simile, alliteration, onomatopoeia or rhyme. Then try together. Incorporate this teaching point into your subsequent writing requirement, empowering your budding poets to use the device themselves. This take-away prize – and signal of achievement – will tempt them back to the screen for your next session.

9) 30-second demo – read out a short example poem, or a couple of verses from it.

10) Amaze me! – writing challenge (KS2) –
give children a few minutes to jot down words, lines and verses for their follow-on poem. For this stage (or perhaps several stages, to include warm-up and development), scrap paper will do, or for younger – writing frame sheets, pre-typed and illustrated and emailed through for printing out by supervising adults. Some may prefer to type online. Time all writing activities carefully, ensuring they’re not too long for anyone. Then invite them to hold up and/or read out from their work, and be generous with your praise and applause.



 

 

 

Er… did someone say poetry was boring, back at the start? No? Sure? I must have imagined it.

Follow-on: children can now write their poems, with help as needed. Ask attending adults (beforehand, with reminder after) to supervise this activity as applicable. If students have completed the whole poem in the session, suggest they do something else with it, like into a picture. This could be done by decorating or illustrating, for instance, or by re-writing it as a shape poem, or by selecting lines to insert into artwork, perhaps as a collage.

And finally – beg copies of finished creations for your own pleasure – teachers need treats too!
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Feedback:

“The pupils enjoyed every bit of it.”
Nanaksar Primary School, London, December. Year 6 classes, including a 30-strong class of home-learners.

“Thank you very much for the workshop which the children really enjoyed…They produced some fantastic work.

Torkington Primary School, Stockport, November. KS1.

“Thank you, the children really loved it.”
Chorlton Park Primary school, Manchester, October. KS2.

______________________________________________________________

BOOKING A WORKSHOP –
Details, including prices, on Virtual Workshops page.

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Worksheets and other lit. resources, most designed originally for my workshops:
KidsLitFun.
See Collections for different topics.

Example preview photos – click to view:
Stormy Sea, KS2
Cloud Writing, KS1 (harder)
Planet Simile Writing, KS2
Treasure Map Alliteration Fun, Y2 upwards
Butterfly Writing & Colouring Sheet, KS1
Butterfly haiku, upper KS2
Dragon Writing, Yrs 2-3

And lots more!

Kate
Email: katewilliams.poetry@gmail.com

 

Posted by: Poems For Fun | January 11, 2021

Snow Writing +

Snow Writing (Y1-2 approx.) is my latest addition to the new KidLitFun catalogue.
Details + download (80p via PayPal).
Photo preview:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lots more too! Click here for whole catalogue.
See Collections for topic groupings.

 

Posted by: Poems For Fun | January 7, 2021

KidLitFun Resources!

KidLitFun creative writing frames and more, here.

 

 

 

 

 

Fun, exciting, meaningful writing and colouring sheets on assorted topics, for Early Years to Year 6!

Rewardingly tried and tested in classrooms.

New – This is a brand new catalogue of my own, having previously contributed to other resources sites for several years. Please bear with me while I build it, and check back to see the collection grow!

Topics included so far: Dragons, Animals, Space. See ‘Collections’, e.g. Dragons.

Content so far – You’ll find colouring sheets, simple writing and colouring frames, more advanced writing sheets, and guidance for specific poetic styles, such as haiku, acrostics and similes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lots more to come!

Prices: Individual sheets just 80p each, via PayPal – plus lots of freebies!


Any questions or comments, do get in touch!

Kate
Email: katewilliams.poetry@gmail.com

Posted by: Poems For Fun | December 28, 2020

Spring on the Way

The world is turning…

While winter seems at its darkest and harshest, buds are growing, seeds are stirring, birds are eyeing up nesting places, and daylight is stretching imperceptibly, day by day: we’re heading straight and fast for spring.

Sleeping Willow

Statue
riding the rolling sky,
still as a swan on a lake,
buds deep-chilled
till time comes to wake.

In my book, Wildlife Poems, 2009, ISBN 978 09538428-41.
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New Year Cinquain

Zip-wire
Poised, ready
Gleaming, twitching, tantalizing
Brand new ride, awaiting start-time
Thrill

_________________________________________________________

If you’re a teacher or a home-teaching parent/guardian, here are lots of exciting writing frames – also colouring sheets. All sorts of topics! E.g. dragons… E.g. this free Dragon’s Menu!

You may also be interested in my Virtual Poetry Workshops.

Happy New Year!
Kate


Email: katewilliams.poetry@gmail.com

Posted by: Poems For Fun | December 10, 2020

December Poems

This first poem is published online in poet Brian Moses’s ‘Winter Poems’ mini anthology. All poems in this post are also in my book, Wildlife Poems.

Freak in the Fog

 
Through the thick fog, whirling, whirling,
comes some creature, rolling fast.

Evil spirit? Wizard? Witch?
Giant grizzly?
Jump in ditch!

Through the fog, uncurling, uncurling,
comes my teacher, strolling past.

 

 

Below the Snow

Still, white, winter world:
beneath it, sleepers, tightly curled.
Thick, steep sweep of snow:
ticking hearts deep, down below.
Chilling, killing crystal layer:
below, lungs heaving, breathing air.

Still, white, winter world:
beneath – another, tightly furled.

 

 

 

Snowflake on the football pitch

Fluffy
Frizzy
Frosty
Frozen
Feathery
Floaty
Fairy-wing-light
Fascinating
Flickering
Finger-tip-tiny
Fragile
Flimsy
Flattened

 

Kate Williams


Winter Lights

 

The winter lights are beaming,
thawing out the cold –
mellow yellow, cosy red,
dazzling, diamond gold.

The trees are witches’ broomsticks.

The sky is cavern-dark.
The frozen grass is hard as glass.
The air is scissor-sharp. 

But look! Those lights are winking!
Hi! they seem to say.
Watch them waving! See them smile!

Hear them shout – Hooray!

 

Kate Williams

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright of all poems in this post (and throughout website): me, Kate Williams. Please contact me if you wish to use any in any way, for commercial purposes. Thanks.

Feel like something to laugh at? Try my Covid Rhymes Page, including New Year’s Day Resolutions – Covid Style!

 

 

Posted by: Poems For Fun | December 8, 2020

Virtual Workshops Next Term

Attention Primary Schools!

 

 

 

 

 

 


Hello teachers!

My virtual poetry workshops are continuing after Christmas, with the following topic choices:

WILD WOODS, SPACE, CREEPY-CRAWLIES, DRAGONS, SPRING ANIMALS, CASTLES.

Please take your pick, with one per day.

My prices are very competitive, and my sessions combine fun with poetic exploration, keeping everyone on board through the session.

Latest feedback comment: “Thank you very much for the workshop which the children really enjoyed…They produced some fantastic work.” Torkington Primary School, Greater Manchester, December.

Full details here. 

Posted by: Poems For Fun | November 23, 2020

November Poems

This verse is part of a 4-seasoned sequence, published in the anthology, Read Me At School, Macmillan, 2009:

 

The Trees Behind the Teachers’ Cars
(Autumn Term)

Behind the cars the trees have turned to treasure –
red as rubies, gold as gold bars.

If Sir was a pirate
he’d be cramming his boot with booty,
except that it’s really just leaves, of course,
gone bizarre.


The poems below feature in my book, Wildlife Poems, ISBN:  978-0953842841 – out of print now but available second hand on Amazon and various other sites. Review by poet Ian McMillan: “These poems move quickly down the page like animals might, unleashing rhymes and rhythms everywhere.”


November seaside

Ever tried the sea in November?
You’d remember:
it’s grim.

Grey as iron,
and hard as iron to lie on –
a great iron wedge.
You wouldn’t want to swim.
The chill would drill your toes,
just standing at the edge.

Ever tried it in December?
Loud as a lion,
high as a ledge,
sharp as shark-teeth through your shoe?

I’ll leave that one to you.

 

Sleeping Willow

Statue
riding the rolling sky,
still as a swan on a lake,
buds deep-chilled
till time comes to wake.

 

 

 

 

 

While Gales Push

Beneath the bush
lies a lump of a toad,
slumped in slumber,
safely stowed
in leaf-gold skin
and leaf-mould shawl,
as the gusts begin
and the cold rains fall.

While gales push
and water streams,
the toad in his bush stump
dreams.

 

Copyright: Kate Williams

For something a bit lighter, see my
Covid Christmas Rhymes.

Posted by: Poems For Fun | November 8, 2020

Christmas Colours Poetry Fun

Christmas Colours will inspire any child to put pen to paper, especially with beautiful, bright lights and pictures for stimulus, and whole-body enactments of spinning baubles and flashing lights! These are the sorts of activities included in my virtual poetry sessions, along with singing and clapping to ukulele (younger), word-building challenges, poems to listen to, and lots of interaction from the children.

Language-stretching – Do all lights flash, by the way? Or do some of them twinkle, glow, blaze, wink, dance, smile, welcome, shimmer? What other alternatives will the children come up with, I wonder. They always amaze me. As for similes, the possibilities are as wide as a sunset: baubles might glisten (that’s another!) like icicles, glow like candles, glint and gleam like animal eyes in a wood – but again, the children will have their own ideas to offer.

Poetry launch pads – I also send over graded, illustrated, downloadable poetry starter frames (example here) for follow-on writing – except for Yrs 5 + 6 who are usually ready to go it alone. Time permitting, we squeeze in some silly rhymes or other word fun – perhaps about Santa or his reindeer in this case.

Christmas / Winter – For any schools skirting around Christmas itself, there are plenty of bright, winter colours to celebrate on any winter’s day or night.

Other topics available: Winter Woods and their Creatures, Space, Dragons, and Autumn Leaves while they last.

To discuss, ask a question or make a booking, please email me any time.

Details on Virtual Workshops page.

Kate
Email: katewilliams.poetry@gmail.com

Posted by: Poems For Fun | November 3, 2020

FIREWORKS Poetry

Fireworks are fantastic to write about, even when a pandemic throws cold water on Bonfire Night.

Celebrate creatively! Children love to be fireworks, shooting, spinning, exploding, and to think up thrilling sound, colour and action words for them, then to capture their imagined scene in poems and illustrations. Never mind the time of day: even if the sun’s pouring in, they’ll love to describe the deep, mysterious night sky and the fascinating ways those fireworks travel and fade through it.

Virtually – Fireworks is one of the topics I offer with my Virtual Poetry Workshops. I also supply exciting poetry-writing frames with bookings. They’re available here too, for all primary levels.

Simile fun – along with the infinite range of adjectives, verbs and onomatopoeia applicable to fireworks, there are boundless possibilities for imagery. They might be firing like comets or dragon’s breath, for instance; speeding like rockets, speedboats, shooting stars; glowing like flowers, twisting like roller-coasters, whirling like Spanish dancers, winking like mysterious signals, crackling like frying bacon…

Whatever the coronavirus restrictions where you are, they can’t snuff out the fun of firework creativity.

Fireworks poetry frames – all levels – here: https://www.tes.com/teaching-resources/shop/katewilliams_poetry

Kate
Email: katewilliams.poetry@gmail.com

 

And for the teachers, mums, dads, big kids – some silly Coronavirus firework night rhymes here.

 

Posted by: Poems For Fun | October 31, 2020

Wicked Winter Tree

A poem of mine for Halloween and the winter ahead:

Wicked Winter Tree, published in Moondust & Mystery, Oxford University Press, 2002 , and in The Iron Book of Tree Poems, Iron Press, earlier this year. I also included it in my own book, Swinging through the Sky (now out of print but available second hand), with this illustration:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wicked Winter Tree

Beware the Wicked Winter Tree
when it twists its twilight spell:
when it tangles itself into witches’ hair,
black and bleak as a bottomless well,
and scrapes the sunset bare.

Watch out for the Wicked Winter Tree
when it sweeps up the evening sky,
for who can tell what sneaky spell
may linger there, in its witches’ hair,
waiting for a passer-by?

Kate Williams

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