Do you have an ‘impossible to teach without’ book? A book that you have used year after year, with class after class. A ‘Please Miss, read that one’ kind of a book?
I’ve got a few but the one that tops my list is ‘Quick, let’s get out of here‘ by Michael Rosen. The book is a collection of funny poems about the things that children say, do and think (or perhaps the things that they wish they had said, done and thought). It’s the place where you will find Rosen’s poem Chocolate Cake, along with: Washing up, The Watch, Go-Kart, and the ‘Eddie poems’. Each and every one of these poems connects with the children, talks to them in a language they know and takes them on a journey of gasps, sighs, anxiety and laughter. After 18 years of reading this book I still share the guilt of stealing chocolate cake in the middle of the night and the joy of a two year-old Eddie proclaiming ‘Hallo Gerbils’ at the exterminated mice in the Rosen’s kitchen bin. It is an ‘impossible to teach without’ kind of a book.
Now you may not know this, but this small ‘impossible to teach without’ book has magical powers! So magical that when placed in the hands of a KS2 teacher it can quell the most quarrelsome class, inspire the uninspired and engage the unengageable.
If read sparingly but regularly at the beginning of the autumn term this little book can be the carrot that every teacher needs for a quiet classroom, completed work and willing children. They simply can’t get enough of it! Every class I have taught have begged for an Eddie poem and of course pleaded for chocolate cake. This little book is one of the best behaviour management tools I know!
‘Quick, let’s get out of here’ was published in 1983. I bought my copy in 1995 when I was training to teach. I’ve read this book to every class I’ve taught and if I were to meet a new class tomorrow it would be the first thing I’d pack in my bag. My copy is now yellow around the edges and held together with sellotape and coverlon. It’s now far too fragile for little hands to handle but not so infirm that it cannot be read to their eager little ears. ‘Quick, let’s get out of here’ is definitely my ‘impossible to teach without’ book.
Rachel Clarke, Coventry Primary English
Read about Michael Rosen’s visit to a Coventry school here.
Click here to see Michael Rosen perform Chocolate Cake