Friday, 13 December 2019

Food, Glorious Food - and no Oliver in sight

Luke Wrankmore and James Nash

Year 3 – seven and eight year olds – were once again working with James Nash, local writer and published poet in a series of poetry workshops.  The youngsters listen to some poems – some by James himself -  'deconstruct' them', write their own lines, share and listen to what works, add to them, edit them and eventually create an original poem about their chosen food.  Then they rehearse and perform some or all of their work, particularly favourite lines.  To the entire school, parents and staff and visitors.  So no pressure. Remember, they are eight or less!

'Jamesnash', as the children call him, has achieved a little bit of rock star status now, after his many visits, and most of the whole school assembly had worked with him.  The remaining classes were looking forward to doing so.  James works on an aspect of the curriculum that the class is studying: this year it was healthy eating.
The rapt audience

Stage fright?  Nope, not one.   As Literary Lead Jo Ward said, “ We relish the work that James develops here with our children (pun intended?).  The vocabulary that James manages to elicit from even the most reluctant of writers is fantastic. Our children look forward to being poets and standing up I front of an audience.  It's just  wonderful to see every child have the confidence to stand up and read t heir excellent work to an audience.”  Belted out in playground voices too – after performance rehearsals. 

Luke Wrankmore, class teacher, commented on the bravery some of the youngsters show in reading their own work aloud to a hundred people. And “If I were in charge it would be embedded into the national curriculum immediately.”

What did class 3 remember of their work?  Well, pride in performing for one, writing real poetry, sharing their work and getting inspired to write more.

What did the parents make of it?
“Absolutely amazing!” and “Brilliant”
The best thing is “the confidence it gives them in their writing”
“Bringing poetry to life!  Having a poet come in to speak to the children about their writing life and inspirations is such a unique and valuable experience.”
“All and any exposure to the arts is vital”
“More opportunities to work with artists/filmmakers/musicians”
“It was clearly a lot of fun too.”
“Thank you James.”

Thanks once again to the Inner Area Management Committee for supporting Headingley LitFest with funding towards this work.

Sally Bavage

'Loud crunchy batter
You make me happy
Soft smooth fish
You make me strong'

'It squirts in my mouth
Like when you are taking a shower'

'Red like a heart
With seeds on the outside
It smells like strawberry milkshake'

It's yellow
and it reminds me of wriggly worns'

'It smells like hot smoke
but not burning'

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