Local primary school pupils enjoy ‘Poetry Masterclass’ at Pocklington School

Pocklington School hosted a Poetry Masterclass on 20 June 2017 when it welcomed a group of Year Five children from local primary schools.  Led by Pocklington School English teacher and author, Mrs Allison Bond, the day provided a fascinating insight into how to create beautifully crafted poetry and use a range of higher thinking skills.

During the day, the pupils from Elloughton Primary, Wilberfoss Primary and Pocklington Community Junior Schools, created different styles of poetry, focussing on three different subject areas.  Firstly, they created a series of tightly patterned verses, named Haiku, using inspiration from the natural world.  Writing on location in front of a large, old tree at the front of the School, the pupils noted down words to describe the tree and how it could inspire feelings of hope, which they used to create their own Haiku poems.

Secondly, the pupils worked collaboratively to produce a sonnet, using as its focus a statue of a slave, which is situated within St Nicholas’s Quad at Pocklington School.  The slave statue was produced by Old Pocklingtonian Peter Tatham in honour of one of the School’s most famous alumnus, William Wilberforce, and here the pupils were asked to think of words linked with suffering, exploitation and fear. Returning to the classroom, they each produced a four line verse to go towards creating the finished sonnet.

After lunch in the School Dining Hall, the pupils were then taken around the School grounds to the grass amphitheatre near the playing fields, where they produced a sequence of poems entitled ‘I see, I hear’.  By listening to and watching the activity taking place on the sports fields, including tennis and cricket matches, the pupils created a piece of free verse based on the natural structures and rhythms of the English language to create a guided tour of the school.

At the end of the day, Mrs Bond led a ‘Poetry Masterclass Showcase’, to which the pupils, their parents, grandparents plus staff from the individual schools, were invited to attend.  At the Showcase, held in the Music School, Mrs Bond discussed the work the group had undertaken during the day and a number of pupils explained what they had learned during the Masterclass about creating poetry.

Mrs Bond said: “At the start of the day, I asked the pupils what they would be interested in achieving. I was impressed by the thought they put into their responses. Some wanted to tell a story in a clear and simple way; others wanted to weave a moral into their poetry. The children were really enthusiastic and managed to generate and refine their ideas throughout the day.”

Following the Masterclass, Pocklington School will publish a booklet of the poetry created on the day, to send to the individual participants, to provide a special memento of the event.