Posted by: Poems For Fun | April 1, 2021

Shaping the World contributor

Very happy indeed to be a contributor to the wonderful new poetry book, Shaping the World, 40 Historical Heroes in Verse, chosen by poet Liz Brownlee for Macmillan Children’s Books!

The collection is out today, April 1st – yes, April Fool’s Day, but this is no joke: it’s a fantastic truth! Every poem is presented in a shape that helps to tell the story of its chosen hero, and on the opposite page you can read lots of extra information about them. An original way to present poems, and an equally original way to present key facts about key people.

Here’s my contribution, celebrating Isaac Newton and his theory of gravity,
‘A Bash of Inspiration’:

Here are some places you can buy the book:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Shaping-World-Liz-Brownlee/dp/1529036860

Waterstone’s: https://www.waterstones.com/book/shaping-the-world/liz-brownlee/liz-brownlee/9781529036862

WH Smith: https://www.whsmith.co.uk/products/shaping-the-world/liz-brownlee/hardback/9781529036862.html

 

Well done to Liz Brownlee  and all fellow contributors!

Posted by: Poems For Fun | March 21, 2021

Spring Mini-Anthology – Brian Moses

Delighted to have a poem in poet Brian Moses’s Spring mini-anthology:

http://brian-moses.blogspot.com/2021/03/spring-sunshine-sunshine-likes-to-dance.html

Browse through this rich feast of contributions, including poetry by Brian himself of course, for a springy Sunday and onwards!

Here’s mine (inspired by ponies in seasonally buttercup-lit fields in my village) – but do see the other poets’ contributions too:

 

Foal in the Field

 

Foal in the field
lazing, dozing:
bundle in the flowery grass.
 
Foal in the field
rolling, playing:
fun-lover in the spring sun.

 

Foal in the field
rising, wobbling:
stilt-walker on her long legs.

 

Foal in the field
prancing, skipping:

dancer on a buttercup stage.

 

(Copyright: Kate Williams)

 

Posted by: Poems For Fun | March 1, 2021

Mathsy teachers beware!

Here’s my poem, ‘A Meal for your Maths Teacher’, Highly Commended in the international YorkMix Poems for Children 2021 competition – just to send a warning out to any over-mathsy teachers out there!

 

A MEAL FOR YOUR MATHS TEACHER

 

If your teacher’s the sort of creature
to set a nasty sum,
distract her with a meal of maths
to fill her mathsy tum.

Percentage pies with fraction fries,
divided by one third,
with peas in threes and chives in fives
and a cube of lemon curd.

Let the mixture boil away
until you hear it hum.
Then keep your teacher munching,
so she can’t set you a sum.

For drinks, Seven-Up or Fifteen-Down,
or a mug of multiplication,
or a cup of tea times 0.3 –
to the nearest calculation.

That’ll keep your teacher quiet
and give you all some rest –
and do the same with letters
if she starts a spelling test.

Kate Williams

Or listen/view here (click for link)

Big congrats to the winners of this huge competition (almost 650 entries).
Read/listen/watch winning and runner-up entries here: YorkMix Poems For Children Winners 2020-21.

 

Posted by: Poems For Fun | February 14, 2021

Poems Recently Published

 

If you were a Giraffe

If you were a giraffe,
with a drain-long, crane-strong, swing-along neck,
would you just eat leaves?
I wouldn’t.
I’d be a spy.

I’d peep over fences ten feet high,
and snoop through windows up in the sky,
and peer into aeroplanes cruising by,
spying all day with my aerial eye
to catch all the crooks and thieves.

Well, I’d do something anyway.
I wouldn’t just eat leaves.

 

Published in: Better Than Starbucks Magazine – print & online.

 

Fishes

Fishes
Tiny, shiny
Flashing, dashing, diving
Glimpses of ocean mystery
Teasers

 

 

 

Published in: An Animal Poem for Every Day of the Year, publisher: Nosy Crow

 

Butterfly

On wings flake-fragile,
petal-frail, you somehow sail,
mile after long mile.

Published in: An Animal Poem for Every Day of the Year, publisher: Nosy Crow

 

The Owl

As I freed a moth from my window,
I heard a screech owl below,
down in the dip where the furry things hide,
where hill meets hooded wood.

I heard its shriek rip the night,
tearing the air like a bite,
slicing the dark down its deadly glide,
splicing that hide-away hood.

My moth went riding the star-glow,
light as a leaf from the wood.

Featured @ The Wombell Rainbow (online), Garden Birds anthology

 

Busy Blackbird

Skids about the garden,
never stops to rest,
stuffing beak with shreds and bits –
never mind what’s best.

Flaps off over treetops,
dropping stalks and sticks…
back again – more hops, more bits:
blackbird building nest.

Featured @ The Wombell Rainbow (online), Garden Birds anthology

 

More in the pipeline.

NB: Copyright of all poems on this page, and throughout this website, is with me,
Kate Williams. If you wish to use any of these poems for commercial use of any kind, please contact me first. Thank you.

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!
____________________________________________________

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.

_______________________________________________________________

Worksheets and other lit. resources, most designed originally for my workshops:
https://www.tes.com/teaching-resources/shop/katewilliams_poetry

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 | 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.
________________________________________________________

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.

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