My Walk To School Friends is a poem from my book ‘Me and My Alien Friend’.
Here’s a little performance I made of it in my studio at home:
…and here’s the spread of the poem in the book:
The poem has been going down really well on my visits to schools.
The chorus lends itself to call-and-response really well- we do this with increasingly silly voices as the poem proceeds! I also encourage the children to do lots of sounds and actions through the poem. It works really nicely for all ages at primary school.
I find it’s a good poem to use as a starting point for talking about how important personal and particular experience is as inspiration for writing: the whole poem is based on an experience my son and I had on the way to school every day.
The poem is the starting point for lots of activities in class. There’s lots of possibilities for writing back stories for the cats in the poem and developing writing based on the seemingly ordinary experiences children have every day.Once we transformed a class into the streets where the cats live with cardboard boxes, masking tape and drawing materials. Children added the things they notice on the way to school. This is a nice playful creative 3D way to begin writing- a kind of big 3D whole class brainstorm!
It can also be a starting point for specifically writing about animal encounters. I often like to get children to write a letter to an imaginary friend about an animal encounter- this is a nice way of generating ideas, images and effective language before starting on a finished poem. I always use other poems with ‘My Walk To School Friends’ as a starting point for animal encounter poems. In the poem we meet the cats very briefly and it rhymes throughout. In contrast, I like to include a poem that doesn’t have a solid rhyme pattern and describes a relationship with one animal in more detail: