Suddenly, the globe has slipped round; we’ve turned the corner into autumn! There’s a crispness to the sunshine, a brassy tint to the trees, and a brisk, bustling sense of purpose as the school run starts up again. At last I can get cracking with my autumn term workshops!
Autumn Leaves have sailed onto my topic list again, and why not? They’re such fascinating things, with their sky-high dances, fly-away mysteries, their golden dazzle, and their frailty, their under-foot crunch! Children and teachers alike love this workshop theme – especially when the rain holds off and we can all go outside to watch, listen and catch them!
Birds are on my list too. What birds? All birds! Swifts and swallows cruising off over moonlit oceans, over city, jungle, desert, to sunny lands we can only imagine; peacocks parading their sea-blue, sail-tall tails; penguins standing, just standing, heads up in the blizzard, feet slide-sliding on the ice… oops, splash, oh dear! Robins I’ll be watching too, with the younger children, and copying them too – hopping, flapping, pecking, fluttering about the garden, and thinking up describing words to sing with ukulele. As for feathers, they’ll call for another poem again – a shape, simile, metaphor poem? Or a float-away fantasy? Or a picture-poem bonanza of plumage hues? I expect every class will fly their feathers a different way!
Giants are my third and final topic for this half of the term, but not just noisy, fierce ones! There’ll be gentle ones too, like the BFG, guardian giants, lonely ones, clumsy, accident-prone ones, girl and boy, old and young, heavy and light giants – whatever sorts the children want to write about. We’ll be comparing giants with other things too, and other things with them. Could a mountain be considered as a giant, for instance, watching over us, casting its light and shadow over our homes and streets, affecting us with its daily mood swings? And what about a sunset, or a thunderstorm, or a symphony? But we’ll have fun with our giants too – especially when they thump-crash-smash their way in through the classroom door!
After half term, when the leaves take on the colours of treasure, wine and pumpkin-juice, our leaves will be drifting down into spooky woods, rustling with furtive wildlife (and Halloween haunts?), while fireworks shoot and roar over the treetops in the deepening sky and cosy lamps light up the windows.
With so much to write about, the children won’t want to stop, but then, they seldom do! A few may start off a little anxiously, perhaps, thinking that poetry is not for them or that they can’t write very well… but what they’ll discover, as they go along, is that it IS for them, in fact, it’s IN them, and… oh yes, they can write, even if they have to translate a bit for me! I’m forever amazed at the natural feel, leaning, gift, children have for creativity through language, so let’s see what they offer up this term!