Friday, 10 October 2014

Mother Tongue Other Tongue at King's Park primary school

Primary 7 pupils at King's Park primary school, Glasgow, have kicked off their activities for the Mother Tongue Other Tongue competition with an afternoon of Scottish Book Trust Live Literature  poetry workshops. The aims of the afternoon were to build confidence, to stimulate enjoyment in reading and writing poetry and to support learners in finding and developing their own poetic voices in whichever languages they speak.

"See me, ah ken when tae tell folk tae back aff!"
In "See Me", a workshop led by poets Jill Bennet and Elizabeth Cordiner, learners were encouraged to use their knowledge of Scots to write poems about the kinds of things that drive their hopes, fears and desires. They then had the opportunity to consider, and thus extend, their understanding of poetic features such as rhythm and word choice by integrating their work successfully into a whole class poem.

Learners writing "See Me" poems about what makes them tick

Taking notes in "Windows"
In Ken Cockburn's workshop, learners were encouraged to use familiar phrases from their mother tongue languages to take part in an oral game in which they created a rhythmic, whole-class spoken poem. The poet then gave a reading of the German poem, Das Fenster (The Window) by Sarah Kirsch, in German and in English, leading to a discussion about cognates and false friends. Taking the theme of windows as a basis for their own poems, learners started by making notes about the kinds of objects and activities they might observe from a window. Using a template, they began to write their own poems comparing and contrasting life observed through several different windows.

We were very grateful to the eager volunteers from each group who read their work aloud to a captive audience of their classmates, teachers and poets. Feedback from learners in both workshops was very positive. On the whole, they enjoyed having the opportunity to read, write and talk about poetry and languages. 

The class is treated to a poetry reading

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