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  • Writer's pictureAttie Lime

It's the Little Things

It's been a while since I wrote a blog post. Sorry about that. I've been very busy in Poetryland, and even busier in Everything-Else-Land!

Before I start, I’m no expert at this school visit lark. I haven’t been doing it for decades like many of my poetry friends. But I have been working with and/or raising children for a long time and am fairly well-versed (sorry) in how things work in primary school settings. And I’ve been writing for, erm, pushing 40 years on and off.

I just want to share a few things about a recent visit, that I feel proud of in terms of spreading the poetry joy to children who may not have had much interest in poetry before my visit. These 'little things' translate directly into some of the big reasons why I do what I do.

The Child Who Remembered

A child happily described the imagination game I played with them last time I visited. That felt good.

The Child Who Didn’t Want To

Rushed some words onto the page in seconds; threw the paper at me: I’ve finished.

- Later in the session, they wrote something short, of their own choosing, and performed it (with superb rhythm and zing) at the front.

- They came over to say Thank You to me at the end.

- When no longer engaged, I lent them a resource of my own, and asked for trust. They pushed to see what they might get away with. They let me and the teacher think that they may have abused that trust. I checked later – everything was exactly as it should be. I found the child at the end of school and gave them one of my poetry pens: I trusted you and you lived up to it. Warm fuzzies, big time 😊.

The Ones Who Loved Marjorie

I had Marjorie, my poetry parrot puppet, on my table in assembly for everyone to meet. In Reception class she got tummy tickles. In Year 1 we were far too busy being seagulls called Kevin to think about her, but in Year 2 they asked for her. But I had to dash – a busy day pinging from class to class: I’ll leave her with you for a bit! So off I went, and Marjorie spent some time with Year 2 (after a quiet question from the teacher regarding Marjorie’s personality, and general poetry parrot expectations!). The children asked about her in every class after that. She’s a superstar, and if I’m not careful she might just take over visits completely.

The Child Who Sang

What joy, to give a poetry task, and have not only a lovely personal poem written, but to have it performed wholly unselfconsciously in song, in front of two year groups. Kids are amazing.

The Poet Who Ignored School Rules

As a child I was absolutely rule-abiding. As a teacher I did what I was supposed to. Oh, the pleasure I take in being a little bit naughty as a visiting poet! After a joining-in rendition of my poem about what you are NOT allowed to do in school, just hearing the gasps and seeing the faces when I asked, Are you allowed to throw paper aeroplanes in school? (No!) OK, so are POETS allowed to throw paper aeroplanes in school? (No!) They thought a bit, tried to read my expression…a few Yeses crept in… Then I produced a handful of planes. Guess what happened next? SUCH FUN.

The Children Who Were So Much Braver Than Me

They wrote poems about their own emotions, and special places that they like to go when they feel a certain way. Some of them volunteered to read those poems in front of their peers. How brave and brilliant is that?

As I say often, Best. Job. Ever.

Keep reading, writing, and imagining!

And schools - get a poet in to visit - they might just surprise you!

Attie x

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