Tag Archives: Port Chalmers school

making patterns at Port Chalmers

My last session at Port Chalmers was with a group of students who loved writing. I gave them two challenges. We played with form and made a poem using a pattern of repeating lines. We hooked up a memory and told a little story within the pace of a poem. I loved the echoey sound of the pattern poems and the vividness of the memories.

This was my last session at the school so it was really sad to say goodbye and set off on the long journey home. I still have poems to post from the older children, but thank you everyone for a fabulous visit. I didn’t even mind the biting cold!


I loved working with you all – do send me your poems if you finish them. Remember to include year and name of school.


A Drop of Rain

Deep heavy rain

like metal shavings

Deep heavy rain

dances through the air

like a zigzag

sounds like big angry bears

Deep heavy rain

Joshua Y6



A raging rain

wild like a lion

A raging thunderstorm

zapping tall objects

A pain that shall

not pass when hit

A raging thunderstorm

Connor age 12


A Cloud

When the clouds move

everything feels like a sloth

slowly and subtly

when the clouds move

I hear squawks

I see dancing wings

I feel the wind

when the clouds move

Sersha Y6



The dark, moonlit sky

Stars simmer like glitter

The dark, moonlit sky

Swishes of blue mixed together

Shining down on us

The moon starts to brighten

The dark, moonlit sky

Poppy Y7


Christmas Poem

Open eyes

mumbled voices

lot of bright lights.

People gather

can’t speak

just cry.


Everyone gathering around

opening gifts

then someone walks over

and gives me

a box

and the night sky

was dark

then eyes close again

George Y8


Laughing Out of Fear

The car ascends the track

I hold on tight

I am unmoved

We slow to red light

I march back in line

Seldom calm

Mahia Y6


The Elephant Seal

A golden site

heavy grey lump

like a lifeless body

as baby moves further away

people sneak closer

mother gets angry

and creeps closer

everyone moves away.

Josh Y6



Dark vision

taste of excitement

my legs getting heavier

blind folded

light exploding

peaches and cream making it brighten

Najila Y6








At Port Chalmers: Fly me to a poem moon

The Year 2 students at Port Chalmers School are so inventive when it comes to the moon.

Little beautiful moons began to glow on the page as the poems grew and shone.


I have such a soft spot for moon poems so how special to make these with you all.

The moon poems were all spectacular but here are a few for you to enjoy.



The moon glows in the night

it twinkles in the dark sky

it’s like diamonds in a cave

the moon reminds me

of apples

Adelphi Y2


The Moon

White as a light

blinding my eyes

Astronauts jumping

craters, it’s bumpy

on the moon

Olivia Y2


The Moon

The moon is shimmering

it is like gold

it’s like a

little bulb

it blinds my eyes

I like the moon.

Charlie Y2


Sparkles of the Moon

The moon sparkles in

dark light


the silver dome


The moon is in

space as it twinkles

silver and white

watch it as it


Rosa Y2


The Moon

The moon shivers

it shines bright

rockets blasting off

it moves slowly

it is yellow

George Y3


The Shapes of the Moon

New moon crescent moon

half moon

grid moon full moon

the moon is silver

Sammi Y2



At Port Chalmers birds are hiding in the pages

I visited the Y3 and 4 class at Port Chalmers School and we did bird poems. So great to see the pens scratching and native birds flapping and fluttering on the page. I loved the way the children tested and played and explored poem paths.

Here are a few scrumptious bird poems that had got to this stage in our session.


Dark Night Hunter

The black night fights

with dark hunters

claws like knives

beaks like swords

harmless to us

shy and scared

digs down


Evening light rises

tired hunter sleeps

Jayden Y4





Splashing rustling

making hand spans

along the swamp


claws digging into earth

making ground crumble

eyes staring ahead


blue feathers rustle

stalking now


staring eyes

eyeing reeds

Nico Y4


Flappy Fantail

Deadly winds

blowing towards little fantail

trying to swoop down

fluffy feathers keeping warmth

stomach shouting for food,

I hope the gust escapes.



Colourful Parakeet

Gliding in the sky

soars around trees

green like lime

blue like blueberries

yellow like sunflowers

red like a fire


Feet like little twigs

swaying above the trees

flapping wings like crazy

claws dark and fierce

tail long and straight

fluffy as a bush

colourful and bright

Maya Y3


Cheeky Fantail

Cheeky little fantail flying

through the air with

its fluffy wings.


Today it’s soft

as silk

sharp brown, white and



So cheeky little fantail

flies through the air

trying to find food

for the baby fantails,

and the fantail lands.

Jaime Y4
















At Port Chalmers the walls are stunning and the poems are humming

photo 1

photo 2

When I visited the Year 0-1 class at Port Chalmers School, we made up some poems together.

I really loved the ideas and words they came up with. Our time went by in a flash and I was sad to leave.

I also loved the gorgeous letter and flower paintings on the walls. They even had some birds that joined in with the poems (excuse the blurry photo).


Our four delicious poems:



Cold rain

click click rain

shower-drop rain

pouring rain

pip pip rain

hailing rain

wet rain

little m & m rain

beautiful rain


A Very, Very Cold Day

Cold chins and cold hands

The clouds are grey

I wear winter woollies

gold mittens and silver hats

brrrr    brrrr    brrrr

I lie on a soft couch

and drink hot chocolate

slurp slup slurp slup

Warm chins and warm hands

snug snug snug


The Cat

Fluffy pom-pom cat

brown fur

green eyes

wire whiskers

wild sharp claws

long swishing tail


My cat eats

fish and cat biscuits

sausages and banana bread


My cat likes

to chase dogs and mice and

sleep on the mail box.



Pizza (after Pauline Cartwright’s spaghetti poem)

Pizza is cheesy

pizza is meaty.

It’s salami

and pineapple

and ham

and tomato.

It’s sticky and crunchy

and yum yum yum yummy

Is there more on the plate?

I like it so much.



At Port Chalmers: The Albatross

Sersha is in Y6 at Port Chalmers School.

I love this bird poems she wrote.



The Albatross


In the noir night sky

shines a white star

gliding, soaring, dancing

Then after a daily dose of air

she sits perched

staring at the horizon

her wings wrap around her

like a jersey

and then she sleeps.

The Fourth Fabulous Poetry Competition (2015): The results

The NZ Book Council has supported this competition for the past two years (I am so grateful for their generosity – they do admin, fly me to the school, get me a hire car and accommodation!), so it was only fitting the CEO, Catriona Ferguson, helped me judge it.  In fact this time I decided the final choice was up to her. But we were in complete agreement when it came to the winners and a handful of Highly Recommended schools because they really stood out in terms of variety and quality.

Catriona came out to my house in the country and we buried our noses in fabulous poems. Every school’s selection had a standout poem or two, a poem that crept in your pockets and under your skin because it was so good you knew it was going to stay with you. That blew me away! So bravo New Zealand schools.

We loved schools that surprised us, that used language that made us laugh or gasp or just say ‘wow!’. There were a lot of ANZAC poems, weather poems and family poems. The best of these used great detail, sounded good, mattered to us. These poems took us right into the heart of  war, or family or the weather. Sometimes a poem can create a strong mood with just a few words. That is what words can do!

We loved the way poems can do and be anything. You can tell when a child has really enjoyed doing a piece of writing and feels proud of it. It shows.

Some schools just sent in one poem so even though that poem might have been great, we were after a submission of 12 poems.


Thank you so much teachers and students for sending in the poems. I know it is hard when you do so much work and you don’t get picked. But just because you didn’t win doesn’t mean your writing wasn’t liked and valued. For me the most important, the most wonderful thing, is the writing of the poem.

I am going to post a few of my favourite poems from ALL the entries this week. Watch this space! Keep writing poems! Do keep trying my challenges every Monday. I posted one this morning.


And a HUGE thank you the NZ Book Council Council, especially Catriona and Lynette. You are poetry stars!

Teachers, let me know if you have done an exciting poetry project in your class. I might be able to share it with the rest of New Zealand!




The Results   (C o n g r a t u l a t i o n s ! )



The Winner:  St Cuthbert’s School

Highly Recommended: Good Shepherd School and Hauraki School


North island

Ormond School, Gisborne

Highly Recommended: West End School and Carnot School in Palmerston North


South Island

The Winner:  Port Chalmers School, Dunedin

Highly Recommended: Arrowtown Primary School and Russley School, Christchurch



Here are a few poems from the winning schools:


My Seed Pod Poem

Steep hills create a canoe

Wide dips form a slide

Brown curves build a roller coaster

The dark mahogany ladder

leads to the head of a hissing snake

Sara, Age 11, Year 6, St Cuthbert’s School


Rock ‘n’ Roll

Bam! The wheels hit the ground,

I jump onto my aqua-blue skateboard.

Careful I say to myself,

Just go straightforward.

I roll down the pathway,

With great speed.

My wheels roll on,

In the boiling heat.

I wake with excitement the next morning,

Draped mist in the sky.

A curtain of cold cloud won’t stop me,

My wheels roll on by.

I am speeding like a jet,

That’s what I have been told.

People watch in amazement,

As they see me rock ‘n’ roll.

Georgia, Y5, Age 9, St Cuthbert’s College





am a leafy, lovely tree


am a beautiful tree

staying on the grass


am brownish, yellowish

reddish and greenish


am a smooth tree


can feel the puffy clouds

lying on me


want to see

the marshmallowy clouds.

Ashlynne, Year 2, Age 6 Ormond School


The Christmas Tree


felt the cold breeze


felt like it was

a huge person


it blew on me


am a Christmas tree


am shiny

like gold

Noah Y3 Age 7 Ormond School



Autumn Leaves

Like little raindrops

falling off the trees,

floating to the ground.


When you walk in the leaves

the brown leaves crunch

beneath your feet.

Ashieka Brasell-Jagger Y2, Age 6, Port Chalmers School


Autumn Discovery

The leaf swishes and sways down to the

ground trying to be the first one.

It’s warm to the touch and red like fire.

The veins fade as the sun burns.

The spiny edges protect it from predators.

It lies dead as other leaves fall.

It rustles in the wind.

The bent stalk is like an umbrella handle.

Autumn has changed the weather to a dark

and cool place.

One sweep and a huge pile is gone.

One more sweep and all signs of life

have vanished.

Only the old and rugged branches of the tree

stand by.

Louie Y4, Age 8 Port Chalmers School