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Royal road to birthday poems

Living in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, Oakfield First School watched the celebrations to mark the Queen's 80th birthday with much interest. We had lots of discussion about what kind of gifts Her Majesty might receive and wondered what we could give her.

Diamond-studded corgi collars apart, we found this very difficult.

I read the children Kit Wright's poem "Magic Box." It in, Kit describes items he would put in an imaginary box. These make wonderful use of the senses. He begins with the alliterative such as the "swish of a sari on a summer night" and "the tip of a tongue touching a tooth." On the Poetry Class website, Anthony Wilson explains how he has used this poem with children from Years 1 to 4 as it gives imagination full rein. This seemed an opportunity to create imaginative gifts for Her Majesty, gifts that money could not buy.

After much talk of favourite smells, sounds and sights, the children wrote some beautiful poems. We called our poems "My Gift to the Queen". The children's perception and sensitivity was enlightening. It also gave a secure scaffold for the less able, as every verse had three lines, with a repeated line "I will put into my box" between verses.

Lines included "the taste of melting chocolate", "the smell of shoes that have been polished", "the flutter of a butterfly". The ideas could of course be used for other events.

Every child experienced a sense of achievement and I have sent the poems to Buckingham Palace.

Michelle Gregory

Literacy co-ordinatorsenior teacher, Oakfield First School, Windsor

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