Points and poems

Points and poems



“Oh my god! I got 122000 points”

The year four boy shrieked to a friend on a competing table with the same excitement normally reserved for scoring a goal. We’re not outside and there is not a ball in sight. I’m in a school in Walthamstow and having led an assembly reading poems from Werewolf Club Rules followed by a quick Q&A (does it take you long to write your poems? Where do you get your ideas? When did you start writing?) i’m now running workshops based on my poem MORERAPS in short introducing poetic devices and assigning points to them- the children are then given massive sheets of paper and challenged to get as many points as possible – things get interesting when they realise that with a few simple additions they can include alliteration and onomatopoeia within a metaphor thus be benefitting from several mulitpliers – the kids explode!

“Joe joe joe joe how many points is this?”

“Joe joe joe i done alliteration”

“Mr Joooooooooe we got eighteen thousand!!!”

I’ve run this session in schools up and down the country and yet never fail to be surprised at how excited kids can become by introducing a very simple (arbitrary, meaningless) point system and most importantly their enthusiasm and excitement for the enchanting ‘points’ gets them remembering poetic devices that they are not “required” to know until secondary school.

Its lunch time and already i’ve been grabbed by a TA telling me about how a child who doesn’t normally engaged has today been enraptured by poetry, another TA spent her break photocopying the MORERAPS class poster so that each child could have a copy.

I have one more session to go, the 6am start is catching up with me, but the coffee here is strong and i’m looking forward to seeing another class go wide eyed at the thought of points and poetry.