During the past months I have been working with a variety of schools – some of them as part of the Development Education Programme which is a joint initiative of Poetry Ireland and World Wise Global Schools, some with Writers in Schools (also Poetry Ireland!) and some directly with the schools as part of their JCSP programme.
This year I spent time in Bridgetown, Limerick, Kilkenny and Rathkeale. Each school different to the other but all interesting! I will in time write about each of these individually, but in the meantime wanted to post the pictures of their work.
One of the things I have been doing in each school is gathering the pieces of writing the students have completed into booklets – for the students themselves, their parents and the teachers. In Limerick the students sold the booklets as part of an effort to raise funds for the victims of the Nepal earthquakes. The booklet we worked on in Rathkeale will be worked on at the start of next year and will hopefully be out in December.
Part of the reason I do this is that is something solid for the students to hold onto at the end of a six week author in residence session. Something that they can take home and show their family, something they can show their friends. I think this creates additional value. In one of the groups a student said to me she was going to keep the booklet to show her children. I was delighted by that thought!
In Kilkenny we have held launches for the booklets with the wonderful Stonehouse Books, and last week we launched the booklet First Words written by some First and Second Years.
Launch at Stonehouse Books, May 2015
I think this is something I will carry on doing as part of any future author in residence sessions I do. It gives the students a goal to work towards and a sense of satisfaction at the end of it all and it gives me all that and more!