Poets Always Stay

Because Poets Always Stay

I spoke nothing I really thought anymore;

I’d been silenced.

I was leaving, this was not a place I could stay;

A dust track of chalk trodden down footprints,

End of the line,

Crumbs thrown at us, till I refused to pick them up.

And who was I to talk?

A teacher.

They had no voice.

They talked of SATS

And I was not listening.

My voice had quietened to a whispering jailbird of doom;

Or worse,

An angry morsel.

I spat out every modal verb and underlined it in red.

Red for blood, sweat and tear.

I tutted with every sentence;

With SATS on one side, and children without breakfast in their tummies on the other.

Eyes wide with poverty,

Imagination had been eaten away at their feet,

Spoken of but never heard, these dark-eyed children.

The noisy clutter of data collection, louder than any voice here.

Circles of pen marked points missed,

And number-fed rooms.

Time, space gone

Saved for nothing but tick boxes

And lines.

I needed time to breath.

This classroom air these days, a gas chamber chocking me with

A thousand twisted hands around my throat,

With tattooed fingers of bureaucracy

And paper lists,

I wrote.

I knew the poets sang;

Their voices were ever heard.

Repeated through the years.

And mouths watered for their soliloquies of hope.

And that,

I would dream of only that now-

To be filled up till I was full.

And I would share every fullest mouthful of that feast.


Words would find me.

And I would reach for them,

Until we meet again;

In love.


Find the poets!

The strongest voice above my head

As I looked up to heaven,

And it looked down on me,

Until I could not ignore it any more.

I had time to breathe and read the air

As it fed my soul-

A nourishment I savoured.

And now I could fill hungry heads again;

Replenished, renewed and rebirthed.

Poets found, made and told.

Not leaving; staying

Not gone; present

Not behind; in front

Not silent; heard

Not over; just beginning,

Because poets always stay!



Happy kids in a digital world #InternetSafetyDay

Twisted Tales of the Internet with Stories and Poemscropped-26168126_544994662547715_2309515693561184635_n-e1514464943963

1. Celebrate opportunities in the digital world, while reducing the risks

Internet, social media and technology can present fantastic opportunities and raise aspirations for our children, if they can use technology well.  Parents can guide their children with common sense, experience and your own parenting style will help.

2. Start conversations and communicate

Ask about the games they like; new apps, their favourite parts, what they like to do, etc.  Although your child will certainly be impressed if you sprinkle some terminology in the conversation too. Get involved in your child’s digital life and stay involved, strike up conversations regularly.

3. Be a digital role model

This means putting down your smartphone, tablet or laptop and looking into your child’s eyes and listening. We often think that think that screen time off is just for children and young people, but the truth is many adults are in need of some digital detox too. Oversharing is a no- no too; taking tons of photos of your child and posting on Facebook accounts has been shown to cause anxiety for children.

4. Build resilience into their digital lives.

Parents can teach their children to be resilient which will allow their child to not feel so bad from some of the online issues which may happen.  Parents can help their children increase their social and emotional skills so that children will be able to understand and manage their online lives.


Implementing digital literacy into the curriculum

Yesterday the Children’s Commissioner, Anne Longfield published her report into social media use by 8-12 year olds, ‘Life in Likes’. Firstly I would recommend reading it, (see link at bottom). Here is also a summary and then some ideas to bring a digital literacy into the classroom.


Children are now spending so much time online and growing up surrounded by it, certainly by secondary school age they are conscious of how they put themselves across on it. Children ages 10-12yrs have social media accounts, though most platforms have an age limit of 13yrs. They are being affected by it every day.; are they cool enough, pretty enough or wearing the ‘right’ clothes?


Family matters. Many children felt uncomfortable about their parents posting pictures of them of social media, but felt they couldn’t stop it. Children also worry about their siblings use of social media online. They use it multiple times a day.

Children kept in touch with friends online, but also fell out online too; could be stressful and distract from outside activities. They maintained relationships online, but also friendships could be damaged.

Identity and approval were all issues they faced. Trying to be like celebrities was also important to some. They felt good when they had likes and comments. They also started to see off-line activities through a ‘lens’ of shareable material.

Social media was also found to inspire them and lead to aspirations and they could learn about the world discovering and exploring online. Social media made them laugh and cheered them up when watching funny posts and videos.

Digital Literacy

Digital literacy is a must on the curriculum, not only to look at safety, but also awareness and resilience, understanding online platforms and how they work, and how children’s wellbeing is impacted.

Using Twisted Tales of the Internet book to teach digital literacy

Stories and poems can embed learning quickly and discussions with peers about what has been read are recommended for schools in peer-peer learning.


The Trolls story involves themes of; trust, resentment, cyber-bullying, dealing with bullies, online fraud, safety, vlogging, blogging, YouTube-ing, making a career online, trolling and self-image.

King Click is a moral tale of online shopping.


Selfie Central can help review how much selfies are about image, or filtered, or about fitting in.

‘Snap your best friend’s brunch!’ ‘Snap a pic of a marrow in the local shopping isles!’

Beware the Dreaded Internet has a mix of funny, yet cautionary rhymes, to help get the message of who’s behind the screen.

‘Who’s behind the screen; could be good, could be bad?

Could be ready waiting when you’ve had a barney with your mum and dad!’

 My Body Belongs to Me is a serious poem of body image and keeping photos private.

Cyber Space used to talk about being open to the world.

This is the Screen about everything being on a screen, but what’s behind it and is it always the truth? Getting cyber savvy with ideas.

The Fake News Blues a rap about fake news, and how to spot the lie.

Other poems to be continued…

I will update with specific uses of each poem and themes and add more. In the meantime check out the full report and the Twisted Tales book by following the links.


Twisted Tales of the Internet book with stories & poems

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Grimm Tales & Twisted Tales of the Internet~ stories that teach

I’m reading Grimm tales again, they’re swift stories; a fairytale,

fast paced with characters of no interior life, flat with clear motives. They seem to be almost unconscious in thought & often known by their clothing (little red riding hood) or occupation (farmer, Miller, captain) We see only one side to their character, they are flat like cardboard cut outs… the fairytale goes swiftly as they set an exhausting pace, but of course you can only do this if they’re travelling light. What happens to them is of more interest than their individuality.
In Twisted Tales of the Internet what happens to Mr.Troll is a series of unfortunate events, but his character is flawed too, he is a villain but we can empathize, the story evolves but how he reacts and where he ends up, fills the story out into a fatter 3D tale. More crunch; a tale with more twists to slow the story into a winding bendy trail, with some turns in the road to add a bite or two.
#twisted #tales #teachers #stories#fairytales #bite #reading #readingrocks#storytelling #kids #books#bookstagrammer #literature#bookstagram #bookworm #harrypotter#grimm #writers #writersofinstagram

Twisted Tales of the Internet book


Sleep Psychology for children’s bedtime

…using A Bear’s Sleepy Journey book


Who would have thought bedtime could become a science in itself? The use of story has always been celebrated, and now, with A Bear’s Sleepy Journey, it can enhance a better night’s sleep too, or persuade the reluctant sleeper that they can fall asleep easily!

The use of story has always been celebrated at bedtime. For centuries, we have used stories to learn about life, ourselves, and now we can use stories to help us fall asleep with ease. The promise of a better night’s sleep too, growing in confidence, or persuading a reluctant sleeper that they can fall asleep easily, may seem bold statements, but the psychology behind the book really does work !

A Bear’s Sleepy Journey uses relaxation techniques and positive suggestions to help the listener fall asleep. During the introduction, children are asked to help Drowsy bear to find his answers to sleep as they walk through the Rainbow Caves together. (For reluctant sleepers this gives them an altruistic reason to help the bear and gives them a reason to comply with the story’s suggestions for sleep, who would not want to help Drowsy bear?) Essentially it is a guided meditation story, walking with Drowsy bear in the Rainbow Caves leading the meditation, and then a second story with Bobo bear who looks for his own answers to sleep and seeks the Lord of the Arctic Bear who will help him.

Children are often asleep before the second story. This is reinforcing the ease and confidence to find the answers to sleep! The subconscious mind will listen and behaviour can change! 

Mums are already telling us that their children have found it easier to get to sleep and wake up more refreshed, with ‘less wake ups in the night’. Drowsy bear is a big hit with children who love helping him, one little boy asks for Drowsy bear every night!


The book has also been recommended by family therapists and professionals, both teachers and doctors who are using it, recognising the uses of the psychological approach. Every psychologist who has ever used Erickson or Bandler techniques will find examples woven into this bedtime book.

It’s a new approach to bedtime, specially designed story which uses psychology based language, and also links with the current trend in mindfulness too! At the end of the day, both children and parents will be reaching for this book. It’s appealing and beautiful illustrations add to the ideas.

It’s helped children feel calmer and been used with all ages from three years to twelve years old.

Thank you

Reading for boys has to be smelly, right?

The challenge of getting boys reading is a tricky one, and research shows us that boys will spend less time reading outside the classroom! So what can be done?

Here’s my top tips to get boys into books and reading!

Pongy Stinkbelly finds a Friend

Fiction with flawed characters and special characteristics will interest boys!

Books with flawed characters really seem to appeal to boys. They may see reading as something which is too goody goody; but give them a strange flawed character, then suddenly, it might be of interest. (It’s the same for girls, of course too, it has to be said, but if the focus is boys, it does sometimes present a different challenge.)

Books with disastrous storylines or weirdly odd characters, which boys can relate to will get their interest. Great examples of this~ The BFG, Revolting Rhymes, Harry Potter, Mr. Stink and A Boy Called Christmas. I’m sure you can think of many others.

Use comedy and bad attitude!

It’s true if you can ‘make ’em laugh’ then they will come back for more. Boys love to get a reaction. They like to shock and discover funny lines to quote with each other, so they can shock together in a group. If a book lets them be outrageous and take risks with their jokes, then the boys will want to read it. We all know those boys who love a reaction~ a recoiling listener in their mist! If they are reading something which gets them giggling them they will want to tell their friends and talk about it. They will want to tell you the funny, smelly or even rudest stuff, they love a wisecrack! They want revulsion and repulsion to get their reading gases pumping. Keep it real and revolting and they will come back for more. They won’t want glossy sparkles and twinkles; they want mud, sticky, slimy, bottom humour all they way! Roald Dahl knew with his Twits characters. He could be as gruesome as he wanted with these two rotten, sleazy beings. Horrid Henry written by Francesca Simon indulges our appetite for bad attitude characters. She cleverly shows just how much fun a badly behaved character can be to read about.

Grandads and guys!

Grandads are so great at making books look cool. They ooze wisdom and everyone wants to listen to them. This also works for lots of male role models. When boys see guys reading, it becomes the norm and it becomes cool. I’ve had classes laugh at Michael Rosen’s chocolate cake poem over the years, his face pulling poetry is so addictive. I remember years ago, a policeman (my teaching assistant’s husband) kindly coming to my class and reading a story to the children. They were mesmerised and so was I. His Irish accent and brilliant story voice made it so captivating. I saw the boys listening so hard, we could have heard the sound of a pin drop. Good male role models are a brilliant way of getting boys sat down and reading together. (I’ve picked out granddads, as they seem to be the most determined to have fun with books and have given Pongy some of it’s best reviews.)

Be smelly and rude!

Children love to be read things with ‘rude’ words; smelly, grizzly, pooey; they all work well . It’s captivating to hear an adult talk using character voices, or say something funny which they have read out loud. Boys and girls will roar at a character who has got themselves in a pickle, they love disasters along the way, especially if they stink! It seems new rules can be made. What’s acceptable changes using stories which pop out the odd silly rude word. A story can do the strangest things and imagination is allowed to run wild. Nothing is too risky! Smells and farts are only the beginning. Roald Dahl, was of course, the master with this sort of writing. He knew that it was important to entertain the reader and hold their interest. Other writers have followed this lead, David Wailliams and many comedians, show us that making the reader howl with laughter is a sure way of keeping them happy. Now have; Mr. Stink and Pongy Stinkbelly, and more following in this smelly legacy. These books stay true to distasteful themes. Whiffs and farts, are never off the menu, the more, the better, pack them in!


The other week, I gave bookmarks out for Halloween this year and hear giggles all the way down my street with boys laughing at his name, shouting Pongy Stinkbelly! Let’s face it, any books with rude, smelly or impolite characters are gonna impress the boys!

The smellier, the better; fresh smelling stories won’t cut it with boys.

Themes for facts and fiction

A great theme can clinch the deal with boys sitting to read. Sport- themed books work so well. Football, rugby, golf, cars and trains will all appeal to our boys, and there is a wealth of books around all of these. Boys will enjoy non-fiction. They can sink their teeth into the facts and figures. Don’t overlook magazines, annuals and comics, just because they ate not books, as they are great to encourage boys to read more. Special favourites of boys are often joke books or The Guinness book of World Records. These will get boys reading and talking!

So that’s it!

Get smellier, ruder, crazier, funnier. Make it; loathsome, appalling, gruesome, nasty, nauseous, sickening, sleazy, stinking, foul and putrid, and you’ll be onto a winner!

Happy reading all!

(What’s that? Can somebody open a window? Phewwww!)

Pongy reading!

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