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!

Posted in Funny Poem a Day

Purrfect, by Liz Brownlee

Today we have a shape poem, and an animation – thank you to animator Nick Hales who animated the kitten so beautifully!

If you fancy writing a poem yourself, why not enter my Covid19 poetry competition? Details link in the side bar, or a couple of posts down from here!

Joke:

What looks like half a cat?

¡ɟlɐɥ ɹǝɥʇo ǝɥʇ

Posted in Be the Change

Be the Change – Some Poems Performed by the Poets!

Hello! Today, Matt and Roger and I are launching Be the Change, Poems to Help you Save the World in performance – brought to you from lockdown in Manchester, Bristol and somewhere deep in France… we are wondering whether to do some lesson plans for other poems in the book, if you’d like that, could you get in touch so we can gauge demand?

So – without further ado – the poets perform!

Hope you enjoyed that!

Many poems have little tips at the end for ways in which young people can help save the planet with small, achievable actions.

The book is available here on Amazon, (also available on Kindle), and here from an independent book shop.

Posted in Funny Poem a Day

Funny Poem a Day – Snack Attack, by Liz Brownlee

Lola is not allowed cakes or biscuits. But at the North Somerset Teachers’ Book Awards ceremonies, there are always a LOT of cakes. The books are showcased on Twitter by the ceremony organisers’ dogs. Dogs are always welcome. And so just this once, when a little hopeful head poked up underneath the tablecloth, I allowed her to have a little lick.

Today’s poem is by me – it’s all about a Snack Attack.

 

 

And here’s a joke:

How do alien poets write their poems?

¡sǝsɹǝʌ-ᴉun uᴉ

 

Posted in Funny Poem a Day

Funny Poem a Day: We Have a Mouse, by Liz Brownlee

Anon. is a funny word, isn’t it? It stands for anonymous, which is the word used to represent a person who doesn’t want their identity known, or for someone whose identity is not known. There are probably more poems by Anon. than by anyone else, but they are not all the same person of course – sometimes the poem has been handed down and repeated and repeated and maybe changed, until no-one knowns who wrote it in the first place. Tomorrow we have a poem by Anon. Today, there is a poem by me which mentions the word.

In the picture today, Lola is trying to be anonymous by being camouflaged on her blanket.

 

We Have a Mouse

 

We think we have a mouse – for it

ate mum’s jam sponge cake bit by bit,

we know he’s been here when he comes

by missing cake and piles of crumbs

but never see him round the house

we think he is anony- mouse!

 

© Liz Brownlee

 

What squeaks, has 12 legs, three noses and three tails but can’t see?

!ǝɔᴉɯ puᴉʅq ǝǝɹɥꓕ

Posted in Funny Poem a Day

Funny Poem a Day: How the Head Kept His Head, Liz Brownlee

So today’s poem is by ME! Therefore it seems appropriate to have a picture of Lola as she is dressed when doing her job and accompanying me to… well everywhere! Lola is a medical detection dog. She has been trained to alert me to high or low blood sugar – I am diabetic, have no warnings of low blood sugar and fall very quickly. She lets me know before my blood sugar gets too low and I have some glucose and then I am ok – which stops me from becoming unconscious, as used to happen, regularly! She has saved my life many times. She is of course the best dog in the world. Here is one of my funny poems.

How The Head Kept His Head

 

One day during registration

to his teacher’s consternation

Lloyd chewed his nails, his toes, and then

the half-done register and pen!

 

The Head, when called, watched in despair

as Lloyd scoffed whiteboards and a chair.

He cried, ‘This problem must be beaten –

we’re not insured for being eaten!’

 

But Lloyd just grinned, unhinged his jaw

and ate the lino off the floor,

gnashed ninety felt tips, slurped some glue,

then gobbled bags of gym shoes too!

 

The ipads crunched like toffee brittle –

then in a spray of liquid spittle

he snacked on Lego in the hall

and Harry hamster cage and all!

 

When class four’s P.C. bite by byte

followed their keyboard out of sight,

the children gasped, then saw with dread,

Lloyd’s eyes alight upon the Head!

 

With fervour, ‘PUDDING!’ Lloyd announced,

and with wild slaverings he pounced –

the Head yelled ‘STOP’ (his voice quite shrill)

‘I taste of greens, I’ll make you ill!’

 

And so Lloyd, when forced to pause here,

found he did feel some slight nausea-

his mum was called: ‘Please do come quick,

for school has made Lloyd very sick!’

 

© Liz Brownlee

 

What do you do if your dog chews up your poem?

You have to take the words right out of her mouth!

Posted in National Poetry Day 2019

National Poetry Day, Climate Truth Poem by Liz Brownlee

Happy National Poetry Day everyone! Here is my National Poetry Day Truth poem, published last month in Be the Change, Poems to Help you Save the World, Macmillan.

 

Greta Thunberg

 

When the whole world is deaf

by greed and by choice,

how do you change things

with only your voice?

 

It’s hard to be noticed,

harder to be heard,

but she stood up and spoke,

could not be deterred.

 

What made them listen?

What cut through their lies?

Not the pollution

or the fast melting ice,

 

not the experts or science,

not hunger or flood,

not the extinctions,

our hands red with blood,

 

it was her steady gaze,

on our planet, alight,

her desperate calm,

her demand, make it right.

 

It’s what we’ll recall

of her fight for our youth,

her luminous words

her courage, her truth.

 

© Liz Brownlee

Posted in National Poetry Day 2019

National Poetry Week Climate Truth Poem from Roger Stevens

Roger Stevens is a National Poetry Day Ambassador, a founding member of the Able Writers scheme and runs the award-winning website www.poetryzone.co.uk for children and teachers. Roger (link to 3 Simple Steps to Perk up your Poems) has published 40 books for children. His book Apes to Zebras – an A to Z of Shape Poems (Bloomsbury), written with Sue Hardy Dawson and Liz Brownlee, won the prestigious NSTB award in 2018. Recent books include  I Am a Jigsaw; Puzzling Poems to Baffle your Brain (Bloomsbury 2019) and Moonstruck; an Anthology of Moon Poems (Otter-Barry). This poem is from the Tricky Questions, Talking Points section of the just published Be the Change; Poems About Sustainability (Macmillan) written with Liz Brownlee and Matt Goodfellow.

.

Getting to the Truth

Some people say
drinking cow’s milk is bad
For one thing
cows expel huge volumes
of greenhouse gasses
which contribute
to global warming

They say
Drink almond milk.
Almonds are good for you.
And they are.
Very good for you.

But it turns out
that nearly all the world’s almonds
are grown in California*
where there are often droughts
And did you know that
in California
it takes
six thousand litres of water
to produce one litre of almond milk?
That’s BONKERS!
And farmers are ripping up
healthy citrus groves
to meet the rising demand
for almond milk.

Oatmilk seems to be a better alternative
But the whole point is this.
Don’t always accept
what you read on a label.
or what people tell you.
Don’t always believe what you read
in the papers
or see on TV
or on the internet
If you really want to help
Just dig a little deeper
Try and get to the truth

*around 80%

.

© Roger Stevens

.

Thank you for the poem, Roger!

 

Posted in National Poetry Day 2019

National Poetry Week, Climate Truth Poem from Liz Brownlee

Happy National Poetry Day Week from me! If you don’t know who I am, I’m a children’s poet, I own Lola the poet assistance dog, I quite enjoy performing but prefer organising poetry events, I write this blog, and my own, and I have five published books, the latest of which is Be the Change, Poems to Help you Save the World, from which the following poem comes. It is not too late to change the world. The truth is we just need to love one another, help one another and cooperate with one another.

 

Snow

Swirling slowly

in lilting flight,

as cold as stars,

in soundless white,

 

their drifting feathers

spread their wings,

and sing the songs

that snowflakes sing,

 

of how small gifts

of peace and light

can change the world

in just one night.

 

© Liz Brownlee

Posted in My Favourite Poetry Books

Roger Stevens; My Favourite Poetry Books

My Favourite Books of Poems

Here is the first in a series where I’ll be asking children’s poets what their favourite poetry books are – they must choose one of their own, and they can if they wish choose a book of poems for adults, too. First to go is Roger Stevens, who idea this was!

Quick, Let’s Get Out of Here (Puffin) Michael Rosen. Michael reminds us what it’s like to be a child. The poems are funny, clever and full of heart.

The World’s Greatest Space Cadet (Bloomsbury) James Carter. There are so many brilliant books around to choose from but, well, I just really like this one.

The Dictionary of Dads (Otter-Barry Books) Justin Coe. This book is full of funny, sad and very thoughtful poems, brilliantly written. Every class should have one.

Picnic, Lightning (Random House) Billy Collins (for grown-ups). If you don’t know Billy Collins check him out. He has a very natural style, and is easy to read. But the way he tackles both big themes and small themes, is so skilful, it almost makes you gasp.

Apes to Zebras: an A – Z of Shape Poems (Bloomsbury) Liz Brownlee, Sue-Hardy Dawson and Roger Stevens. A tricky book to put together, but it turned out well in the end. It won an award you know.

Thank you, Roger! There will be more poet’ choices to come. Do you have a favourite book of children’s poems? Let me know what it is in the comments!

Posted in A to Z Challenge 2019

# A to Z Challenge, B is for Liz Brownlee

Sue Hardy-Dawson, Me and Roger Stevens after our NSTBA win

The second post is me, because I handily have a surname beginning with B. I write poems for kids and I’m a National Poetry Day Ambassador, a role I take very seriously.

I have my own website, but run this website to showcase all children’s poets and the wonderful work they do to celebrate children’s poetry and everything it encourages, such as empathy, understanding, reading ability, education, etc. The website contains poetry videos for kids, poetry activities for kids, poetry games for kids, everything to do with poetry for young people!

I run the Children’s Poetry Summit Twitter feed, as well as my own, and also the Twitter account for KidsPoets4Climate, supporting our children in their fight for their climate. If you have any suitable sustainability poems, do send them for tweeting!  There is also my blog called BetheChange about sustainability for children.

In August, a book of sustainability poems I have written with Matt Goodfellow (link to Matt’s article, What Poetry Offers in the Classroom) and Roger Stevens (link to Roger’s article, Three Simple Steps to Perk Up Your Poems) will be out, called Be the Change – we are all very excited about it!

I also love going into schools, to libraries, performances and literary festivals with all the books’ subjects, but my favourites are animals, rainforest and sustainability readings and workshops.

You might think I’d have no time for writing, but I love writing for children; my books are Animal Magic, Poems on a Disappearing World (about endangered animals), Reaching the Stars, Poems about Extraordinary Women and Girls (about some of the countless women who have shaped history, until now), The Same Inside, Poems about Empathy and Friendship (what it says on the tin), Apes to Zebras, an A-Z of Shape Poems, a book of animal poems in the shapes of the animals they are about, and out on August 8, Be the Change, Poems About Sustainability

Reaching the Stars won the prestigious NSTBA for poetry in 2017 and Apes to Zebras won it in 2018, with The Same Inside being shortlisted.

Here is my poem for the poetry feast:

Pelican

And here’s the poem written down!

 

Pelican

.

A pelican scoops up to consume

its seafood soup with its own spoon;

the spoon unfolds into a dish,

and soon as it is full of fish

which wiggle-waggle round inside,

the pelican swallows, goggle-eyed.

Oh, what efficient use of space

to keep a kitchen in its face!

.

© Liz Brownlee, poem and shape.

 

If you’d like to blog hop to another A-Z Challenge, follow this link.

Liz Brownlee

Children’s Poets’ Climate Change blog: Be the Change

Liz’s Blog: Liz Brownlee Poet

Liz’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/Lizpoet

KidsPoets4Climate Twitter: https://twitter.com/poets4climate

Children’s Poetry Summit Twitter: https://twitter.com/kidspoetsummit

Posted in Endangered Animal, Lego Poem

Whale Poems Wanted!

Here’s my Lego blue whale – please read the information after the poem about the danger they are in. Send me you Lego animal photo and maybe I’ll write a poem about it! Here is my blue whale poem:

.

Lone Blue Whale

.

Far out at sea

where waves clash and toss

and the wide sky holds

just one albatross,

where light surrounds

and the winds blow long,

this is where you hear

the lone whale’s song,

 

horizon to horizon

winding on and on,

 

the air’s too weak

to carry the sound

of the pulses and cries

in the water around,

the beat of its heart’s song

has oceans to cross,

under a wide sky

and albatross,

 

and only the lone whale

that swims wild and free

has a love song as large

as the wide green sea.

.

© Liz Brownlee

.

The Japanese Government has indicated that they are going to allow commercial killing of whales to start again. Many whales are still endangered, and all sea life is battling against plastic in the water.

Fabulous author, poet and animal lover Nicola Davies asks: “Calling all uk children and their teachers. Please send your best whale pictures and poems to The Japanese Embassy to protest against the decision to start hunting whales again”.

If you would like to do this, please tweet, blog and also send the poems to:

Ambassador Koji Tsuri

Embassy of Japan

101-104 Piccadilly

Mayfair

London W1J 7JF