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

Posted by: Poems For Fun | March 14, 2015

Latest published poems


My new poem ‘The Big Eco-Friendly Giant’ features in the latest issue of The Caterpillar, along with another, Zebra Crossing. You can read them here (or not).

Two of my poems contribute to collections for 5-7 year-olds, to be published by Wayland this summer (anthologist Brian Moses), Summer and Seasons respectively. This pair of books will be complemented by another, Animals and Festivals – watch out for the quartet!

Details of other current and future publications can be found on my Published page.

The irresistible cosiness of poetry-writing – each time a poem of mine is accepted, the news provides me with a convenient excuse to sit down and write more – at least, that’s how I like to see it. That means more slouching on the sofa in front of the fire, or on the garden chair in the sunshine, or even in bed with hot water bottle if feeling very lazy, or if recuperating from an accidental half night of writing. After all, what could be more tempting than to tap idly away at your laptop, slumped in some such luxury setting, rather than tackling the washing-up, the ironing pile, the garden jungle, the latest re-decorating plan, or any other task you care to name? So the more excuses the better. But it’s more than that, of course. Poetry-writing is a game – one of the best, in my opinion.

To focus in on a poem is to shut out everything else; to bask in the calm simplicity of a little word pattern. First, there’s the topic to choose, then the aspect to select, then the twist to consider, then the approach to mull over, then the words to delve for, pick out and throw back, to shake up and delve again, while the world goes round elsewhere. It’s a mini composeum of Lego and dominoes, Scrabble and pairs – and uncountable more too – all mixed up together!  With each handful, each word, each sound, each tint (I see colours with words), there’s a multiple game to play. And as for those chores…. well, it’s just amazing how long they can wait, you know.  

So never mind the comings and goings outside my window, or the weather or the international news, or the admin. waiting at my elbow! I’m in my poem, at the hub of some question or the heart of some matter, basking in the calm centre of a lake’s rippling rings, examining its cause and effect, and what to do about them – as it were. Utter indulgence!  But such tireless entertainment, I’d recommend poetry-writing to anyone, at whatever level appeals. (I rather like level 1 myself.)

So, happy reading and writing! 

Kate 

Posted by: Poems For Fun | February 13, 2015

World Book Day poetry fun!

Hello schools!

Let’s celebrate World Book Day (WBD) by inspiring our next generation of writers! 

No doubt you’re booked up for WBD (March 2nd) and I am too – all week in fact – but children need inspiring every day! So what better than a thrilling, hilarious, mysterious dazzle of dragon poetry to sweep away the February gloom? Or later, to fire a flash of fantasy through the elf-green treetops of later March? 

Children have been setting their classrooms buzzing in my dragon workshops this term, with adjectives and similes, metaphors and ‘moving words’, onomatopoeias, rhythms, rhymes, alliteration – poetry galore. The funny thing is, they don’t realise it’s work. Give them a double lesson, and they want more!

We’ve had dragons cartwheeling over the moon and dancing down the M4. We’ve had dragon menus with ‘Teachers on Toast’ (sorry), ‘Candyfloss Curry’, ‘School Hall Stew’ and ‘Magic and Mash’. We’ve felt the rush of a gust (yes, their words) from a beating wing, spied the glint of an eye, smelt a strange whiff of smoke, felt a thumping tail on the classroom roof, heard shrieks resounding round the sky. We’ve talked and sung and acted out dragons of different colours: ones in red who stay all day in bed; others in pink, who wash their tails in the sink; and naughty dragons dressed in blue, who like to creep up and shout out ‘Boo!’ But some are invisible, camouflaged or see-through, and remain for ever a mystery. Children have conjured up every conceivable dragon character too: creepy and crafty, jolly and fun, gentle and timid, bossy, grumpy, wild and mad, and the brave and bold, protecting us with their fire and armour. 

Of course I throw ideas at the children, but they throw more back at me – ideas I’d never think of! They bounce ideas off each other too, with frequent sharing opportunities, so the whirlwind of images, language and poetry invariably spins round the classroom or hall in all directions, building, lifting, heating up, sizzling… till the bells goes for lunch – boo!

Responses from teachers and children confirm that whirlwind’s worth – as do the poems produced.

I offer various other topics too (see previous post or Workshops page), also exciting, fun and open-ended for maximum creativity and poetic venture. 

Happy spring!

Kate
Email: katewilliams.poetry@gmail.com

Posted by: Poems For Fun | January 5, 2015

Poetry Workshops for Spring

Greetings, teachers and head teachers! 

Dragons, Castles, Weather (of all kinds) and School Sounds are my theme choices this term, together with Spring Woods after half term, with poetry workshops on offer for children aged 3 – 13. 

With the help of picture displays, hands-on artefacts, class discussion, word-building challenges, acting-out, and – for younger children – clapping rhymes and songs with ukulele, I provide workshops for children at all ability and confidence levels. I work in primary and secondary schools, referral units, nurseries, libraries, and anywhere else you may wish to suggest. 

I’m happy to travel just about anywhere from my home in S. Wales, covering a huge area to date, including London, the South and South West, the Midlands and Manchester. 

With 8.30 a.m. as my arrival time, my day’s timetable is flexible to fit with yours – provided I can grab a breather mid-morning and ditto lunchtime for survival purposes!  I find four sessions per day works well, with any extra time to be allotted as you see fit.

Please see Workshops page (no link – please click on relevant page) for further details and latest feedback from schools. You may also like to browse the Children’s Poetry (click relevant page) or follow the links to other examples and photos on school websites.

Any questions? Please get in touch!

All best for the term ahead!

Kate
(Email: katewilliams.poetry@gmail.com)

Posted by: Poems For Fun | January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!


Best wishes to all for a happy New Year:
a fresh and inviting, new writing New Year!

Ignore the recession, and winter depression!
The music of words is still here.

Whatever the hiccups and hassles and hurdles,
the stresses and losses and sorrows and burdens –
whatever the tangles and wretches and wrangles,
poetry won’t disappear.

That, in a way, is what I shall say 
to the kids in my workshops this year.

Kate

Posted by: Poems For Fun | December 24, 2014

Christmas wishes

Season’s greetings, and thanks for visiting my site!

May your Christmas be:

comfy and cosy,
merry and rosy;
munchy, crunchy,
dreamy and dozy!

Brimful of cheer
and all that’s dear:
bright as the lighted tree!

Oh, serene as snow pristine
may your Christmas be!

And may a genie clear and clean,
and serve your cup of tea!

Kate Williams

Posted by: Poems For Fun | December 11, 2014

After School Poetry

December 2014 – thinking back over a term of after-school poetry…

I’ve just finished a term of after school poetry clubs at two schools: what exceptional fun we had!  

Yes, it was work: we were poetry-writing, but no, it was play: it was AFTER school. It was free time: magic time.

Poetry for sheer fun was our purpose: poetry without pressure – a sort of weekly poetry party, if you like. There was no pressure, yet the children came back for more each week – voluntarily, of course – and for more paper usually too! Some club members would follow the approach of the week – whatever the style or focus I chose to introduce; others would go off at a tangent. Some poems turned into pictures, others into stories, or letters home, or dialogues with friends around the table.  ‘Alyssa has written nearly all of this’ one child confessed at the bottom of her sheet one time. Fine: they had shared the ideas, and the comradeship too: had made writing a shared entertainment.

Some of my young writers told me they ‘hated literacy’, and even wrote that they hated it, seemingly not connecting, which was interesting.  After all, our sessions were far more than straight poetry: they involved singing with guitar or ukulele – whichever I’d snatched up as I left home – and acting out the subjects of our weekly writing themes; it involved passing round pictures, toys and any relevant artefacts I’d been able to dig up. But most importantly, it involved chat, me with them, and them with each other. With a fresh topic each week – dragons, planets, noises, colours, castles, fireworks, Christmas –  there was never a shortage of discussion-points, nor of exciting language and imagery to explore together.

All that in 40 minutes? Well, it was a jam-packed 40 minutes, and, I admit, chaotic at times – especially when I mislaid my poetry frame sheets in my search for a board rubber or vice versa, but the odd bump along our roller-coaster ride through worlds and words just seemed to blend in naturally, as the children would probably agree. One thing is certain: their poetry took off – sailed far and high – in those little windows of time. Well done to them all!

Incidentally, it was pleasing to see how the children’s writing developed through the term, not just from the 40-minute club sessions, but from their daily school work, of course. It’s true that I like to think our short, relaxed sessions played a part, and if they did, a crucial part of that little slot, I believe, was probably the reading out routine we’d squeeze in at the end, when they could hear the sound of their own creation, and observe the response of their school friends.

One or two were a little anxious about reading out at first – out at the front in a line, table by table, and I don’t blame them!  But a tube of blow-bubbles soon blew away the stage fright, and soon became part of the procedure at each school. Grabbing bubble-blower in one hand and sheet in the other, and with the snap decision as to whether to blow before or after reading, reading out quickly became a key point of the afternoon, and a hilarious one too, more often than not… though I didn’t laugh quite as much as they did when the bubbles ended up in my face!

Samples of the children’s rich harvest of poetry can be found on Children’s Poetry page here. Please note that most were at the lower end of the 2-6 year range. 

Happy Christmas!

Kate
Email: katewilliams.poetry@gmail.com

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