Gifted and Talented Creative Writing Days

James Carter has been running hugely popular Gifted and Talented writing days in Primary Schools all over the UK for the last twelve years.

These are one-day workshops, with up to 30 children, often from 5 or so cluster schools. They can be either for Years 5 and 6 or for Years 3 and 4. Each school that attends is accompanied by an adult - either a teacher / teaching assistant / parent - to act as a support throughout the day. Those teachers that attend frequently remark that the day is akin to an INSET - and gives them plenty of new ideas and resources to take back and use in their own classrooms. NB A second day can be added if required.

Throughout the day, James takes the children on a journey through language - from fun warm-ups to all kinds of linguistic and poetic forms - from calligrams to shape poetry, free verse to raps, kennings to list poems - even using music and images as stimuli. The theme throughout the day is that of creating simple but highly expressive language, striking imagery, finding the right word for the right place, and above all, giving children the confidence to really explore their creativities. Although the emphasis is on poetry, story and prose fiction writing workshops can be included on request.

The intention is for the children attending to function as a community of writers and readers, giving support to each other, to listen actively to each other's work and to give constructive and positive feedback.

One school acts as host for the day, and provides an accompanying teacher / room (even hall) for the session.

One popular alternative to having multiple schools is for a school to have one or two internal sessions: either 30 children from Years 5 and 6 all day, or 30 children from Years 3 and 4 in the morning, and 5 and 6 in the afternoon.

'Our pupils loved James Carter's 'Gifted and Talented Writers' Day'. Not only was it exciting for our more able pupils to get such useful individual advice from such a clever poet but it was also a luxury to have a whole day of writing, editing and evaluating poetry with like-minded children from other schools. James's extension activities were challenging, entertaining and inspiring. It was also like having a special Poetry Inset Day for teachers. At the end of the workshop, we said we all wanted to rush home and write more poetry - which we did!'

Alana Dickinson, Head of English, Rupert House School