Poetry Picnic – National Poetry Day 2015


Thursday 8th October was National Poetry Day which was celebrated country wide judging by the high media (radio & television) and even higher social media presence.  Once again we celebrate poetry in the form of our annual poetry picnic which has been going since 2003/4.

This years theme was Light which gave an excuse for putting up some festive lights (not quite the right P1080658season for them yet), getting the candles out (battery operated, of course), and playing with torches, prisms and lasers (carefully).  Much fun was had by all, none the least Mrs Sinclair, the Librarian who was much amused by her purchase of remote control candles, let alone experimenting with passing light through prisms, faceted glass balls and water bottles.  We must than Mr McCaig, our science technician, for putting a tray of stuff together at the last minute as well as providing a fibre optic light.

P1080671We also read out some poetry for the poetry postcards from The Scottish Poetry Society as well as doing the tongue twister game – everyone in sequence reads a tongue twister.  If they stumble over words or get it wrong, they drop out.

In the run up to the day, all S1 and S2 pupils did some poetry writing during the library / literacy periods.  They were asked to have a look at some art work and write a few lines of poetry based on the image – what it portrayed? How it made them feel?

Some pupils then entered these for the poetry competition, with the closing date of Friday 30th October.


Poetry postcards were also delivered to classes during periods 1 and 2 with the teacher reading out the poem to their class.  This was a way of bringing poetry to a wider audience as well as trying to get the whole school involved.

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Some comments:

It looked like a medieval meeting but fun!

I like how you did the tongue twister game.

It was fun and exciting.

It was great.

I quite liked the ambiance.

A wonderful, cosy event. It was over too soon! Not much you can do to address that problem in a lunch break.

I think it was really fun, good, and interesting.  I loved all the lasers.  They were so pretty.

Participants were also asked for ideas for improvement and of those that commented on this, most that the event was “good as it is” and another suggested having a quiz.  Now there’s an idea to think of.

All in all it was a very successful event with the pupils and staff who attended appearing to enjoy it.  Acknowledgments must got to all attendees, the staff who read out poems to their classes periods 1 & 2, and the pupils who helped, whether it was delivering the poetry postcards or helping with photographs and tidying up afterwards.  Without you, these events would be more difficult to pull off.

Thank You!  FS

Postcards, Paintings, Picnic, Competition & Light

Thursday 8th October, yep! – that is next week and the second last day of term.  “Yipee!”, I hear you say.  So, next Thursday sees us returning to our annual celebration of poetry with the return to the tried and tested Poetry Picnic format.  It will be held in the school library at lunchtime (12:25 – 1:30pm).  Snacks, tea and coffee will be available (for small donation towards costs) as well as general banter about poetry on this year’s theme of ‘Light‘ (and maybe just general banter) in celebration of National Poetry Day.

What can you look forward to?

Sharing Poetry – Poetry postcard deliveries will take place during periods 1 – 3 next Thursday 8th October.  Where teachers will ‘drop everything and read’ poems from this year’s (or previous years poetry postcards) if convenient, otherwise the poem will be read out at the end of the lesson.  We will require some S6 volunteers to help deliver these cards.

Poetry Competition – Write a poem on the theme of ‘Light’.  Poem can be based on your own thoughts, feelings, etc. on ‘light’ or use one of the paintings on display in the library and write a poetic response to it.  Staff and pupils can enter.


Poetry & Plagiarism – As part of the introduction to the poetry competition, S2 pupils have been given a chance in English Library / Literacy periods to start to consider writing a poem about ‘Light’.  Pupils respond to a painting which has clever use of light or has a title with ‘light’ in it.  They write 5-6 lines of poetry. 

They are then asked to swap their work with someone else.  The pupils then writes their name on the piece of work they got.  Pupils head off to do 10-15 minutes of personal reading whilst the teacher and librarian go round and look at the poetry giving out up to 3 stamps each for work which shows promise or is looking good… based on initial impressions.  Those with the most stamps get a peedie prize (sweetie). 

The outcry is tangible as pupils are getting ‘rewards’ for something they didn’t write.  We then have a short discussion on what was wrong with this and why, including how it makes people feel.  Thus, they get a feeling about exactly what plagiarism is and why we insist on pupils using their own words and ensuring they reference their sources of information.  Thank you to the ever useful School Librarians’ Network forum for the idea.

Poetry Picnic – Come along to the poetry picnic held over the whole of lunch. Pop in for a short while are stay the full 40 minutes of your lunch.  We might even bring back the popular ‘tongue twister’ competition. 

Pupil helpers – There will be a requirement for some pupil volunteers to help with the poetry picnic and to tidy up afterwards so anyone interested should get in touch with Mrs Sinclair. (NB. We have three already so one or two more would be helpful.)

Playing with Light – We are also hoping to enlist the help of the science department so that a small display or quick experiments in light can be done during the poetry picnic.  Watch this space!

Display with poetry competition images and poems from the poetry postcards.
Display with poetry competition images and poems from the poetry postcards.

So, a lot is planned and without you, the pupils and staff, this event wouldn’t work so well.  Let’s see if this can be our best yet.  See you next Thursday!

A New Term, New Pupils, Library @Lunchtime & Upcoming Events

So, once again we are into the start of a new session and most of us have hit the ground running. I am now safely ensconced back in my library, clean (mostly) and tidy after the upheaval of the building work. The windows are in, the insulated cladding is on the external walls and the radiators are turned off (well as off as old valves allow). There is no doubt the library is substantially warmer than it has been over the last few years. There is still some external work yet to do in the form of rendering the walls but I am looking forward to when the scaffolding is down and allowing more natural light back into the library (just in time for the darker days of winter).

The school has now been back seven days. The new S1 pupils are now finding their way round. Most were issued with their library cards last week and will start on a programme of Library & Information Literacy Skills lessons this week.

The library is proving to still be a popular gathering place at lunchtime with the usual regulars and increasing numbers of new S1 pupils coming along to use the space, in particular the computers. This may be a timely reminder to regulars and new users alike that even at lunchtime the library needs to be properly used. We are usually fairly relaxed in what activities take place at lunchtime, but do remember the library is still a work space for many. There are guidelines in place in the form of a leaflet available from the library , but here are some salient points:

  • Use the library (@lunchtime) for: Homework; Study, research or revision; Reading (books or magazines); Use computers; Play board games, Magic the Gathering, or other games; Help the Librarian.
  • You are expected to:
    • Be seated in chairs
    • Leave furniture where it is
    • Chat quietly
    • Respect those doing school work
    • Use the Reading Zone for personal reading
    • Keep mobile phones and personal music players switched off and out of sight

Enjoy your use of the library. Remember if you have any suggestions as to activities we can offer or you want to suggest new books then please let Mrs Sinclair know.

Upcoming Events

  • Scholastic Book Club leaflets available in library from 25th August.
    • Deadline for school orders: 3rd December 2015. Online (preferred)at http://schools.scholastic.co.uk/stromness-academy
    • OR… fill in order form on leaflet and hand to Mrs Sinclair, Librarian with correct payment. (NB. if you want delivery from to home P&P is extra.)
  • National Poetry Day – Thursday 8th October
  • Spooky Happenings – Hallowe’en storytelling – Friday 30th October

Poetry Picnic


The annual Poetry Picnic took place yesterday, Thursday 3rd October and was attended by around 20 pupils over the course of the lunch break. This is now the 11th year we have been celebrating National Poetry Day. The Poetry Picnic idea didn’t really start until 2006, but we did have a ‘Poetry Feast’ back in 2004 when the theme was Food.

In the run up to NPD, during library periods, pupils in S1 and 2 did some keyword brainstorming around this year’s theme of water then wrote a few lines of ‘poetry’ which were then used to create tag clouds. The lines of poetry also informed the Cento (group poem) which produced on the day, although this will still be a work in progress with more lines hopefully being added before the end of term next week.


The Lower library was rearranged so that pupils could all sit around a large table, indulging in snacks as well as having the space to play the poetry pairs game (downloaded from the National Poetry Day website) and attempt to fit the poetry postcards, from The Scottish Poetry Library, together into a pattern – a postcard jigsaw!

Pupils also took turns in reading out some of the poems from the postcards as well as those from the pairs game. One pupil fortuitously grabbed a book off the poetry display (The Upside-Down Frown  : Shape Poetry by Andrew Peters, Wayland 1999) and happened to turn to a watery themed poem… totally unplanned as far as we were aware.

In the afternoon, the last S1 class of the week, spent about 15 minutes at the end of their library period playing the poetry pairs game and looking at the postcards.

It was awesome (S1)

We could write lines of poetry (S3)

It was fun (S3)

Great fun (S1)

Blumin lovely (S6)

Brilliant as usual (S6)


Poetry Picnic

Yet another successful and enjoyable celebration went ahead  in the library last week on National Poetry Day (Thurs 6th October). Around 25 pupils attended over the course of lunchtime to enjoy poetry readings, a poetry pairs game and a tongue twisters game, as well as the snacks on offer.

The next event will be the ‘Spooky Happenings’ storytelling after the October holidays, most likely on Friday 4th November.

Games! Poetry!

National Poetry Day is coming up next week on Thursday 6th October. This year’s them is GAMES. The school library will be celebrating it in the usual way with a lunchtime Poetry Picnic to include poem readings and snacks and maybe even some games. All next week we will be promoting the playing of the available board games in the library at lunchtime.

Click these links to see previous years’ Poetry Picnics: