National Poetry Day Leaves Pupils Seeing Stars!

Posted: 09/10/2012 |

Last Thursday marked National Poetry Day 2012 and the Royal Blind School celebrated with amazing creativity and poetic flair! School librarian, Amber Weir and English teacher, Beth Laughlin teamed up to organise two sensory poetry workshops that focussed on this year’s “Stars” theme and featured acclaimed poet, Anne Connolly. Miss Weir’s efforts to spread excitement about National Poetry Day were evident both within and outside of the school building. In her own words, “We were trying to sprinkle a bit of stardust in everyone’s week and get everyone feeling enthused and touched by poetry, in order to bring it very much alive and aloud. Poems were featured amid a very tactile and sparkly display in school and throughout the week everyone across school and also the wider Royal Blind organisation were receiving daily celestial poems in their email inboxes.”

On the morning the students were ushered into the workshop room, which Miss Weir and Miss Laughlin had transformed with hanging stars and illuminated with soft, twinkling fairy lights – a truly magical space! Anne led the first group in a series of poem readings like “Swingummy Jig,” which involved singing and lively motions, while also keeping rhythm by clapping and playing percussion instruments. The students also explored questions such as “What do stars look/feel/smell/taste like?” while snacking on sparkly star-shaped biscuits, engaging in a complete sensory experience with language and poetry. 

The second group was comprised of older students and as a result, Anne led discussions about more complex poems, such as Lord Afred Tennyson’s “Ulysses” and her own poem, “Astrolobe.” Miss Laughlin commented that the morning “was even more successful than we'd hoped: pupils were fully engaged through all their senses and inspired to go and discover more about poetry and the world around them. Anne Connolly was a real presence and intuitively worked with the young people at a pace and level which both excited them and caught their attention.”

Miss Laughlin and Miss Weir hope to continue developing the students’ relationship with poetry by establishing a “Poetry Tree” on school grounds where children can hang their own poems on display.