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



Flying High again

Storyteller Catherine Heinemeyer and I had great fun last week when we performed our Flying High show all about birds to The Children’s Society PACT Project Youth Club here in York. I say we performed the show ‘to’ them. Actually ‘with’ would be a much more accurate term, as the Youth Club members joined in with great gusto. They joined in with the poems I performed and they told us all about the birds in their gardens and then at the end, we all made up a story together, about a robin.

Joining in the storytelling

Joining in the storytelling

Catherine and I were thrilled to read the feedback forms we asked our audience to fill in. All the young people and all their support workers said they’d enjoyed the show ‘a lot’, and they all said they’d learned new things about birds.

Filling in the Feedback Form!

Filling in the Feedback Form!

My feedback about the evening: it was a joy to perform for (with!) these young people, and to chat with them afterwards. Thank you for having us!

Me with Catherine Heinemeyer and one of the Youth Club memb

Me with Catherine Heinemeyer and one of the Youth Club members at the end of our show

Anneliese Emmans DeantheBigBuzz – Bringing Poetry to Life

Brilliant Bridlington!

Well, I’ve never been hugged so much after a Buzzing! performance as I was in Bridlington last Friday! Here I am with some of the great huggers of Bridlington:

Buzzing! in Bridlington (Photo by David Roberts)

Buzzing! in Bridlington (Photo by David Roberts)

My performance took place at North Bridlington Library, for an audience from Priory View. They sang and shouted very lustily (at the appropriate moments!) in the show. And they learned the difference between bluebottles and greenbottles, and how many spots ladybirds have, and how many eyes spiders have. And by the end of the show, they were turning into proper scientists, joining in with the Latin names for the creatures in the show! All very apt for a show put on as part of the BIS Learning Revolution Festival.

Some more of my Bridlington audience - with their Buzzing! bookmarks (Photo by David Roberts)

Some more of my Bridlington audience – with their Buzzing! bookmarks (Photo by David Roberts)

Our host, North Bridlington Library, is a fantastic place. It’s a large, light, modern building offering great facilities. I was very warmly welcomed there by all the staff, to whom many thanks (especially to David Roberts for taking these fab. photos, Margaret Helliwell for her excellent directions and efficient organisation, and Paul Hughes-Buchanan for his assistance setting up).

Thank you also to Mai Lin Li, who organised events for the project in our region.

Most importantly, happy bug hunting to everyone from Priory View! With a bit of luck, you might even be able to see butterflies around before winter sets in. (We’ve had Red admirals, a Comma and a Small copper in theBigBuzz garden in York in the last week.)

Anneliese Emmans Deaninfo@theBigBuzz.bizwww.theBigBuzz.biz