Chiming perfectly with our belief that writing poetry offers pupils the perfect blend of freedom within structures, the theme of National Poetry Day 2017 is “Freedom”. And we’ve also adapted some of our most popular and successful poetry-writing workshops to explore aspects of the theme in more detail (although don’t forget that you can also suggest your own themes too!).
Our poetry workshops are available all year round as well as on key annual events such World Poetry Day, World Book Day 2018, National Poetry Day 2017 and Shakespeare Week. And don’t forget that it’s often possible to mix-and-match two or more workshops over one or more days!
Standing Up for Freedom – Celebrations through Poetry
A brilliant way to use September’s National Poetry Day as a springboard for October’s Black History Month
People like Tommie Smith at the Mexico Olympics (1968) and the Bristol Bus Strikers (1963) literally stood up for freedom – and this inspiring workshop celebrates their deeds and legacies through poetry. After engaging pupils in a range of drama-based activities to explore the people and events in question, we’ll introduce them to poetic structures including clerihews and cinquains in which to commemorate their feats.
Suitable for: KS2 – KS4
Exploring (according to age): epic poetry, poetic structures, alliteration, contrasts, rhythm, tone, pace.
Duration: Standing up for Freedom is suitable for up to 30 students at a time and requires a minimum of 60 minutes (although we always prefer longer!).
“I just wanted to say what a fantastic day today and thank you so much. You were absolutely amazing and have inspired all the children and teachers . I’ve had multiple texts from teachers saying how brilliant it was and they are pinching some of your methods. Thank you for sharing your talents with us!” (Kate Fisher, Rickleton Primary)
Soundscape Poetry: The Freedom of Sound
Realising the power of “sound”
Those pupils who claim they don’t like poetry will be writing furiously at the end of this magical workshop. Realising the power of “sound”, they’ll design and perform contrasting soundscapes, one set in a world of peace, calm and personal freedom – the other in one speaking in a much more sinister voice. We’ll then guide them through a structure supporting them in crafting richly descriptive poems that tell both individual and collective stories.
Longer workshops will also see pupils gaining experience in presentation skills as we support them in exploring the most effective ways to deliver their poems vocally.
Suitable for: KS1 – KS4
Exploring (according to age): onomatopoeia, alliteration, descriptive writing, contrasts, rhythm, tone, pace.
Duration: Soundscape Poetry is suitable for up to 30 students at a time and requires a minimum of 60 minutes (although we always prefer longer!).
“Each class thoroughly enjoyed the poetry workshops and enjoyed taking an active role in order to create their ideas. Using drama to create an orchestra of sounds for our soundscape poems was fantastic to see and I know that we plan to use this strategy with the children again! Thank you inspiring the children, so they could create such wonderful ideas!” (Amy Wynn, Windsor CP School)
“The students really enjoyed the workshops because they had a chance to explore the different elements of poetry that they may not have had the opportunity to within the classroom. The immersion aspect was particularly effective in engaging the children and this led to high standards of written poetry. All teachers were full of praise for the workshops and were delighted with the pupil outcomes and engagement. We would love to arrange another visit for next year!” (Head of English, Immanuel and St Andrews School)
From tiny acorns … great verses grow …
Every tree starts as a seed – a seed that germinates and flourishes. And every poem starts with an idea – an idea that finds its form in words. In both cases, the journey to fruition is an organic one. And while neither topiarist nor poet can know what the final outcome will be until it’s there in all it’s glory, they both shape and prune their creations carefully.
This enchanting workshop supports children and young people in appreciating how a poem evolves from the pen of its writer – and offers them scaffolds allowing ideas and words to take root and grow. We’ll provide them with stimuli to start the process off, enable them to think structurally as they begin to piece their poems together – and emphasise the role that “choice” plays in poetry as they select the words, phrases, similes, metaphors and personifications that best suit their needs.
Suitable for: KS1 – KS3
Duration: 60minutes – half a day
Exploring (according to age): descriptive writing, connection-making, simile, metaphor, poetic structure.
Personification Poetry: Yearning for Freedom
Exploring the power of poetry to promote empathy
What would the school gates choose do if they were freed from their moorings? If the clock on the classroom wall had the freedom to travel anywhere I time and space, where would it go? This highly imaginative and interactive workshop allows students to harvest the fruits of both their own and their classmates’ imaginations as they explore notions of empathy to construct some uniquely moving poetry inspired by the idea of granting fixed and inanimate objects freedom from their setting s and contexts. Longer workshops will see them gaining experience in presentation skills as we support them in exploring the most effective ways to deliver their poems vocally.
Suitable for: EYFS – KS4
Exploring (according to age): empathy, personification, subtext, descriptive writing, contrasts, rhythm, tone, pace.
Duration: Suitable for up to 30 pupils at a time, Personification Poetry requires a minimum of 60 minutes (although we always prefer longer!).
“The children created some fantastic poems that had real purpose as they linked directly to the topics being covered in class. We are taking some of the ideas from the sessions and implementing them whole school. This was an amazing workshop that engaged and developed the love of poetry with our children – many thanks.” Catherine Bennett Headteacher, Edgworth Primary School
“Thank you for such fantastic poetry workshops. The children absolutely loved it and they have all been talking about it. We worked to further your poems today and they were so great.Thanks again and we hope to be able to get you in again for something at school in the future.” Literacy Co-ordinator, Sinclair House School
The Poetry of Shakespeare: the Freedom to Perform
Taking an actor’s approach to the Bard
Over four hundred years since his death, Shakespeare’s poetry is still being performed all over the world – because his ability to manipulate words actually gives actors freedom to make choices, rather than limiting them to set ideas. This experiential and highly active workshop sees pupils being introduced to a number of drama activities and approaches as we take them right through a play of your choice, exploring the backstory, meeting the main characters and bringing key moments to life. Our Shakespeare programmes are all planned and delivered by professional theatre practitioners, and so give pupils a uniquely “actor’s eye view” of the text. And we certainly don’t shy away from the verse!
Suitable for: EYFS – KS5
Exploring (according to the time available): backstories, character and characterisation, motivation, iambic pentameter, stagecraft
Duration: The Poetry of Shakespeare is suitable for up to 30 pupils at a time and, although we always prefer longer, requires a minimum of 90 minutes (less for EYFS/KS1).
“The children really got some great ideas to help them scaffold their own poetry” Year 4 teacher, Crumpsall Lane Primary School
“I was surprised by how well the children wrote their poems and by their imaginations…It was fantastic and I’m so thankful for the ideas! Thank you” Year six teacher, Freehold Community School
Performance Poetry: Hand on the Bridge
A magical route to discovering the freedom and power of Choral Speaking
Some of the best poems written have quite simple messages at their heart – while the power of those messages can be dramatically magnified when they are delivered chorally. This highly engaging workshop sees a group of disparate pupils magically transformed into a chorus, speaking and performing to Michael Rosen’s “Hand on the Bridge”.
Suitable for: EYFS – KS1
Exploring: rhyme, rhythm, tone, pace, performance skills
Duration: Suitable for up to 30 pupils at a time, Performance Poetry requires a minimum of 30 minutes.
In Pirate Poetry, your pupils will experience a scenario of your choice, “acquire” (in a piratical sense) words and phrases – then use them, in a structured approach, to create their own Seven Seas Stanzas!
Suitable for: EYFS – Year 6 (up to 30 children at a time)
Exploring (according to age): rhythm, thyme, tone, pace and poetic “voice”
Duration (according to age and how many classes we work with): 30 – 90 minutes
“I thought we would be just reading poems...it was a lot more exciting because it let us think for ourselves and express. I was surprised how good the group poem was” Year 8 Student, West Derby School
Get in touch:
To find out more about our Poetry Workshops for Schools – National Poetry Day 2017 – please contact us on 0151 708 8886 or email email@example.com.
- National Poetry Day website
- Creative Literacy workshops for primary schools
- Creative Literacy workshops for secondary schools
- World Book Day 2018
- Case Study: National Poetry Day 2017
- Case Study: Personification Poetry
- Outdoor Poetry Resource
- WWI: Living with the War Play and Workshops
- Shakespeare workshops for schools
- New Resource! Maths and Literacy Learning Trails
- From Page to Stage Workshops
- The Power of Reason – Speaking and Listening at Archbishop Beck