Pizza and Poetry Party

Catherine Bamford, Volunteer Manager at York Blind and Partially Sighted Society (YBPSS), is full of bright ideas! I know this from her days working at St Nicks. (Here are some of the things she and I got up to together then.) One of her latest bright ideas was to put on a Pizza and Poetry Party for YBPSS volunteers as part of Volunteers’ Week, which started yesterday. And guess who she asked to put on the ‘poetry’ part of the party. Yes, yours truly.

My remit was to put on an event that would result in the participants creating a poem that YBPSS could display. As it was a Pizza and Poetry Party, I came up with the idea of their creating Poetry Pizzas, to complement the pizzas we were going to eat.

Putting on the 'Poetry' part of our 'Pizza and Poetry Party' at YBPSS

Putting on the ‘Poetry’ part of our ‘Pizza and Poetry Party’ at YBPSS

The participants were a varied bunch, some fully sighted, some visually impaired, and included volunteers, a trustee and the Chief Officer herself!

I was really impressed by how they all threw themselves into our poetry workshop, and came up with poems that shone a light on the fabulous work they all do for and with blind and partially sighted people in York.

Some of their poems made us all chuckle. Some brought tears to my eyes. All went onto our poetry pizzas – which you can see in the photo below.

With some of the participants and their Poetry Pizzas

With some of the YBPSS participants and their Poetry Pizzas

Thank you to everyone who took part. It was a great pleasure meeting you all. And a privilege finding out about the volunteering work you do, making a difference to the lives of the – surprisingly large number of – people with visual impairments in York.

(Oh, and thank you for the pizzas – and cake! – which were all very delicious!)

If you fancy volunteering for YBPSS, contact Volunteer Manager Catherine on 01904 636269 or volunteermanager@ybpss.org.

Anneliese Emmans Dean – theBigBuzz – Bringing poetry to life

Let me edu-tain you!

STOP PRESS: My new book Flying High! is published! 

<Scroll down for the latest blog posts>

Welcome to theBigBuzz, home of poet and performer Anneliese Emmans Dean. Let me edu-tain you with my award winning:

and my acclaimed:

I’m all about promoting learning through laughter, rhythm and rhyme, wellbeing through words and sustainability through creativity. So whether you’re a primary school looking for a poet or photographer to visit, a theatre or festival looking for an edu-taining family show, a club looking for an edu-taining after-dinner speaker, or a parent looking for a photography workshop to give your child as a present, then just get in touch, and I’ll see how I can help.

Mooch around this site, read the feedback (from schools and from events) and scroll down through the blog posts below to learn more.

And to find out where you can see a show or take part in a workshop, click here.

Anneliese Emmans Dean

Continue reading

Performing at Le Moulin Rouge

Well, I never thought when I started up theBigBuzz back in 2007 that I would end up performing at Le Moulin Rouge in the company of Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden, Ant and Dec. But that’s exactly what happened this Yorkshire Day (= 1st August, for the uninitiated!)

Perhaps I need to unpack that a little. Le Moulin Rouge in question was a fantastic Spiegeltent temporarily erected in the centre of my home town York, as part of The Great Yorkshire Fringe Festival.

Le Moulin Rouge (The York spiegeltent version!)

Le Moulin Rouge (The York spiegeltent version!)

And Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden, Ant and Dec were in fact present in the guise of face masks only, aka local volunteers judging the Yorkshire’s Got Talent portion of the day’s events. (And boy, has Yorkshire ever got talent! The contestants all sang amazingly!)

Simon Cowell (almost)

Simon Cowell (almost)

What was the day? Well, it was the family part of the Yorkshire Day Festival, a whole day and night’s worth of acts performing to raise money for the Lord Mayor’s charities, one of which is St Nicks (of which I am a Patron).

It was fabulous to watch so many other talented acts over the course of the day – and in such an amazing performance space.

Ukelele Sunshine Revival performing in Le Moulin Rouge

Ukelele Sunshine Revival performing in Le Moulin Rouge

My contribution to the day was an edu-taining ‘Birds and the Bees’ poetry show. I’m pleased to say the feedback was great – including this on the day:

‘The Birds and The Bees act was very good. My granddaughter loved it and was up on stage holding up drawings. Very good day indeed.’

and this from @FamiliesYork on Twitter:

‘Loved it. Anneliese was amazing of on

Can’t ask for more than that!

I hope that much money was raised for the Lord Mayor’s charities. And that the families who came along were inspired by my portion of the day to do plenty of minibeast hunting and birding over the summer holidays.

Thank you to the friendly and professional crew at the venue who were a great help to us all. And to Emma Courtney of The Social Octopus and Kellie Taylor for organising the event.

The Moulin Rouge crew in action

The Moulin Rouge crew in action

If you’d like some ‘amazing’ eco-edutainment at your event, just get in touch!

Anneliese Emmans Dean theBigBuzz – Bringing poetry to life

AGM – with attitude!

Let’s face it, an AGM can be a little … lacking in pizzazz. However worthy the organisation. And Edible York, the organisation holding its AGM last night, is a *very* worthy organisation. It’s a ‘lively local charity that aims to support people to become closer to the food they eat’. Take a look at what they get up to here.

To counter the ‘lack-of-pizzazz’-ness of the evening, Edible York invited me to come and perform for them, after the formalities of the agenda were over. So I did just that. A set of poems all about what they get up to, which is growing fruit and veg.

Entertaining at the Edible York AGM

Entertaining at the Edible York AGM

How did it go down? Here’s what one  attendee tweeted afterwards:

‘Spectacular performance poetry this eve from the ever effervescent Anneliese’

Edu-taining at the Edible York AGM

Where would we be without bumblebees? Edu-taining at the Edible York AGM

And another comment:

‘I loved the way you tied everything together with merry words and buzzing characterisations. It made our AGM such a happy, memorable event!!’

Adding to the festive atmosphere was Tim Pheby playing and singing some beautiful songs (and updating us on the England v Slovakia game).

An excellent way to spend a June evening.

If you dig digging, then Edible York are always looking for new volunteers! They’ve recently produced an excellent ‘Guide to Community Growing‘ which you might find inspires you further. You can download a copy here.

And finally … if you’d me to come and pep up your AGM, then get in touch!

Anneliese Emmans DeanBringing poetry to life – theBigBuzz.biz

 

Happy World Poetry Day 2016!

For great cartoons of all the poets who performed at this York Literature Festival poetry feast, go to Sam Zuppardi’s blog: https://brushingup.wordpress.com/2016/01/10/york-literature-festival-programme-launch/ (Scroll right down to the bottom for his cartoon of me performing this very poem!)

Anneliese Emmans DeantheBigBuzz.biz – Bringing poetry to life

The WOW Factor

If you thought The X Factor was exciting, you should have been at the Grand Final of The P Factor in Malton on Friday. It was amazing!

The P Factor is part of the Ryedale Book Festival, and is the brilliant brainchild of award-winning Ryedale-based author Andy Seed. The idea is to get children across Ryedale learning and performing poems (of their own choosing). The early rounds of the competition are held in the schools themselves, then the winning group from each school comes to Malton to perform at The Grand Final.

Teams from 11 Ryedale primary schools turned out to perform this year. I was one of the four Grand Final judges, along with fellow poets Messers John Hegley, Steve Nash and Andy Seed, all of whom performed for the children in the morning.

The 2015 P Factor judges - Steven Nash, Andy Seed, me and John Hegley

The 2015 P Factor judges – Steven Nash, Andy Seed, me and John Hegley

Then, come the afternoon, we had the great privilege of watching teams from all 11 schools perform a huge variety of poems, from funny ones to frightening ones, silly ones to sad ones. Dressed up and armed with a wide variety of props, the children all shone as they performed their poems on stage, under bright lights, to an audience of nearly 300.

The children came from the following schools: Terrington St Mary’sSt Joseph’sSt Benedict’sSettringtonNortonLangtonKirkbymoorsideGillamoorFostonAmotherby. And I’d like to congratulate every single participant from every single one of those schools. You were fantastic!

However, we had to choose a winner. Not easy! But our unanimous decision was that the runners-up were Amotherby Primary School, and the winners were … Kirkbymoorside Primary School, with a fabulous multi-media performance of Michael Rosen’s ‘End of the World’ that included an erupting volcano. You can see pictures of the Year 4 winners in a reprise of their performance on the school’s website.

The winning team was presented with medals and a cup by none other than the Mayor of Malton:

The Mayor of Malton, Cllr Joan Lawrence, at the 2015 P Factor Grand Final.

The Mayor of Malton, Cllr Joan Lawrence, at the 2015 P Factor Grand Final.

The Very Great John Hegley declared the day to have been ‘better than the X Factor’. And who am I to disagree?

The 2015 P Factor Winners from Kirkbymoorside Primary School, getting ready to go home after their triumphant performance.

The 2015 P Factor Winners from Kirkbymoorside Primary School, getting ready to go home after their triumphant performance.

Thank you to all the pupils, parents and teachers who put so much work into this competition. It was all well, well worthwhile. And thank you to Andy Seed and Sarah Tyson of Ryedale Book Festival for making the competition happen.

If you’re a Ryedale primary school and would like to take part in next year’s P Factor, then email Ryedale Book Festival.

Anneliese Emmans DeantheBigBuzz.biz – Bringing poetry to life

Best in class?

Stop press: Send your votes by 8pm on Sunday 1st November to  justaboutbooksnsomerset@gmail.com (My book Buzzing! is in the Poetry category.)

Calling all primary teachers, teaching assistants and school librarians! What books do you find work best in class? I ask because the shortlist for the North Somerset Teachers’ Book Award has just been announced, and the organisers would like you to vote for which of these books you think will work best in your classrooms.

Screen shot of Website of the North Somerset Teachers Book Award

The North Somerset Teachers’ Book Award is a new award. As you can see from the screenshot above, it aims to:

‘champion a selection of the best children’s literature on offer for use in the primary classroom.

As professionals who work with children every day, we are passionate about raising the profile of quality children’s literature which will engage and inspire children to develop a life-long love of reading.’

Hear hear! And given all that, I’m mighty proud that they have shortlisted my book Buzzing! – Discover the poetry in garden minibeasts in the Poetry category. The other two poetry contenders are My Rhino Plays the Xylophone by Graham Denton and What Are We Fighting For? by Brian Moses and Roger Stevens.

Cover of my book Buzzing!

As I mentioned when I was longlisted in August, the award review of Buzzing! highlights many of the features of the book that I had hoped would appeal to readers in general and teachers in particular. I wanted to create a book in which science met poetry, a book that would present a cross-curricular approach to minibeasts, a book that would enhance and support teachers in their practice. And a book that would make you giggle! (Learning through laughter, rhythm and rhyme being what I’m all about.)

Have I succeeded in this? Well, judge for yourselves! You can download a free sample from Buzzing! and a free Buzzing! teacher resource from my website. (Where you can also order copies of the book, if you are so minded.)

Meanwhile, here are some quotes from the award review of Buzzing!:

‘Never have minibeasts been more appealing than in this book!’

‘As you read [the poems], you find yourself getting into the rhythm of the lines and wanting to read aloud.’

‘Another strength of this book is the fact that it encourages the reader to find out more’

‘A great resource for livening up lessons on life processes and living things!’

‘Fun to use as a cross curricular resource or for performance poetry!’

You can find out more about how Buzzing! came into being in this perspicacious interview, carried out for the award by 12-year-old Tayler.

I think this award is a very valuable initiative – and not just because my book has been nominated! I believe it has great value for teachers, libarians and support staff in primary schools across the country. The award organisers have put a lot of time, expertise and passion into selecting books in five categories (Picture Books, Poetry, Quality Fiction, Read Aloud and Information) that they genuinely believe will support and enhance classroom practice. So do join in, peruse the books on the shortlist – and vote!

A note from the award organisers:

‘Voting is only open to teachers, school librarians, support staff etc. as we really want the winners to be chosen for what teachers think will work in class!’

Email your votes to justaboutbooksnsomerset@gmail.com

(Oh, and if you’d like a Buzzing! visit to your school at some point, just email me.)

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