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Visit by Matt Windle: “Poet with a Punch”

On Thursday 30th January, we were privileged once again to have the inspiring Matt Windle visiting Hillgrove. Among his achievements are: Birmingham Young Poet Laureate 2007/8; 2012 Olympic Torchbearer; a ‘face’ of the new Library of Birmingham and Tolkein cluster leadership awards winner - not to mention his national rank as a top 8 boxer.

Matt ran three workshops during the day: each half of Year 11 enjoyed a two hour session in which they were given guidance on responding to an unseen poem (Matt used one of his own poems commissioned by the post office for the centenary of World War I); they learned a mnemonic to help them remember all fifteen poems in the AQA ‘Power and Conflict’ cluster; played ‘poetry techniques bingo’ based on one of the studied poems, ‘The Ẻmigrẻe and wrote a modern version of William Blake’s ‘London’ (using the same rhythm and rhyme scheme) to explore some of the themes and ideas whilst breaking down the language barriers. Students also learned some other revision techniques such as ‘blackout poetry’ to help them learn key quotations and as well as other visual learning techniques.

Half of Year 10 also enjoyed a one hour workshop working on similar activities.

It was great for students to learn new ways of approaching this section of their GCSE English Literature course and we received some very positive feedback from students on the day:

“He gave us some new and interesting ways to help to remember the poems. He successfully included technology to suit our age.”

“He taught us how to revise in new and interesting ways to help us retain information.”

“Matt taught us quick and easy methods to memorise large sections of poems.”

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