Cockenzie Primary School Literary Festival 2016 Poetry Workshop

I was thrilled to be invited by Janey Nicol, P4 class teacher at Cockenzie Primary School, East Lothian, to be involved with the school’s first ever Literary Festival in February 2016.  She requested a poetry workshop with P1s.  With over 50 children in the group, we had lots of fun with a poem for children I wrote and used a few years ago.  We messed about with props, and I showed them on flip chart paper how I illustrated the poem using skills I learned at Edinburgh College of Art summer schools over three years, with Robbie Bush and Mina Braun.

Here are P1 doing a noisy nosey warm-up mantra, where they discover the joy of ‘sneezing’ out words, whilst also learning how to keep germs to themselves!

img_0758I was also really pleased to be able to assist in recommending authors and poets to be involved in the festival.  Over the last few years I’ve been privileged to get to know poets and authors and their work.  This came in really handy.  Cockenzie pupils delighted us all with this ‘Thank you’ poster.  We loved the imaginative, artistic way they designed it.  Well done Cockenzie Primary School!  I wish you well for your new academic year, with a new set of P1s joining the school as the P7s move up to secondary school.

Here I am amongst a fabulous line-up of poets and authors …

... amongst a fabulous line-up of poets and authors ...
A few more images of the poetry workshop, with two of my characters, ‘Poppy’ and ‘Jake’.img_0759 img_0760 img_0761 img_0765


‘The Three Craws An The Bairn In A Manger’ at Broughton Primary School

P3/4 Teacher Katrina Tweedie kindly piloted The Three Craws An The Bairn In A Manger with her class.  I was absolutely delighted to receive this feedback from her.  Thank you Katrina!

”Subject: Re: Three Craws Gaun Tae Rabbie Burns Birthday Pairty At The Globe Inn, Dumfries
Date: 11 March 2015 11:32

Hi Rita,

I have been hoping to see you at the writers’ group to thank you in person
for your generosity in sharing your play with me and my class.

We had been doing a topic on Robert Burns as you know, so I started by
reminding the children  of Tam O’Shanter. Then we sang The Three Craws
which they already knew and love, then I outlined the play to them.  I
distributed copies of the play one between two and we discussed how a play
script is set out. Then I read one page at a time with them following as
best they could then asked for volunteers to read out and act out that page
to the rest of the class. Most of the children wanted to take part- there
were three or four who were happier being the audience for the whole play.
Without exception they all loved the experience.

My class is composed of kids from all over the world, many of whom speak
English as a second language. I think it’s a wonderful way to make them
feel at home in Scotland teaching them some Scots and typically Scottish
culture. For all of them I think it’s really good for them to see how we
can build on traditional culture now…. and what a wonderful play! Thank
you so much for sharing it with us.’