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Poetry in action

"Poetry opens the windows of the imagination," says performance poet Adisa, who has been giving workshops in schools since 1995. Typically, he begins with an hour-long interactive performance of his poetry, encouraging students to join in and ask questions about his work. At St Stephen's Church of England Primary School this was followed by the City Life workshop with Year 6. "We brainstormed what makes a city, and they really talked about what they felt, including about negative things like drunks on the street," says Adisa. "I wrote a little poem for them about going to Brixton on the tube and we used that as our guide. The idea was to play with simile and metaphor, trying to describe things through different eyes.

Buildings were like tall metal rulers reaching to the sky and people behaved like cunning foxes.

"In primary schools, young people think in similes and metaphors all the time, but they don't realise it is poetry. I just give them the framework and say: if you put that with that, and that with that, you've got a poem."

Adisa's highly rhythmical style of delivery strikes a chord with those who enjoy rap music. "Lots of young men from today's inner-city culture say they are not into writing or reading, but they are into rap or garage, which is all about reading and writing, and spelling, metaphor and imagery. I tap into that world and say: what you want to do is think from outside the box - that is a really powerful tool. We might look at something like love and ask: what does love smell like? Love can smell like my mother's hair. They tune in, because they do like words and word play, and they like what the power of the word can do. I just take a different approach from the one they are used to. Rather than saying: you have to pass this exam, I say: just enjoy the journey of words. They latch on to that."

Tel: 020 8220



iMovie digital video editing software is supplied with Apple iMac and eMac computers. Digital video and stills can be imported and made into movies, complete with visual effects, soundtrack, title and credits. St Stephen's new eMac has a CD-burner, and James Clark will be helping to make a promotional school video on CD-Rom for distribution to the local community.

"Until the City Life project I had never edited a film," he says. "But it is easier than you realise, especially with iMovie."

Tel: Apple 0900 039 1010.


Becta's website offers a guide explaining how to get started and how to integrate digital video into teaching and learning. Schools can also find details of Becta's Creativity in Digital Video Awards. There are several entry categories; St Stephen's won the award for a two-minute film in the eight-to-11 age group.

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