World Book Day 2012

I spent this year’s World Book Day at Witton Park School in Blackburn. It’s a nice change for me to go into secondary school and we were working in the rather swish CLC with some vry creative year 7 pupils. They were a little shy to begin with but soon began to realise that they were capable of producing some fantastic poetry. Two of the boys produced one of the best kennings poems I have ever seen. It was all about boxing. One girl could not stop writing and often produced two poems per exercise.

This is the group poem we created together:

Newcomer

I feel so small and old in my new school uniform.

I’m scared even though I have had my weetabix.

How will I find out where to eat or play?

New people to meet, new lessons to learn, now equipment to use.

My form teacher’s lovely: tall, skinny and blonde.

She smiles and helps me plan things out, sort my day.

But the scary PE teacher with the deep voice and warty nose

frowns with her monobrow and keeps punishing me.

It’s platime now, bullies everywhere who all want to intimidate me.

The worst one has a fat nose, a lumpy frumpy tragic case.

I told the scary teacher. All she said was ‘So what?’

My form tutor makes me feel better. She said, ‘Never mind.’

At last it’s the day’s end, and what a day!

Perhaps tomorrow I will make some new friends

I run all the way home in joy to my mum’s lovely tea.

She takes a photograph for the memory book of me.

We wrote this from topic suggestions of a scary teacher, bullying, school and new experiences. I think it captures very well a new year 7’s apprehension about secondary school. These children were not afraid of dealing with tough issues and they were all impressively aware of how to deal with bullying if it happened to them. We’d tell a teacher, they said with utter confidence.

I went along armed with some ideas where they could send their poems, so I hope they do enter Wirral Festival of Firsts competition and send some poems to The Scrumbler. I am also hoping to see some of these poems on the school website. We wrote kennings poems, praise poems, spells and curses and they also enjoyed a few short readings of my poems and a Q&A in which all their questions were sensible and thoughtful.

Schools have really entered into the spirit of World Book Day and it was a lovely day across the country, marked by many children dressing as characters from books, doing book quizzes, artwork, reading clubs and who know what else! Whether schools have the budget for an author or whether events are run on a shoestring, what a great effort is made and hat fun is had!

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “World Book Day 2012

  1. This is terrific. I love seeing what kids can come up with when they feel safe and are given “permission.”

  2. Hi Angela,

    What a great way to have spent World Book Day! Sounds like the Year 7s of Witton Park really threw themselves into it under your direction – terrific fun for them, and thrilling for you, fanning the flames of such potent creativity. ‘The Newcomer’ captures very well that feeling of first day nerves – a feeling which isn’t peculiar to our school days, of course, but may continue through our careers when changing jobs. Bullies may be encountered in the workplace too, not all of them with warty noses or monobrows! It’s good to know your Witton Park poets have the confidence to report any instances arising. Fingers crossed some of them make it into print with ‘The Scrumbler’ or elsewhere.

    (PS: The lovely form teacher and scary PE teacher of the group poem reminded me of the winsome and withered ladies of ‘Gawain and the Green Knight’ – I enjoyed your poem ‘Hag’, which you read at BLAZE last month.)

    Regards, Paul

  3. Thanks, Paul. They just wanted a scary teacher but I talked to them about contrast. I think they based their nice teacher on the excellent young teacher who was helping me – who was tall and blonde and smily and a year 7 tutor, whereas the scary one was entirely fictional. Interesting though, that their ideas of nice and nasty are still in the mediaeval realm of appearances indicating the personality within. It was an all boy table working on that stanza… whereas it was girls who came up with the idea of tackling bullying, an issue the school is clearly very savvy about.

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