Friday, 12 February 2016

Shire Oak: Who do you think I am?

Sally Bavage writes:
James Nash                 Photo by Sally Bavage
Intriguing poems set up puzzles to describe animals that you find in Headingley – and the audience of over 200 including 30+ parents/visitors had to guess which animals 30 youngsters from Mr Martin's Class 3 were talking about.

Ears were sharp, flat, pointy, small. Tails were long, bushy, short, beautiful. Eyes were dark, large, mischievous, beady. Teeth were sharp enough to crunch acorns. Homes were in trees, under grass, in holes, in drays, under rocks, in hollow trees. Grass was bitter to the taste.

Other words used by these seven-year-olds include nocturnal, kittenish, forage and scavenger. Yes, seven years old and confident enough with both their writing and their delivery to the whole school. Strong voices reading with such brio - priceless.

The early work on exploration of the worlds of the many animals of Headingley was later taken up by Ms Bennet after Mr Martin took (paternity) leave to be with his own tiny creature. And once again LitFest volunteer Rachel Harkess supported James Nash, local writer and poet, with the work in the classroom.

Headteacher Jane Devane commented: “Working with real writers makes our children understand that their writing is important. They have an audience for it now – and it could even be something they could do as an adult. And the whole school loves working with James!”

Parents' comments included:
Cracking job – works so well with the children.

Fantastic! Really impressed by the children's use of interesting similes. Lots of fantastic descriptive poetry and crystal diction.

Well, you can't say fairer than that, clearly.

Or perhaps you can, as one young girl summed it up in her answer to the question about why it is good to share your work with other children in the school “So you can try and make them feel like writing their own poem.”

And one young man said simply “I was well nervous, but it was great!”

Other audience comments included:

Well done kids, lovely poems.

Excellent work by the children.

Lovely event – fantastic!

It seemed the children really enjoyed the poems and were comfortable sharing their work- a sign that they were proud of what they had done.

Fantastic work by all!

Great! What a fantastic opportunity for the children.

Very good. Well written pieces of work.

It was a lovely event. It gave the children an opportunity to perform to an audience. We had the chance to hear their poems and that of the group. A very good idea.

Excellent poetry read so well by all the pupils.

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