Poetree!

OK, so this looks like a spindly, bare, whippersnapper of a tree …

Naburn Primary School children with one of their new apple trees

Naburn Primary School children with one of their new apple trees

… but pupils at two York schools have been imagining what it will grow into, and how they will enjoy the fruit it will bear in the future. And they have been doing so through poetry.

The ‘Poetree’ project was dreamt up and delivered by Vikki Pendry of York Edible Schools (Y.E.S. – part of Edible York) and me. Two local schools were offered two apple trees each (courtesy of Y.E.S.), and an accompanying poetry workshop from me.

The first school to take up the offer was, appropriately, Applefields School, followed swiftly by Naburn Primary School.

Planting apple trees in February is a splendidly muddy business, but fortunately the children had been primed to bring wellies that day, so much stomping could be enjoyed by all.

Apple tree planting at Applefields School

Apple tree planting at Applefields School

Less muddy were our poetry workshops, in which the children learned and performed a poem I had written specially for them all about the wildlife the apple trees would support as they matured.

Then the children created their own class poem about what the trees and their fruit would mean to them.

It was great to see such purposeful and imaginative learning going on at these two schools. Claire Hopkinson, Form 3 teacher at Applefields, told us afterwards:

‘We loved having you to visit us and the pupils really did have a great deal of fun and enjoyment. They performed the poems in assembly so everyone in school has benefitted from your workshop.’

Planting mission accomplished at Applefields School

Planting mission accomplished at Applefields School

We hope the apple trees will leave a tasty legacy for these children for years to come.

This was one of a range of food-related poetry events that I have put on. If you fancy some poetree or other food-related poetry at your school, then just get in touch. (Though I have to tell you, the current funding for the apple trees has been used up now!)

Meanwhile, do check out the excellent work of York Edible Schools and Edible York. You’ll find loads of resources there to help you get growing, and teach others to grow too.

Anneliese Emmans Dean – theBigBuzz – Bringing poetry to life

 

 

Terrific Technologies at St Anthony’s Primary School

It was Terrific Technologies week at St Anthony’s Catholic Primary School in Leeds last week, and I went along one afternoon to teach Year 4 how to take photos using my BigBuzz Photography Technique and my digital cameras. The children caught on fast. Very fast! Take a look at some of the terrific photos they took in their school grounds:

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It’s amazing what you can find on a cold, grey afternoon in February when you’re being observant, isn’t it?

What did the children think of the workshop? Well, more than one came up to me and said they now wanted to be a photographer when they grew up!

And what did form teacher Miss McGuire think about it all?

‘Thanks so much for the fabulous workshop. The children really loved it and I was so impressed by the quality of the photos they took!’

I was really impressed too! Congratulations to Year 4 for learning to use the terrific technology that is the digital camera so fast and so well. It’s a skill for life. Who knows where it will lead them?

If you’d like a BigBuzz photography workshop in your school, and you’re within an hour of York, then just get in touch.

And you can find out more about my photography workshops here and here .

Anneliese Emmans Dean – theBigBuzz

Bowled over by Bolton-on-Swale

It was my second visit to Bolton-on-Swale Primary School. I spent half a day there last year celebrating World Book Day, as a result of which Mrs Dobson, the Head Teacher, invited me back for a full day this year.

And what a day it turned out to be!

I kick-started the day with an interactive poetry show for the whole school in which I performed poems from both my award-winning Buzzing! book and my forthcoming Flying High! book too.

Then Mrs Jones’ Class 4 (Years 5 & 6) knocked my socks off with the fabulous minibeast poems they wrote in our Minibeast Magic workshop. Each and every one of the pupils imagined really well what it was like to be a particular minibeast, and they used lots of magic tricks I showed them to make their poems sparkle.

Mr Ramsbottom’s Class 3 (Years 3 & 4) and I went on a wildlife walk. After which the pupils tickled me pink with the rhyming couplet poem they came up with, all about the things we’d seen. My favourite couplet was:

‘Rooks retreating to their nest
Trying to avoid the Class 3 test’

Rooks' nest at Bolton-on-Swale Primary School

Rooks’ nest at Bolton-on-Swale Primary School

The rest of the school giggled at that too, when Class 3 performed their poem in the sharing assembly at the end of the day. In which Reception warmed everyone up with their Warm-Up Rhyme from our Rhyme Time Ramble, and KS1 performed the brand new minibeast poem that they’d created outdoors in our Millipedes Galore workshop.

What a great day’s poetry from fabulous children. And what lucky children they are, too, to have such lovely school grounds to enjoy – including their very own Reflection Garden. There we spotted bumblebees, hoverflies, spiders and even the cuckoo spit of froghopper nymphs.

The Reflection Garden at Bolton-on-Swale Primary School - complete with storyteller's chair

The Reflection Garden at Bolton-on-Swale Primary School – complete with storyteller’s chair

Thank you to all the teachers and teaching assistants who pitched in so enthusiastically with my workshops. Here’s some of their feedback:

‘This session (in which the children were writing minibeast poems) was brilliantly modelled with enthusiasm and fantastic creativity/subject knowledge. As a result the children were excited, inspired and consequently wrote poems of a very high standard.’
Mrs Jones, Year 5/6 teacher

‘A very inspiring morning! All children were engaged and took an active role when learning the rhymes.’
Victoria Moodie, Reception teacher

If you’d like a poetry visit to your school, then just get in contact!

Anneliese Emmans DeantheBigBuzz – Bringing poetry to life

 

World Book Day 2016

Rarely have I felt as underdressed as I did when I visited Osbaldwick Primary School on World Book Day last week. I was the only person in mufti. The whole school – including all the teachers – were dressed as characters from books!

At the school’s Osbaldwick Lane site, the teachers were dressed as characters from Alice in Wonderland:

Osbaldwick Alice cr 2

And at the school’s other, Leyes, site, the teachers were all dressed as dalmations from 101 Dalmations:

Osbaldwick dalmation 2

I had to concentrate very hard to be able to perform my Buzzing! show whilst looking out over a sea of Wallys and Little Red Riding Hoods and Harry Potters and Hermiones and … and … and … .

In the audience of my Leyes site show I spotted a Charlotte from Charlotte’s Web. Just the person – sorry, just the spider – I needed to come and perform my spider poem with me. Charlotte was fabulously attired, and with exactly the right number of limbs!

Thank you to everyone at both Osbaldwick Primary School sites for welcoming me so warmly into your school on World Book Day. I enjoyed putting on shows and workshops for you all in your fabulous costumes.

Alice and the King of Hearts who assisted me in my morning Buzzing! show

Alice (aka Mrs Mowat) and the King of Hearts who assisted me in my morning Buzzing! show

What did Osbaldwick think of my visit? Well, Year 6 teacher Mrs Mowat said I’d put on:

‘A fantastic workshop. The children were heavily involved and really enjoyed creating (and performing) their own poem.’

Afterwards she emailed to say:

‘The children (and the staff) throughly enjoyed themselves! I have had people coming up to me all afternoon saying how amazing they thought your show and workshops were. Thanks again for such a wonderful world book day.’

Well, thank you, Osbaldwick Primary, for inviting me to share World Book Day 2016 with you. I can only apologise for having been so boringly dressed … .

Thank you to Book Events for Schools for organising this visit for me. If you’d like me to come and put on some ‘amazing’ poetry shows and workshops at your school, then just get in contact with Book Events for Schools.

Anneliese Emmans Dean – www.thebigbuzz.biz – Bringing poetry to life

Topic: Minibeasts!

All the pupils at Hague Bar Primary School in Derbyshire are studying minibeasts this term, and their classrooms, hall and corridors are teeming with fabulous minibeast artwork. How do I know? Because I was there on Friday, to add some minibeast poetry to the mix!

I started the day by performing my interactive, cross-curricular, minibeast poetry show Buzzing! for the whole school. (During which much giggling was had by all …) I then spent the rest of the day working with each of their four classes in turn – indoors and out. At the end of the day the children all came together in a sharing assembly and performed some of the fantastic minibeast poems they’d created.

How did the day go? Well, the Year 5/6 teacher Jacinta Robinson thanked me for:

‘your brilliant assembly and workshops.
The staff and children loved it!
We would all highly recommend you to other schools.’

And Year 3/4 teacher Leah Jackson said my minibeast poetry workshop with her class was:

‘fantastic. All the children were fully engaged and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Every child produced something to be proud of.’

I was proud of the minibeast poems the children created too. As were their parents, some of whom had come along for the sharing assembly.

I think the school has something else to be proud of as well: the views it commands over the Derbyshire countryside. How’s about this for a view out of a classroom window?

The stunning view from a Hague Bar classroom

The stunning view from a Hague Bar classroom

I could go on at length about how enthusiastic and welcoming the children were, how inventive their poems were, how helpful all the staff were, etc. etc. etc. – but I have an important job to get on with. At the end of my visit the children bought more copies of my Buzzing! book than I had with me – so I need to go and sign and dedicate a lot more copies now and get them in the post!

If you’re studying minibeasts in your primary school and would like me to come and put on some cross-curricular minibeast poetry activities for your pupils, then do email me. I look forward to hearing from you.

Cover of my book Buzzing!

Anneliese Emmans Deanwww.thebigbuzz.biz – Bringing poetry to life

Rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb

You may recall that back in March at the York Food For Life Awards in March I received a very special lunch invitation:

A very special invitation ...

A very special invitation …

FISH_9178 - EditedLast Thursday was The Big Day! Yes, on Thursday I went to Fishergate Primary School to sample one of their school lunches in the company of many of their – very friendly – pupils.

The pupils were very enthusiastic about the food at their school, and were keen to tell me all about their three-week menu rotation, their salad bar and their baked potato ordering system.

Eating lunch at Fishergate Primary School

One of my lunch companions at Fishergate Primary School

I was assigned two excellent guides for my visit: Thibaut and Mac. They showed me round their lovely school and took me to see their allotment too, which is in their school field. There pupils have raised beds in which they grow many different fruits, veg and herbs. They’re particularly good at growing rhubarb – as you can see below!

Fishergate pupils at their allotment with freshly picked rhubarb

Fishergate pupils at their allotment with freshly picked rhubarb

We were very lucky because Chloe Smee of the Food for Life Partnership was able to join us for lunch and at the allotment. (Fishergate Primary School has been awarded the Bronze Food For Life Award.)

Another highlight of my visit was meeting Daisy, the talented artist who had created my lunch invitation. And I also met some of the catering staff who make the school dinners.

An unexpected special treat was that I was given some of Fishergate’s fantastic rhubarb to take home. My husband has already made it into a delicious cake. Yum!

Thank you to everyone at Fishergate who welcomed me so warmly into their school. I hope that over the coming weeks you’ll enjoy eating the many fruits and veg you’re growing.

Two very helpful Fishergate pupils, justifiably proud of their school

Two very helpful Fishergate pupils, justifiably proud of their school

I’m now looking forward to meeting some more foodie schoolchildren – at the Calderdale Food For Life School Awards Ceremony which is being held in July.

Anneliese Emmans Dean – www.theBigBuzz.biz – Bringing poetry to life

Photographing the darling buds of May

The theme chosen by Half Acres Primary School in Castleford for my photography workshops with them on Monday was ‘Signs of Summer’. However, this message clearly hadn’t percolated through to the relevant meteorological authorities, because the weather as I travelled down to them was appalling: driving, torrential rain and thunderous grey skies.

Fortunately, by the time Year 6 were ready to go on the photography missions I assigned them late morning, the rain had eased enough for us to be outside collecting material to photograph – albeit taking the actual photos under cover.

Taking photos undercover

Taking outdoor photos under cover

And when Year 5 went out in the afternoon, the sun decided to make a (brief) appearance, which meant that the children were able to find – and photograph – some fantastic minibeasts, amongst other things.

Young Half Acres photographers

Taking outdoor photos outdoors proper

I was very impressed by all the children I worked with at Half Acres. They got the hang of my Top Secret photography technique very quickly and put it into action in their school grounds enthusiastically.

The results? Well, here are a few of the – many – great photos they took:

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Well done to you all! I think Half Acres will be able to create their ‘Signs of Summer’ photography display after all!

Thank you to everyone at Half Acres who made my visit possible. Here’s to a sunny summer for us all …

If you’d like a photography workshop for your primary school, do get in touch. I’m afraid I won’t be able to guarantee good weather for my visit to you, but your pupils will learn a skill for life in a workshop that enhances their observational, motor, teamwork, art and IT skills, increases their confidence and their curiousity and knowledge about their surroundings, and leaves you with a bank of great photos – and great budding photographers.

‘I’m going to go out tomorrow lunchtime and look for more minibeasts on the playing field.’ Year 5 pupil

‘I’m going to go to my grandma’s house tonight and take pictures of her garden. She’s got lots of flowers.’ Year 5 pupil

Anneliese Emmans Dean – www.theBigBuzz.biz