Tag Archives: Redcliffs School

Wow! Hannah’s murky bog is STUNNING (she’s in Year 4)

I was so delighted when Hannah sent me this piece of writing. Hannah is in Year 4 and goes to Redcliffs School in Christchurch. Thanks to the New Zealand book Council I got to visit this splendid school last year.

I love the way Hannah has worked at editing her piece. It is full of EYE catching detail, juicy words, dancing similes. This piece of writing is a JOY to read.  Thank you Hannah! I have read it SEVEN times so far.



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a thank you letter and no more Autumn

It is always special when you get a thank-you letter. And this one even has a Spring poem in the middle of it which is really cool. I was delighted to read Hannah’s poem. On a gusty wet day just what you need!

Hi Paula

Thanks for the wonderful book that you have sent me. I read it a few days ago and thought it was quite good.  I thought it was great for you to come to Redcliffs School and tell us some of your poems. I’ve made you a poem – I hope you like it.


Spring is….

baby animals everywhere
pretty flowers here and there
trees blossoming all around
no more autumn leaves on the ground


Bye bye for now

Hannah xoxo (Redcliffs School – Year 3)

Redcliffs School: a rain tree, the outstanding outside and best friends

On the last morning of my tour of Christchurch I went to Redcliffs School. They are now housed in Van Asche School for the Deaf in Sumner and, as Skye told me when she showed me round, it is like a little village. Their old school is at the bottom of the cliffs that subsided — and you can still see the houses perched precariously on the knife edge of the cliff.

It was a great visit and I loved the interview by students (on an iPad) for the school programme.

I got asked  such good questions at this school, I am sending the library a copy of my poetry book, Flamingo Bendalingo (thanks to Thomas and Joshua for great questions). Hannah asked me the most surprising and wonderful question I have been asked in awhile: ‘Did you have a best friend when you were at school and did that best friend love poetry like you did and did that best friend help you with words?” My answer was: ‘No I didn’t, but now that I am grown up I do have a best  friend who loves poetry and helps me with words!’ I loved that question so much I am sending Hannah my book The Terrible Night.

It is a good for the publishers, but sadly nearly all my children’s books are out-of-print or nearly out-of-print (maybe 5 copies left). Just as well as there are still copies of Flamingo Bendalingo we can still buy (I have just ordered some more to give away).  And luckily I have two new children’s poetry books coming out next year!

It was extra special to go to Redcliffs as Skye has a poem that will be in my treasury of poems coming out next year. She read it to the school so beautifully.


And to celebrate my 200th post, I had posted this poem by Siena ( a few weeks ago). She is 7, in Year 3 and also goes to Redcliffs School.


I was delighted to hear Siena read this poem and give her a copy of Macaroni Moon.

Rain tree

Rain trees can flood

thunder bolts bang,

trees rustle as they

move side to side,

snow falls down

Rain makes puddles so you can play in drizzle,

you might be allowed to play in it

Big raindrops fall from the sky

When rain drops it makes mud on dirt

I like playing in the rain

Mitchell’s winter poem is wild! Go Redcliffs School

I can’t wait until holiday time to post one of your poems so here is a poem by Mitchell. I don’t think I have ever written an acrostic poem in my life! I should give it a go because it looks like fun. Mitchell has been on the hunt for things that happen in winter. I love the way the trees are losing their leaves and we have to wrap up warm in bed to escape the cold (luckily the trees in my garden are natives so they don’t stand in our garden bare and shivering). Mitchell’s last line is full of lovely alliteration — it’s like a rugby ball is rrrrunning along the line! Magnificent job Mitchell!

Winter and acrostic poem

Wet and windy weather makes the wipers go
Icy roads are slippery, so we stay inside
Nippy noises start to run, nests were made in the sun
Terrible thunder and torrential rains, make the trees lose their leaves
Early evenings off to bed, escape the cold to wrap up warm
Rain drops rustle on rusty roof tops, running rugby’s what we want
By Mitchell aged 6 Year 2 Redcliffs School

Skye’s list poem from Redcliffs School

OOh I liked this list poem so much I am sending Skye a copy of my book Macaroni Moon!  I commented it on my last post. I only have a few copies left!  Redcliffs School you have a done a great job with all the poems you sent in.

The Race

The gun goes

The splash comes

Nervous parents

twiddle thumbs

closing in

on the line

almost there

fastest time

golden cup

flashing brightly

I skipped back

Very sprightly.

Skye. Aged 8, Year 4, Redcliffs School.

List Poems that Leap in Your Ear on Poetry Box Bravo young poets

List poems are such fun to write and are the perfect opportunity to play with words.

List poems can have set patterns but you can play with the pattern. List poems often sound really good when you read them out loud because they can have great rhythm. Some list poems come alive with delicious rhyme. List poems often surprise you but some list poems can make you laugh or remember things that put a smile on your face.


I had such fun reading all your list poems it was hard picking my favourites. You all did an amazing job. So bravo to you! It was such a popular challenge I think we will do it again later in the year.


Sam S from Ohaupo School has already been a winner on Poetry Box but his list poem, ‘Life is Trouble’ ticked all the right boxes for me. Poems come alive with great detail and Sam was an expert at finding great examples of things going wrong. I loved the way the poem changes track at the end and surprises you (not that poems always have to do this!). The poem sounds really good too. Great job Sam. I will send you a copy of my book Flamingo Bendalingo thanks to Auckland University Press.



Life is trouble

I hurt

When I do something wrong

When I flip off my bike

When my guinea pig died

When my sister is bossy

When I flew off the flying fox

When I get stuck in a fight

When I bang my toe on the door

When I get a whooper cold

When I got my warts freezed off

When I see something funny

I laugh

By Sam S 8yr Year 4 Ohaupo School



Skye hasn’t written your usual list poem with a set pattern but as a list of things happening at a race it works magnificently! I love the pace, the tension, the sound, the rhythm, the words chosen. Great job Skye!


The Race

The gun goes

The splash comes

Nervous parents

twiddle thumbs

closing in

on the line

almost there

fastest time

golden cup

flashing brightly

I skipped back

Very sprightly.

Skye. Aged 8, Year 4, Redcliffs School.



Ewen sent in three list poems but this was my favourite. The poem really makes the clothes come alive  — from the ones she loved to the ones that weren’t so good to wear! This poem also has great detail and has a great ending! Great job Ewen.


Clothes of inheritance

The grubby size six Popeye shirt

that I had two of.

The mickey mouse t-shirt and shorts

that I used to wear as pyjamas.

The blue and orange skate boarding top

that I couldn’t recall wearing.

The navy blue denim jacket

that made me feel all stiff.

The orange and black pants

that were prickly and hairy.

The browny grey jeans

that were so prodigious.

The dull red shirt

that was as thick as snow.

These inherited clothes are history

but the next lot is a mystery.


Ewen W aged 10, Year 6, Fendalton Open Air Primary School



Patrick has written a thoughtful list poem that brings together opposites so it really makes you think. List poems can be really good at that. He has ended up giving a fuller picture of what music might be. Great job Patrick!



Music Is

Music is the rising sun,

But also the dark side of the moon,

Music is the beauty of nature,

But also pollution of the planet,

Music is the spirit of life,

But also the coming of death,

Music is the greatest happiness,

But also the strongest sadness.

By Patrick K, aged 10, Room 11, Fendalton Open Air School.



And here are some more poems from Redcliffs School. I think I had as much fun reading these as you had writing them! Great job! I love Hamish’s ‘carpet of sand’ and Olivia’s mouth watering chicken list and I really loved Mitchell’s line “Hey don’t wear those, throw them in the bin” kind of shoes. Bravo Redcliffs School and bravo to your teachers Ann and Dion!



The beach

I see …..


waves crashing

dogs playing

friendly faces


carpet of sand




the setting sand.

Hamish Aged 8 Redcliffs School.


My Brother

He is …







That’s my awesome brother.

Raffy, aged 8 Redcliffs School.



I eat chicken

Chicken noodles

Crispy chicken

Marinated chicken

Battered chicken

Spicy chicken

Kentucky fried chicken

Chicken nibbles

Butter chicken

Nando chicken

I like chicken.


Olivia  C  Year 6,  Aged 10, Redcliffs School.


I like Beans.

Cocoa beans

Green beans

Canned beans

Humungous beans

Tiny beans

Frozen beans

Baked beans


Mark, Year 6, Aged 10 Redcliffs School.


Fav Food.

I eat eyeball

I eat fish

I eat everything

That is delish

I eat ice cream

I eat mince

Best of all

Smoores yum!!


Charli, Year 4, Redcliffs School, Aged 8




High heels

Ugg boots





Emma, Aged 8 Redcliffs School.



I eat cheese

Mozzarella cheese

Edam cheese

Blue brie cheese

Camber cheese

Colby cheese

Tasty cheese

Gourda cheese

I like cheese.

Olivia C, Aged 9 Redcliffs School.



I like lollies

Spinning tops, Lolly Pops

Smelly pops

TNT like


I like lollies

But not too many!


By Charlie H aged 7, Year 3 Redcliffs School


I like colours

Sparkly Blue

Leafy Green

Crunchy Red

Pretty Pink

Primrose Purple

Sun Yellow

Bright Indigo

Lava Orange

First Gold

Paper White

Second Silver

Dark Black

Dolphin Grey

Bull Brown

Jewel Emerald

I like colours


By Siena C aged 6, Year 2 Redcliffs School



I Love shoes

Yellow shoes

Black Shoes

High Heeled Shoes

Smelly Shoes

Stinky Shoes

Worn out shoes

“Hey don’t wear those, throw them in the bin”

All kinds of shoes

I love shoes


By Mitchell aged 6, Year 2 Redcliffs School



Small books

Big books

Cool books

Funny books

Bunny books

Sea books

Animal books

Silly Books

Fish Books

Wish books

Nonfiction books

Fiction books

Thinking books

I like fiction books


By Ethan aged 7 Year 3, Redcliffs School