Posted in Poetry Craft, Poetry Fun!

I am a Bird – Poetry with Craft!

This is a challenge to write about a living creature in the first person – as if you were that creature. I am going to be a bird – but you could also be a dolphin, a pig, a fish, a dog, or a frog. It does need to be something you can draw, because later, if you want to, you will make your poem into a mobile!

Keep your lines as short as possible.

The first line of your poem will say what you are.

I am a bird!

For your next line, think about what your choice has on the outside – mine has feathers, but yours might have scales, skin, fur or spines. Describe what these things can feel, but instead of saying ‘feel’ say ‘SEE’. My second line is:

my feathers can see the wind

In your third line, describe the way your choice moves- I have chosen fly, but it could be swim, race, jump, run, or hop, any movement your creature makes.

I fly

You are going to describe your creature moving  ‘through the dreams of’:

I fly through the dreams of

Then you need to think of whose dreams they move though –  grass, sea, waves, a stream?  My bird flies over trees. So I have decided on:

I fly through the dreams of trees

Next, choose an adjective to describe your subject. It could be a word that describes appearance or movement or emotion. I could say ‘leafy green’ or ‘swaying’ trees. But I have decided on:

I fly through the dreams of lonely trees

That is your third line finished.

This next line is your last line. You will use the noise your creature makes, and say why they make that sound – using another part of the animal. So if it is a dog, your line might be ‘I bark to make my legs run faster’ or if it is a fish, which cannot make a sound, use whisper – you might say ‘I whisper to tell my scales to shine’. My last line is:

I sing to fill my hollow bones.

So now you have a poem – this is mine:

I am a bird!

My feathers can see the wind

I fly through the dreams of lonely trees

I sing to fill my hollow bones.

Hooray! You might want to put your poem to one side for a day and see if any other ideas come to you. When you next look at it and read it out you might ‘hear’ something that doesn’t sound quite right which you can change. Read your poem to another person – that always helps.

When you are happy with your poem – this is the next step! You are going to make a poem mobile. You will need some fairly stiff A4 paper or card.

Take your paper and fold it in half.

Then fold it in half again:

Open it up and cut along the creases you have made so you have four pieces of paper – if you have large writing or think you will need more space, use two pieces of A4 cut in half.

Now you need to draw your animal four times!

Because I’m drawing a bird, I am using my card sideways on because it is a better shape for drawing a  bird. Make sure that whatever you draw, you make it as big as possible on the card. Remember, you need space to write your poem line on each animal! Here is how I drew my bird:

Next, cut your animal out:

And use it as a template by drawing round it for all the other animals:

Then cut the rest out – you should now have 4 creatures, all the same:

Now to write your poem on your animals! Write it in pencil first. One line on each creature. Decide where your writing looks best on your shape. Experiment until it looks right. Try writing with felt tip on a separate piece of paper like the one you have used, to see if the pen shows though. If it does, use a black crayon to go over your writing. If it does not show through, use felt tip. This is because you are going to write on both sides of your creature. When the felt tip is dry, rub out the pencil lines.

Then colour in your animals, both sides! Use coloured crayons if possible so the writing on your animals shows up.

Next you thread the animals together so they can hang from the ceiling or a window. Thread a thick needle with thick thread. This is embroidery thread. You could use thin ribbon or string and make holes with something else – put the holes near the edge but but be careful not to put the holes too near the edge.

I have threaded the needle and thread through the  middle top of the bottom animal. I have knotted the end of the thread.

Then I have come back through the bottom middle of the next animal up and knotted the thread when I have decided how long I want it to be – a couple of inches is enough:

Then I attached the next bird up in the same way:

When you get to the top bird thread a needle through and knot and leave the end loose for hanging where you want it to be.

Then you are read to put it up! Here is mine – because it is two sided, it doesn’t matter which way the birds turn, you can still read the poem!

I hope you enjoyed making your poem mobile! Of course, you don’t need to make the mobile, you can just write the poem – I’d love to see any poems and any mobiles you make!

 

 

Posted in Poetry Craft, Poetry Fun!

Tribble Poems on Pop-Up Cards

The Volcano

belched

behind a hand of smoke

 

Susan Eames, Helen Laycock, Liz Brownlee

 

A while ago I invented a type of poem which I called a ‘tribble’ (which might give you a clue to another of my loves!). I have played it with friends on a writing forum. One person comes up with a noun, (a naming word), the next a verb ( a doing word) and the last person finishes the poem off with a short phrase, that should contain an adverb or adjective (describing words), but could contain just another noun.

It’s an interactive way of writing a poem, and can be great fun, as others people’s ideas spark your imagination.

You could write one with your family, or you could write one with one other person who will choose the verb in the second line. Or you could write one entirely on your own. In that case, you need to write out lots of verbs (skipping, rolling, patting, singing etc), cut them out, and fold them in half, and choose one at random after you have chosen your noun.

I am setting you the task of choosing a nature noun. This is mine:

That tree

Ask someone else to look at your noun and add a verb ( a doing word). When I played this with Susan, she added ‘commands’.

That tree

commands

Then you add the last line. Keep it to as few words as possible.

That tree

commands

the birds to sing.

There! You have a tribble poem.

So – what to do with your tribble? A tribble is very short so it is easy to write inside a card. Why not make a pop-up card to display or to give to someone else? Choose the tribble you like best.

Start off with a piece of A4 paper, sturdy paper or card if possible.

Fold it in half. The card will have its long side fold at the top. This is what it looks like opened up:

Write your poem out neatly on a scrap of paper. See how large it is and how much space it will take up on your card. Make sure it only takes up half the space, less if possible. You will write your poem, not where you would normally write you signature, on the bottom, but on the TOP half of the card, on the left.

I wrote it in the card in pencil first, and decided to make the last line into two lines to take up less space.

Next, close your card and along the fold cut two parallel lines – about half way along the space left over from where you have written your poem. My lines were 3 and a half cm deep.

When you open up the card again, push through where you have cut from the outside – this is what it will look like:

Now you have to decide what you want to pop up when you open up your card. I decided on a tree, of course!  The tree or whatever you draw has to be small enough to stay inside the card when it is shut, but big enough to pop up and look good when it is open. Shut the card to measure how big your pop up with be. It has to be smaller than the distance between the bottom of the hole and the edge of the card.

The easiest way to make sure it will fit this space is to cut a piece of paper that big and draw what you want to pop up on it – making it as big as possible.

I did mine by cutting out two pieces of coloured card and making my tree fit the space.

I stuck the tree together. Then I drew a bird onto the back of a coloured piece of origami paper so it was lovely and bright when I cut it out and turned it over. Then I stuck it to the tree.

Then I stuck the tree to the pop up piece in the card, and added some details to the background – I also rubbed out my pencil lines.

When I open and shut the card it works beautifully. But on the outside of the card is a hole where the pop-up is.

This does not matter if you are just going to display it – but if you want to give it to someone you will need to fold another piece of paper to make a cover for your card.

You will probably want to draw on the cover, if it is to be a card! Do this first in case you make a mistake. Then you can stick it to the card or you could staple it.

You could also use the Tribble poem-writing idea to write poem to go in a tiny Poetry Book. Making a poetry book is easier than this!

Hope you enjoy doing this! I certainly did!

 

Posted in Poetry Fun!

Making a Poetry Paper Chain

I love making paper chains and thought it would be fun to do one with a poem on.

This poem will be all about ADVERBS. Adverbs answer questions like, how, when, where, etc. Adverbs often end in ‘ly’, but not always. We are going to use adverbs to describe how a frog is croaking. 

You will write the poem first and then you will make a paper chain frog to write your poem on!

The first line of the poem is ‘The frog is croaking’ and so the first frog in the paper chain will have the words ‘The frog is croaking’ on it.

The last line of the poem is ‘on his log’, which will be written the last frog.

You will need to choose six adverbs to poetically describe how the frog is croaking, to write in on the frogs between the first frog and the last frog.

Maybe you want to describe how the frog is feeling – you might want to say he is croaking sadly, happily, or grumpily. You could draw your frogs expression to match how it is feeling!

Or perhaps you want to choose some rhyming words.  You would need three pairs of rhyming words. ‘Sadly’ rhymes with ‘badly’ and ‘madly’ . ‘Grumpily’ rhymes with jumpily. Jumpily isn’t a real word, but in a poem, you can use words that aren’t real, as long as people can understand what you mean and they fit!

You could use your six words to describe a real frog. It’s up to you.

Here is my adverb frog poem:

The frog is croaking:

grumpily,

jumpily,

chirpily,

burpily,

happily,

nappily,

on his log.

Here is how to make the frog chain – read all the instructions before starting:

Start with one piece of A4 paper.

Fold it in half along the long side:

Cut along your fold so you have two identical strips:

Then stick the strips together with sticky tape so you have one long strip – make sure you tape both sides. (It’s best to do all this with clean hands, and no crumbs of chocolate on your top which drop off as you lean over your paper… not that this happened to me. Oh, no.)

It should look like this:

Then fold each side into the middle.

Until it looks like this:

Then fold each side into the middle again. Make sure all these creases are pressed down nicely.

You now have all the paper folded into the right number of pieces, but they need to be folded in the right way. Open the paper up:

And starting from one end fold the paper into a zigzag:

Some of your creases will be the wrong way round. Just change the way they go as you fold.

You should end up with a piece of paper that looks like this:

Turn your folded paper round the correct way – with an open flap to the left. Now you can draw your frog! Make sure the frogs cheeks and legs go off of the side of the paper. When you cut your frog out, you must make sure you do not cut round the cheeks the whole way or the legs the whole way, because this is where the frog is attached to its neighbour in the chain:

This is where you must not cut:

Cut your frog out!

And unfurl him – can you see why you must not cut the whole way round his cheeks and legs?

How exciting! Now you can write your poem on him. Because he has two sides, you could write two poems!

Look at your poem and decide if you are happy with it. Do you still like your words? Do you want to edit it? When you are ready, write the poem on your frog, in pencil.

Remember, on the first frog you write ‘The frog is croaking’ and on the last frog, ‘on his log’.

You can of course change the words in any way you like! But check they fit first and make sense. Get someone else to read it. Then go over your pencilled poem in thin felt tip or another type of permanent pen.

Then you can use a pencil to put the expressions on your frogs’ faces! When you are happy, go over these in ink, too. Then you can colour in your frogs with coloured pencils – remember, not all frogs are green! They come in ALL colours!

I hope you enjoy this adverb poem frog chain challenge! Send me pictures if you make one!

 

 

 

Posted in Poetry Fun!

Making a Tiny Poetry Book

The British Library has issued a challenge to young people to make a tiny book to read to their toys; their instructions are here.

I’ve often made tiny books, sometimes in a workshop after young people have written their own poems, and they are great fun to make!

Here is an easy way to make your own book – all you need is a piece of A4 paper, some scissors or a craft knife, and someone old enough to use the craft knife! If you wish to make a harder cover, you will also need some card, and elastic bands or a stapler.

Start off with your piece of A4 paper – I suggest making two of these folding books, I’ll explain why later!

Fold the paper in half along the long side; every one of these folds you make must be accurate – make sure the corners meet the corners exactly, and press the crease with your thumb to make sure it is nice and crisp:

Then open the paper up and fold it the other way:

Unfold the paper again and fold both short sides in to meet the middle crease:

When you open up the paper after it should look like this:

Each little square is a page of your book. (YOU DO NOT HAVE TO WRITE IN YOUR BOOK NOW, but if you want to do it at this stage, and you are not making a card cover for your book, this next image shows which direction each page will face. The numbers show where the page each square will be in the finished book. So the square at the top left will end up on the outside at the front and will be the cover. The next square though will end up as the back!)

Next comes the cutting bit!

Next stand your paper up like this:

And open up the slit and press the sides into a book shape:

 

This is your little book. If you are not making a cover, now you can start writing in your poem or story book.

Write the poem/poems first! Remember, whatever you write cannot be very long. You might want to write a line or two on every page. Each two pages when opened up is called a ‘spread’. You could write a poem on one half and illustrate it on the other half.

When you have written your book, you can design your front cover, and write a ‘blurb’ for it on the back. The ‘blurb’ is what publishers call the description of what is inside the book. Make it sound as exciting as you can!

Can you remember I suggested making two little paper books? That is because you can plan on one book, and do a neat copy when you have got it right!

If you are making a book with a cover, this is the plan for the inside of the book:

As you can see, you can write on every page, and you have two more pages.

Now you must make your cover. The cover will need to be made of card, and must be a little bigger all round than your book.

Cut it out and fold it in half:

Don’t put the cover on until you have written in your book. And also when you have decorated or drawn your cover and ‘blurb’ on the back! If you make a mistake you don’t want to have to take it apart.

When your book is finished, lie your book on the opened cover, with the book opened to the middle – you can fix it together using a rubber band if the card is very strong, or staples along the crease if not – staple it from the outside in:

You have written your first book! Congratulations!

Here is my little book of poems that I made yesterday – I have used some wonderful illustrations drawn by the great illustrator Gordy Wright  to go with my poems – maybe you know someone who can draw really well who might like to decorate your book, if you don’t want to?

As you can see, I didn’t get the circle of printing quite right when I did the inside line of the poem.

Pygmy shrew and ladybird!

Pufferfish and fairy fly:

Leveret and hedgehog:

And last poem, narwhal.

Here is my blurb!

Hope you like it! Do send your book to the British Library, they want to see them!

Here is my book when it was just one piece of paper – I printed it out on a printer which was a bit fiddly – you could also draw your book on your computer, print it and cut the drawings out to stick them in your book, if that is easier!

Scottish Poetry Library – Poetry for Peanuts!

Go to the Scottish Poetry Library for a laid-back family poetry hour on the first Wednesday of every month – for children under 5 and their grownups. Next date: 6 December 2017 – 10:30am – 11:30am

Picture books & poetry books to explore, beanbags & soft toys, tea, coffee, milk & water available, and there are baby change facilities.

The suggested donation per family is £2 to cover refreshments and well-chewed books!

Can’t make it for Peanuts sessions? Go to enjoy their family corner another day!

Never Such Innocence Children’s Poetry Competition

Never Such Innocence invites all 9-16 year olds to send poems or artwork inspired by the events of the First World War.

To sign your school up for the 2017/18 competition please email enquiries@neversuchinnocence.com or sign up to the newsletter here .

Never Such Innocence publishes a resource to stimulate responses to the competition – it provides an overview of the Great War and is split into sections. The resource is free to download and they will post copies to your school free of charge!

Details here: Never such Innocence.

Why not write poems on the theme of Freedom and combine it with National Poetry Day?

A Pot of Poets?

A group of children’s poets met at Trafalgar Square Waterstones on Wednesday, to go on a poetry picnic… sadly, it was raining, so the event was taken to Festival Hall, and a fun time was had by all. There was chocolate. There was poetry writing. There was poetry chat! Thanks to Brian Moses for organising it, and for the photo! It’s hoped to make it a yearly event.

L-R: Laura Mucha, Liz Brownlee, Coral Rumble, Jan Dean, Jane Clarke, Roger Stevens, Phil Waddell, Brian Moses, and in front, Andrea Shavick and Clare Bevan. Oh! And Lola.