So much has been happening in the poetry arena of the Highfield stage, it’s time to spread the word!
On Monday 8th January we said goodbye to Cheryl. She has worked in our school for 3 years and in the time we have shared some wonderful experiences. The profile of poetry in the school has massively increased in this time and Cheryl has been central to this. She has worked with whole classes, groups of children, individuals, parents, and teachers to improve people’s understanding (and passion for) poetry. We have entered (and won) many poetry competitions and children have been shown what they are capable of when they put their all into something. We are very grateful for the time that Cheryl was able to spend in the school and sad that she has left. Even though she has left she has not taken Highfield’s love for poetry with her. We will continue our appetite for poetry as we can see all that it brings us.
In our Goodbye Assembly, some children spoke about the impact Cheryl had had on them. This is what they said;
Cheryl helped me to write and read poetry. Before she taught me, I found poetry difficult.
She made me that good I went to the National Theatre to read a poem out.
I enjoyed working with Cheryl, as she was funny.
We even read a book called Young Inferno and I wrote a review.
I have even been in a group with her called ‘The Wicked Writers’.
She has been outstanding for our school.
Because of her help my review went on a website called Books for Keeps.
I’m very glad I got to work Cheryl.
I want to thank you for helping me and the school, for all the work you have taught us about poetry and getting us through many competitions over the last three years.
Without you I don’t know if I would be into poetry. I was never good at it until I got to work with you.
You made it look so easy when you rhymed words and did poetry.
You always knew that anyone could be a poet, like the way you got Lewis to the National Theatre. To do that you must be so proud.
You could teach many children in our school.
You might have taught us how to be good poets but no one could be better than you.
One more thing……. you’re a poet and should be proud to know it.
Sorry you’re leaving.
Cheryl is a nice and kind person and she wrote poems. She helped some of the children that were new and did not know the English language that much, that includes me.
She helped understand what the words mean and what the book is about. I was taken out to go with Cheryl and read a poem book, to learn how to write and think about the book.
She helped me to be more confident about my work. One time our group read our poems to everyone.
She has been here for a long time and helped and improved our school. I enjoyed being with her because, she helped me and also she did not make the lesson boring, she made it fun and joyful.
I also read a book that made me feel really comfortable at the school. The book was about a classroom that was really noisy but the teacher never shouts to them because it would encourage the children to shout even more.
She always had a smile as well, so thank you very much Cheryl for making Highfield better.
You are a great poet. No one can replace you in Highfield.
Cheryl, you inspired to do many things; to be a better writer, to be a better poet and to have more courage, all the things she did made me better.
What Cheryl mainly helped me with is to perform at the National Theatre. I was terrified but Cheryl gave me confidence, which helped a lot.
When I was on the stage all sorts of things were going through my mind but I looked at where Cheryl was sitting and I did it and before I knew it, it was over.
Although I was proud, I think Cheryl should be proud because I would never have been able to do it without her.
Thank you so much for everything you’ve done for me. You went out of your way to help me and I think I’ve become a better person from meeting you.
To be honest, I’m not surprised I did because I learned from the best. You’re the best poet I know Cheryl.
Cheryl helped me write a review of the book ‘Ladder to the Moon’.
She helped me when I made mistakes.
What I most enjoyed about Ladder to the Moon was when Suhaila climbed all the way up the ladder to the wonderful, sparkling moon.
I felt really happy and excited when I found out my review had been published.
Thank you Cheryl.
Cheryl helped me get over my stage fright by taking a group of children to the National Theatre where we got to read out a few lines of a poem in front of a big audience! I would like to thank her for that.
Now I share more of my ideas and participate in more clubs. I also would like to thank her for making me understand poems.
I’m so happy she came to Highfield because she has made this school more interested in poems. I will miss her.
She also took me and some other children to the pond area and we got to write what we saw and had and it’s in the Highfield Poem Book.
I also got to read a poem called Fortunes Bones and shared a review about it on a website called Books for Keeps.
I’m happy Cheryl came here because she did things with me that I never thought I’d do. I’m sad that she’s leaving but happy that she came here and taught us about poems.
Now I understand poems and how to read one and write them.
Thank you so much, Cheryl. You’re an amazing poet.
She’s the best poet I know and the only poet I know.
We’ll miss you Cheryl.
Poetry at Highfield 2016-17
On National Poetry Day 2014 Richard Garner wrote about our school in his column in the national newspaper, The Independent, calling Highfield ‘the primary where poetry is in motion’. Three years on and the poetry wheel just keeps on turning.
2016-17 has been packed full with poetry and poetic achievements. On National Poetry Day 2016 children from Year 5 and Year 6 wrote and performed their poem ‘Speaking with the Elements’ at the Royal Festival Hall for National Poetry Day live alongside some of the biggest stars in the poetry world.
School Council expounded the new school values, Motivation, Appreciation and Positivity through poetry they wrote throughout the year and shared with the school in special assemblies.
In January I set every year group the task of ‘adopting’ a planet from the Solar System to write a class poem about and in March we staged The Solar System at Highfield in an epic whole-school-verse-poem representing all the planetary bodies including the sun!
In May all three classes in Year 1 made waves when they wrote their own ‘Recipes for the Sea’ bringing alive the sights, sounds, smell, taste and feel of the world’s oceans right here at Highfield.
I visited Grovelands Park with a group of year 5’s and we wrote some beautiful poems on them of ‘Place’ which have all now been entered for the Betjeman Poetry Prize https://www.betjemanpoetryprize.co.uk. We will find out in the Autumn if any of them have won, so watch this space!
During the summer term, I have been holding after school sessions for parents and children to write poetry together. The results have been astounding, proving the Highfield motto, together we can achieve more!
This year also saw the formation of two new poetry groups, the DNA group and Wicked Writers.
My Wicked Writers (Lewis, Dilan, Mark, Mohamed, Yilmaz and Samir from year 5) produced some really powerful stuff and wowed Varjak Paw author SF Said when he visited the school in February with their specially written poem ‘Paw’s Portrait’ inspired by SF’s famous book. He was so impressed he gave the boys a mention and put their poem up on his own website which has hundreds of thousands of followers!
The DNA group is a group of children from year 4, 5 and 6 who are new to Highfield and relatively new to speaking English. They are Highfield’s ‘Delightful New Arrivals’ (DNA) and have used poetry as a way of sharing important things about themselves and the amazing countries they have come from in ‘Somewhere Only We Know’.
Once again this year children from Highfield, from Reception through Yr 6, participated in the CLiPPA schools shadowing scheme https://www.clpe.org.uk/poetry/clippa-centre-literacy-primary-poetry-award and once again Highfield was selected to come and perform at the awards ceremony!
You can watch all the films of the children performing their favourite poems from the shortlisted books including Lewis’s winning performance of ‘Do-Over’ from Booked by American author Kwame Alexander.
Booked is a story, told through poetry, about a soccer-loving boy called Nick Hall who is having to negotiate all of the difficult challenges of growing up. From the first page of reading it Lewis was hooked and it showed in his performance. Lewis’s sensitive and confident delivery impressed the CliPPA judges and on Friday July 14th he was invited to the CliPPA Awards ceremony at the National Theatre to meet the shortlisted poets, take part in special performance workshops, and perform on the Olivier stage (the largest of the three NT stages) alongside the shortlisted poets.
Richard Garner was certainly right, ‘poetry is in motion’ at Highfield. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/schools/the-primary-where-poetry-is-in-motion-9770004.html
Long may it continue to be so!
- Cheryl Moskowitz (Highfield Poet) July 2017
Read all about ‘The Year in the Life of a Poet in Residence’ at Highfield Primary School we are on the Book Trust website. Click here