Posts

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Benjamin Zephaniah's Imagine Nation

Benjamin Zephaniah. Wow, what an inspiration. Highly dyslexic, he left school at 13 being unable to read or write, had constant brushes with the law before turning his hand to poetry and making it accessible to all kinds of people in all kinds…
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Favourite things

The school where I do my voluntary creative writing workshops throws up a whole new set of interesting challenges. Yesterday the two major challenges I had to contend with were that firstly the lighting was really, really poor in the classroom,…
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Teacher, teacher rhyme time

When I'm doing poetry with children, I try to encourage them to be open to not making a poem rhyme. Because they don't, of course, have to. And some of my very favourite poems are non-rhyming which is of course very different from being non-rhythmic.…
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An anthem to childhood

This year marks the centenary of the birth of wonderful poet and playwright, Dylan Thomas. Several months ago, I discovered a new poem by him called Being But Men. Astonishingly, Thomas never rated this poem highly himself and declined to have…
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The Magic Box

There is one workshop that I have used again and again with all kinds of different children and it honestly never fails to amaze me what they produce by the end of it. This is largely thanks to the richness of Kit Wright's wonderful poem 'The…
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I wonder

I am three quarters of the way through my Coursera online course, Teaching character and creating positive classrooms, and at the moment we're focussing on building the teaching of character strengths into lesson plans. With this in mind,…
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How to get children to be 'Sound Detectives' before producing great writing

Of course there will be examples to counter this but the Kenyan education system, on the whole, is not known for getting children to think for themselves, ask questions or be creative. So it's a challenge to take creative writing and poetry…
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Haiku: The perfect poem in miniature to get kids writing poetry

Perfect three lined poems/ Encapsulating the pulse/ And breath of life. Now. What more wonderful way to introduce children who are wary of poetry than to share Haiku with them. Deliciously short and sweet, even young children grasp the concept…
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A wonderful poem to share with nine year old's

The prolific children's writer Allan Ahlberg grew up, by his own admission, with "a fair few clips round the ear, no books and not much conversation." But that hasn't stopped him from writing over 140 books for children, many of which his wife…
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Why is a pen magic? Read this poem with kids and find out

The Thin Prison was written by Welsh poet Leslie Norris and perfectly encapsulates the excitement and magic of unleashing words from a pen. I looked at this today with a large group of Year 4's (in a school that borders Nairobi National Park…