May 14th, 2020

Bookshow at Home with Rachel Rooney

This week we are back with another of our favourite books, A Kid in My Class by children's poet Rachel Rooney, illustrated by Chris Riddell. Rachel made us a special video from lockdown, which you can watch below and there are some fun activities you can do at home. You can sign up to our newsletter here, or follow us on twitter @ChildrensBkShow. Our activities should appeal to all kinds of readers, writers and artists, so everyone can get involved.

Book of the Week: A Kid in My Class

Everyone in this class has a poem just for them: the whizz kid and the daydreamer, the best friender and the kid who runs in his wheelchair. The tough kid, the poet, even the class hamster!

Vivid and imaginative illustrations by former UK Children's Laureate Chris Riddell bring Rachel's poetry to life on the page. A Kid in My Class is funny, heartwarming and sometimes sad. We at The Children's Bookshow love how this book gives every child an opportunity to see themselves in poetry.

Author in focus

Rachel Rooney lives in Brighton and works as a special needs teacher, along with visiting schools for poetry workshops. Her perfect day would involve writing, walking the dogs and talking with friends by an open fire.
Her first collection of poems for older children The Language of Cat won the 2012 CLPE Poetry Award and was long listed for the Carnegie Medal. Rachel's other books include The Problem with Problems and My Life As A Goldfish.

Watch Rachel recite poems from A Kid in My Class

Rachel Activities!

Write a Poem

In her video, Rachel reads her poems The Poet and Accident Prone. But A Kid in My Class is a collection of poems which includes the many personalities to be found in a typical classroom. Others include:

Whizz Kid
Keepy-Uppy Kid
The Artist
As Shy As
Tough Kid

Perhaps you recognise yourself or a friend in some of these characters? Have a go at writing a poem to describe yourself or one of the children in your class. Think of their main personality trait and then brainstorm all of the thoughts, emotions, actions and behaviours which you associate with that trait. Below is a brainstorm by Archie, who chose 'The Faffer' as the subject for his poem.

You could use the rhythm and rhyme scheme from either of the poems read by Rachel, or choose another form of poetry you like such as a Haiku, Kenning, acrostic or free verse. You can find out about different forms of poetry at BBC Bitesize.

Here is Archie's final poem:

The Faffer
The boy is easily distracted.
He chats quite a lot with his friends.
When he’s reading a book,
He doodles a duck
And prays that the day will soon end.

The boy is easily distracted.
Always jumping from task to task.
Getting out of his seat,
His work’s never neat
And he’s frequently finishing last.

The boy is easily distracted.
He’s always fiddling with stuff.
He stares up into space
And trips on his lace
‘Til his teacher ends up in a huff.

By Archie (age 11)

Visualise a Poem

Visualisation is the ability to create mental images of characters, settings and events while reading a text. Being able to visualise helps you to become more involved with the story as you read it.

In her poem Accident Prone Rachel describes a series of calamities which the boy experiences. Can you picture these disastrous accidents in your mind’s eye? Have a go at drawing one, two or maybe all of them. You could draw several images to show each accident in succession. Or perhaps you could show how the boy and his classroom looks after all of these disasters!

We'd love to see your visualisations and read your poems! To send us your work to display in our gallery use the link below, or upload to twitter with the hashtag #BookshowAtHome. You might also like to send us a video of you reading your work.

Here is the first poem we've received - well done Sofia! (Click on the image for a closer look)

Email us your work for our gallery

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