One of our wonderful Coventry schools, Limbrick Wood Primary, was delighted to welcome a champion of English to their school last week. And what an effect he had on the children… and the teachers! Year 3 teacher Laura Skipper tells the tale.
Last Wednesday was one of the most exciting of the school year so far (for the teachers and children!) and one that I had been talking about for months. It was the first author visit I had taken part in since I started teaching. The author and poet Michael Rosen (of ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ fame) was on his way to visit our school and my Year 3 class to complete a poetry workshop. This was to be followed up with a visit the next day,with KS2, to see Michael perform his poetry at Warwick Arts Centre. I was really looking forward to meeting a famous author and to seeing how the children reacted to him.
It started after I received a leaflet and letter from the Children’s Bookshop advertising a poetry performance event by Michael with a chance for a class workshop. Usually I receive so many of these letters I tend to quickly read and bin them (!) but this time the author’s name really caught my eye. I remembered being in Year 5 myself and looking at Michael Rosen poems at school and instantly recalled the excitement his books and poems brought to me then.
As a teacher I wanted this same enthusiasm and excitement for my own class and instantly started thinking of opportunities for linking this with the curriculum. In the end, there were so many ways, we managed to link the visit to lessons and learning (reports, biographies, portraits, illustrations, recounts, performance poetry, ICT research and ICT presentations just to name a few) and it was lovely to see how engaged the children were and how the visit gave them a purpose for their work.
The children had been told about the visit and had been completing work linked to the author for a few weeks beforehand, and were very keen to finally meet him. Michael arrived early and as he was waiting he was greeted by a selection of teachers who were ‘just popping in’ to the staffroom. The children were extremely excited on the day of the visit and were open mouthed as they saw Michael walking through the hall, on the way to the classroom. It was a real WOW moment for all.
Michael was extremely engaging and started performing a silly nonsense poem for the class – this certainly got their attention. He talked about their local area and, together with the children, he modelled and wrote a poem about Tile Hill. The children went on to write their own poems about the local area in the same style and many children took this task home and came in with more poems the next day.
At parents evening that night, parents were also over the moon about the visit and could not stop talking about how excited the children had been. I was told about a reluctant reader who had read a whole book of Michael’s poetry before bed and had to have his book confiscated by his mum!
The follow up visit to see him perform the next day was brilliant for all of KS2 and he was again his witty, funny self. It was great to see the staff, as well as the oldest children in the school, show such enthusiasm for an author. However, the icing on the cake for Year 3 was that they were invited by Michael to perform their poem in front of 200+ people at the front with him…a moment I am sure that lots of them will never forget.
One week later, they are all still talking about the visit and using catchphrases they picked up from the poems around school…“THE NOISE”.
I am already looking to organise another author/poet visit and would recommend this to everyone. It was not just an amazing event for the children but was a dream come true for my 10 year old self.
We’re looking forward to reading some of those poems! Our thanks go to Laura and her class for sharing this with us. It is amazing to think how an inspirational moment can last a lifetime…
Who has inspired you?