Performance Poetry

Pie Corbett shared this link and I absolutely loved it

I think this performance is inspiring. And I have to say that my first reaction was ‘What a pity that none of my pupils could do that’. But could they??????

To be honest I don’t know and that is more than a little worrying. She obviously cares passionately about poetry and about her own writing and I really don’t think that any of my children actually have such a level of passion about anything (with the possible exception of football). There are all sorts of reasons why this might be the case and I suspect that for some  children nowadays, they have so much that there isn’t really anything that is out of reach or unobtainable. We live in a fairly settled area and our society has not gone through the upheavals that other people have seen.  I suspect that the issue of home may resonate more strongly in South Africa than in South Leics.

I asked them this week to think of one amazing thing that they would like to do in their lifetime and for a lot of them it was to simply go on holiday somewhere. There was a surprising lack of of wanting to actually do anything themselves or to meet someone.  I feel as though I need to do something to wake their ambition, to give them inspiration for  things that they could aim at. I don’t want my pupils to be happy with going to Spain as a lifetime achievement, I feel that they ought to aim higher than that.

If they do feel passionately about anything, I can’t imagine any of them having the sheer force of personality to perform as she does on that stage. The question is why not? And what can I as a teacher do to encourage both the passion whether it be for poetry, music or anything else and also to give them the confidence to stand up and shout it out to eveyone.

One of the things that I can do and certainly will is to show them this clip. I may save it for when we do poetry or use it at another time but I am going to let them watch it and see if sparks a bit of ambition in them. Even if it’s only to stand on stage on Red Nose day and perform to the school.


Snow Day!


Snow in the Suburbs

Every branch big with it
Bent every twig with it
Every fork like a white web-foot
Every street and pavement mute
Some flakes have lost their way, and grope back upward when
Meeting those meandering down they turn and descend again.
The palings are glued together like a wall
And there is no waft of wind with the fleecy fall.

A sparrow enters the tree,
Whereon immediately
A snow lump thrice his own slight size
Descends on him and showers his head and eyes
And overturns him
And near inurns him
And lights on a nether twig, when its brush
Starts off a volley of other lodging lumps with a rush.

The steps are a blanched slope
Up which, with feeble hope,
A black cat comes, wide-eyed and thin
And we take him in.

Thomas Hardy

I have always loved this poem ever since I came across it way back in the dark ages. I studied it as part of my A level literature but I think that it should be accessible to my more able year 5s and certainly year 6. I’m going to use it as a guided reading text sometime in the next couple of weeks and see what they think. I think that the images of the sparrow nearly being drowned in the snow and the poor cat will be as appealing now as they were to Hardy’s original readers over 100 years ago.

Random thoughts

We had a great ICT session this week as part of my Masters Issues in English course led by Doug Dickinson (@orunner) . There was a huge of amount packed into one afternoon and as always, I left with my head buzzing with ideas.

One of the things that Doug reminded me of was poetry. He read A A Milne’s Wind on the Hill which I remembered reading as a child. And then it snowed which reminded me of A A Milne once again, espcecially Winnie the Pooh.

The more it snows ~~ tiddely pom,

The more it goes ~~ tiddely pom,

The more it goes ~~ tiddely pom On snowing ~~

And nobody knows~~ tiddely pom ,

How cold my toes ~~ tiddely pom,

Are growing.

I remember reading this to my own children and it seems especially apt for yesterday when we were out on the school field.

As I reread the book last night I came across this quote from Eeyore which if you live in Loughborough or close by is especially appropriate 🙂

“It’s snowing still,” said Eeyore gloomily.
“So it is.”
“And freezing.”
“Is it?”
“Yes,” said Eeyore. “However,” he said, brightening up a little, “we haven’t had an earthquake lately.”

So thanks for sending me back to The House at Pooh Corner Doug. I am now filled with good intentions to share more of my favourite poems with my children and to read more poetry myself.

A Food Group Foldable

I’m still developing my ideas for different ways of children presenting their work and trying to use foldables across the curriculum.

I finished last term’s work on Fractions with a foldable which I found on pinterest. The children really enjoyed using it and many of them said that combining all their ideas onto one piece of work really helped them to understand.


This term I created an entirely new foldable which is all my own work rather than begin adapted from one that I have seen somewhere else. I’m sure that someone else has used the idea but I haven’t seen it being done quite like this. I began with a basic regular hexagon and then extended the sides to create a six pointed star. We then used this to identify the different food groups, the foods that were in each group and what each one does for our bodies.

The outside of the foldable


Foldable opened up to reveal information
Foldable opened up to reveal informationT

The empty triangle should have had a comment about the fact that we need to eat a balanced diet. The children did enjoy completing their star rather than just writing the information in their books or completing a worksheet. Whether the information stays in their heads any longer remains to be seen 🙂



Positivity !

We began the new term with an inset session from the Art of Being Brilliant. At least 10 schools were gathered together to share in an afternoon devoted to being positive and what this can bring to your lives and classrooms.

We watched this video and thought about what we could take from the attitudes displayed and use in our own schools and classes.



I love the way that they see a positive attitude as a choice. You can choose to moan about having to get up early each morning (and I do) or you can just get on with it and look for something positive.

I think that there are lot of things in that video that can be applied directly to classrooms. When they talked about ‘being there’ for their customers, it made me think about the times when I am not really there for my pupils. If they come to ask me something at break or lunch, I will always answer them but often I am not really giving them my full attention as I have marking or preparation. My resolution is to try and make sure that I am there for my children. That 2 minute question and answer might possibly be the only bit of my attention that they get in that day and they deserve that time.

Making things fun is an important part of motivating children. I don’t throw fish but I do sometimes toss exercise books around, occasionally with astounding accuracy!

I think that I am generally a fairly positive person but I wonder how much that comes across to my class. Is that how they see me or do they see a tired grouchy teacher who is never satisfied with their work?

So I will begin the new term tomorrow with a positive attitude and not moan about having to get up while it is still dark. I have an incredible amount to be positive about in my job and I will try to ensure that I communicate this to my pupils.