Tag Archives: St Cuthberts

St Cuthbert’s Y2 students go to the moon (Wow!) and a writing group write up a storm of cats

I find the imagination of Y2 students so refreshing. I felt inspired by the moon poems — by the little bits that glinted for my eye and my ear. I really loved my one session with you. Thank you for diving into the moon and coming up with glorious poems.


Shiny Moon

Shiny moon silvery moon

my moon sparkly moon

peaceful moon white moon

my moon helps me

go to sleep.

Isabella Y2


The Moon

White gray black moon

we see it

in the night

it looks like

a man

it’s sparkly

and bright

it’s a bedside

lamp when I


but all of us

know we’re

not allowed

to explore it.

Maddie Y2



The moon is

very rocky

white yellow

and blue.

Sometimes at

night I stay

up to look

at the moon.

It looks very far

away. And also very

sparkly. Sometimes

I imagine it’s

a potato and

I imagine I’m

eating it. It

reflects down

on the water

and looks just

like a mirror

and sometimes

it comes

out at day.

It sparkles. It twinkles.

Chloe Y2



The Moon

The moon is

like a fluffy


white red and


light shines the


That is my favourite


because it reminds

me of my aunt.

Sienna Y2


The Moon

The moon is sparkly

and bright, it is

like a fluffy pillow

in the sky,


Sofia F Y2


The Moon

White blue and red

sparkles glows and twinkles

blank sky when the moon

lights the way

the lovely bright moon

Sophie Y2



I also did a small workshop with a collection of students who love writing from a range of ages. We did cat poems. I love the way the students went off in direction cat directions. Thanks for all your creative energy!


My Cat Poem

Green grass that my

cat likes to run



He is white and grey like

a cloud,

slurping water

really loudly,

fluffy but fat

running like the


stretching like

a rubber band,


sitting as

still as a



I love my cat.

Lilyana Y6


The Cat

My gray, white and

brown cat likes to

lie flat and have

a little naughty time

and tease the dog. My cat

loves the black hat,

he sleeps

in there, eats in there and

then never ever comes

out …

Isabelle  Y4


Fat Cat

The cat is woken

anger through the brain,

stretches, arches


liver-food smell covers

the ramshackle house,

the lazy cat prowls

to a tree,

sneaks to the kitchen

looking for food,


back to the couch

to sleep

until …

Anna Y6


The Cat

It prowls

It arches

on the couch

lazy as can be,

climbs up a tree,


Anna H Y6




Visiting St Cuthbert’s – the winning school in Auckland – the library is a hot spot!

This week I spent two days at St Cuthbert’s Junior School (Y0 – 6), the Auckland winner of the Fourth Fabulous Poetry Competition. I did two performances, lots of workshops and a writing workshop with the staff. Everyone was very enthusiastic about poetry (young and old) so it made my visit a real delight.

The library was a hot spot in the school for me. The fabulous school librarian, Crissi Blair, has created a vibrant space where children hang out at lunch time tucked into books. Warm, cosy, inviting. Lots of challenges for children to do. I stationed myself there in the breaks so children could share poems they had written with me and bring me books to sign. Wonderful!

Libraries can be such important places in schools and librarians such important bridges between books and children.

School libraries matter. They enhance the reading and thus writing life of both teacher and child. So congratulations Crissi.


I am going to post some poems as a poem diary of my wonderful two days of poetry with children. My diary will come in three parts!



First up an interactive poetry performance with Y4 to 6. I read poems, we made up poems and started a few poems. Imaginations were reaching, words went flying. I loved it.



Glittering light

rocky craters

surface soft smooth,





the night

black sky.


(we played with the form of my Night Cat poem)



A second performance  with Y0 – 3 and again words were skidaddling and imaginations cartwheeling. I loved this too! This is one of the poems we made up (inspired by my Rain poem).



Rain is like

ice breaking

ckch ckch ckch ckch ckch ckch


Rain is like

little bubbles popping



Rain falls like

a stampede of rhinos



Rain is like

somebody crying



Rain is like

somebody whispering




I love the way children leave the performances humming with poetry especially when they go back to class, roll up their poetry sleeves and get writing. One class had already made pictures of invented animals so, inspired by my ‘Anifable’ poem, made up poems to match. Bravo!






Y 5 and 6 invented spectacular trees. I loved the imaginations at work here.


The Imaginary Tree

Reaching up to endless blue

standing out in a crowd.

It cannot move,

forever still

leaves bunched up

like a curled

oval brush.

Tall and proud

as stiff as bricks,

no-one to challenge,

not even the wind.

Hannah Y6


The Falling Acorn (the first part of the poem)

Brown towering figures

creased vibrant

colours shedding

red, green, orange


hard acorns

lush brown


never stop falling

Charlotte Y5


We also wrote poems about native birds. I loved the way the students searched for detail that made the birds come alive on the page and listened to the music of every line.

The students still have to edit their poems. I am challenging them to look for words they repeat. To listen to the flow of every line. To make sure their endings don’t get too waffly (sometimes you can cut it back to a handful of words and it will be stronger!).

Hannah wrote a terrific short poem and then transformed it into a longer poem. Here is the short version she wrote first. I really love the standout similes she chose. I really love her longer poem too but want her to edit the ending with her ears and eyes.



Its playful, cheet-cheet voice

milk chocolate wings,

a ballerina’s skirt, lit

up with pillars of pure white light.

Hannah Y6


The Blue Duck

Craak, whio, craak,

calls the blue duck,

its chest like rosy apples

and its beady hazelnut eyes.

It floats down the river

waddling, scrapping, diving,

its feathers black as charcoal,

fluttering and glistening,

ready to begin flight.

Clementine Y6


Thank you Year 5 and 6 students, I really loved my time with you. Best wishes for completing your poems.







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






I also had a terrific visit to St Cuthbert’s cooking up poetry with the young poets

How I love the way children leap into poetry and take up my challenges and let imaginations go soaring and ears go hunting and eyes go searching.

This is what happened when I went to St Cuthbert’s. I had such a good time cooking up poetry with the young poets. It was a fabulous day. Here are some of our poems:


4MI, 4NA, 3BR & 2TH

Cheek Pockets

What does the bonnet macaque

Keep in her cheek pocket?

Crispy chips and hard bricks

Tiny mushrooms and crazy loons

Creeping lizards and crawling caterpillars

Bright rainbows and hard roads

Silvery snakes and quivering cakes

Sleeping babies and big blue whales

Healthy lettuce and purple turnips

Stripy cats and playful bats

Wolves that howl and bulls that bounce

Colourful posters and roller coasters

Squishy marshmallows and a soft pillow

Dogs with spots and dogs with dots


The Animal Poem

A fishagator swims like a shark

Caterfly walks along a leaf

Cox is searching through the forest

Micesnake chase their tails

Octobunny is slightly funny

Squirreldog stores nuts.


The Library

The library is my free pass to

The hills and the garden

The train station and the waterfalls

Sandy places and arctic spaces

Faraway lands and overseas

The rainforest and the sea

Dr Seuss and TV channels

Tropical lands and icy planes


5AR & 5BE

Kiwi Iwi

Pecking at worms

Chocolate fur

Shuffling, hopping in the dark

Dark brown streak running

Midnight eyes

Pecking at slimy worms

Walking in the shade


What does he do

In the midnight moon?


Cheek pockets

What does the bonnet macaque

Keep in her cheek pocket?

Black cats and dirty rats

Leopards and lettuce

Evil bats in heavy sacks

Silver Junes and Wednesday moons

Cooks and books

Elephants and pelicans

Colourful parrots and orange carrots

Lovely horses and tricky courses

Vicious dogs and big logs

What will we find

in store this time?