Teacher Training

How to Inspire Children to Write

A one day course for trainee teachers, NQTs and teachers. The course is extremely practical, filled with ideas developed from my ten years as a writer in schools. I give tips on how to engage even the most reluctant of writers, and aim the course at teachers of children of all ages in primary schools. In many cases my workshops are very easily adaptable so that KS2 staff, for example, might hear me talking about something I do with KS1 early years children and think ‘oh, I could do that, just with an odd change here or there.’

During the day I will look at (amongst other things) changing the endings to traditional fairy tales, writing letters to the teacher explaining why the children have not come to school that day (off adventuring in the Rainforest, Ancient Egypt etc.), as well as my signature piece – how to help children write a story from scratch.  I also look at ways to get children writing when fear takes hold and the blank page seems a terrifying thing.

I provide teachers with ideas that they can use immediately in their own classrooms. Feedback from my courses is consistently excellent. I also offer INSET day training and after school training within individual schools.

Storytelling in the Classroom

A one day course for trainee teachers, NQTs and teachers. Oral storytelling is a skill that, when used properly, can enhance teaching in any classroom. Yet often I hear teachers say ‘oh, that’s no good for the Y5s and Y6s. Storytelling is for KS1.’ How wrong they are!

In my course I look at how storytelling can benefit both the teacher and the pupils in a classroom. I look at how to tell well known traditional tales using very little (if any) words, but rather using sounds and our bodies (hands, feet etc). It’s a great way for very young children to cement the main plot points of a story without having to be hamstrung by language – lots of fun as well as benefiting children who may be struggling with language development.

I also look at how to make storytelling an interactive process rather than an ‘I’m talking, you’re listening’ event. I model some storytelling myself and illustrate different techniques that delegates can use to enhance their storytelling in the classroom. I also play an ‘anecdote’ game with the delegates to increase their confidence in storytelling.

The main event in the training is where I teach the delegates to become storytellers themselves. I provide them with a story, we recap all the tips of the day, and then, either individually or in pairs, they practise their story before telling it to the rest of the delegates. This consistently raises their confidence and helps delegates feel that they could definitely tell a story in the classroom as well as train their children to become storytellers.

Feedback from my courses is consistently excellent. I also offer INSET day training and after school training within individual schools.

How to Teach Poetry

A one day course for trainee teachers, NQTs and teachers.  Again and again and again I meet teachers who say that their real struggle in literacy is how to teach poetry. This course will help any teacher who would like some tips on teaching poetry in the classroom.

The course is suitable for Early Years teachers up to Y6 teachers. In the course I look at how to teach poetry to the very young – making a very basic poem and using pictures rather than words to help them learn and remember it. I also get the teachers to make up a short, four lined Clerihew poem to show that poetry doesn’t have to be long and intense to be fun and achievable.

I look at different forms of poems – list poems, kennings etc. and how to make these achievable for any child without scaffolding the life out of them. I spend a good deal of the time on performance poetry / recitation etc. as this has had more focus in the National Curriculum recently. I offer hints and tips on what makes for a good performance and delegates then work together to perform a poem to the rest of the group.

I look at practical ways of encouraging children to collect information for poems, including things such as creating a poetry detective (drawing a face on their finger!) and going outside to listen to what they can hear. All of my ideas come straight from my experience of what has worked in the classroom over the past ten years that I have been working in schools. Once delegates have tried these ideas for themselves, they will be confident to use them in their own classrooms.

Feedback from my courses is consistently excellent. I also offer INSET day training and after school training within individual schools.

What makes me different?

    • Fun and engaging
    • Over 10 years’ experience
    • DBS certified
    • Nursery – Year 6
    • Poet, Storyteller and Writer
    • Teacher trainer
    • Visited over 200 schools

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It's windy and 'orrible out there. Only one thing for it - time for your dressing gown!

Enjoy 😀
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I'm becoming the Patron of Reading at LOTS of schools recently, and I'm loving it! Consequently, I've written a new poem about books. Here it is.

Oh, and if you're wondering what the sound is in the background, that's our puppy Pebbles chewing on a toy car!!!
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In the last half hour two, of my friends have posted about their worries and anger at their (young) children having pressure of work from school - both in the form of homework and also practise Sats.

It's made me think: how much good does all this do? Our school's headteacher pretty much put an end to homework last year and it's made things SO much better for our whole family.

Instead, the children are given a big list of projects at the start of a topic and they can choose what they like the look of and which ones to do over the course of a half term or term.

It's brilliant! Last year Violet did two PowerPoint presentations off her own back. Mabel created an amazing scented garden from a box. She still has it. I saw it her bedroom tonight!

And yet...

One of my friends writes...

'So sick of homework!
My daughter has:

*Spellings (some stupid ones)
*not one but TWO reading books
*a double sided comprehension sheet
*10 words to learn
*maths and literacy sheets! Every week!

Is it just me l?!!!'🤢'

Is it just her?

I'm willing to bet that it's not!
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My contract for my latest book has arrived!!! And it's got a proper wax seal and everything! Working title of my book...

'Never Give Bread To a Duck.'

Very exciting!
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High Bank Hi Jinks!

I was back at one of my favourite schools today - High Bank in Liversedge. It was them, remember, for whom we collected all those books earlier in the year. I just LOVE this school. I was reminded once again...