Poetry in Motion with James Carter

For several years we have celebrated World Book Day in St. Cadoc's. This year we prolonged Book Day with some E.R.I.C. time (Everyone Reading In Class) every day throughout the week. Pupils were then invited to come to school on the day dressed as their favourite book characters - the costumes were fantastic and showed the huge range of literature children are enjoying.

All Involved, All Inspired

James Carter - St Cadoc's Work
In the morning pupils were split into Pupil Forum groups to ensure that every class had pupils from Primary 1 right up to 7 in them. This gave pupils the opportunity to work with children across every stage in the school, and get to know other members of staff. In the Pupil Forum staff introduced James Carter as a poet and began to explore some of our favourite pieces of James' work. We delivered four lessons across the school using 'Bug Hug', 'The Dark', 'Splish Splash Splosh' and a selection of James' shape poems. Pupils learned about James' background and enjoyed listening to some of his poetry via his website. With the children feeling inspired, we encouraged them to draw on some of James' work and create their own poetry. Pupils worked in mixed age groups which provided a huge range of ideas and vocabulary. The poems that were produced were excellent.

Sculpting Poetry

Some individual classes were so inspired after learning about James that their teachers decided to take the learning a little further. One primary 6 class decided to create sculptures to represent James' poems and used chicken wire and modrock to create wonderful representations of 'The Moon Speaks' and 'Tree'. Primary 4 decided to dramatise 'What did you do at school today?' and worked hard to include all of the specific detail that's mentioned in the hilarious and very relatable poem. Their production was funny and captivated the audience when they performed. Primary 6 and 7 also took their learning

James Carter at St Cadoc's Primary School
from the Pupil Forum back to class and created their own poetry which was then mounted and displayed at our recent parents' evening. 

When the pupils found out James was actually coming in person to visit them they were delighted. They prepared their work and questions for James carefully and on the day were not disappointed. James delivered an excellent morning to the pupils where they laughed (a lot) and learned about the art of writing poetry. They especially loved the interaction throughout the morning and responded well to James' humorous approach with staff and pupils alike. They were honoured to receive praise and feedback from James about their work and displayed a deep sense of pride in what they had produced.

Poetry can be written anywhere!

Pupils enjoyed sharing their work not only with James, but with their peers who had also been preparing for the visit. James invited the pupils to assist him in writing a poem on the spot and demonstrated how poetry can be written anywhere and be inspired by anything. Pupils enjoyed the time James gave at the end of the visit to sign copies of his books - memories they will cherish. Since the visit, many pupils have written some more poetry at home - they have truly been inspired.

Thank you to the Scottish Book Trust for offering and organising such a worthwhile and beneficial experience, and to James for offering his time and sharing his talent and inspiring the children of St. Cadoc's.

Scottish Book Trust has lots of ways to help you bring authors into the classroom! Keep an eye on our Upcoming Tours page to find out when we're next touring with authors, or consider applying for Live Literature Funding. Location's no barrier - no matter where your classroom is, you can tune into Authors Live and watch our previous Authors Live events on demand!


Claire Kavanagh

Claire Kavanagh is the Depute Head at St Cadoc's Primary School in East Renfrewshire.