Workshops at the Wordsworth Trust

Date Posted: 27/08/2015

Dove Cottage, William Wordsworth's first family home. Photo credit: Visit England.

As National Poetry Day approaches on 8th October, School Travel Organiser takes a look at how a visit to the Wordsworth Trust in Cumbria can enhance student learning.

The author of Daffodils and co-author of Lyrical Ballads with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Wordsworth is one of England’s best-known poets.

The Wordsworth Trust provides a range of workshops for Early Years through to Key Stage 5 and gives school groups a chance to explore the poet’s first family home, Dove Cottage, and the Wordsworth Museum.

Below are a pick of the workshops it has on offer and how can they enhance students’ appreciation for poetry.

Key Stage 1 and 2

The Who was William Wordsworth? workshop, targeted to both Key Stages 1 and 2, introduces students to the famous poet and the period in which he lived, over 200 years ago.

Activities include dressing up in clothes similar to those of the period, handling historic objects and listening to some of Wordsworth’s poetry in either Dove Cottage or the Wordsworth Museum.

In the Key Stage 2 Narrative Poetry workshop, students will learn about rhyme, narrative and plot in poetry. Focusing on either Lucy Gray or Goody Blake and Harry Gill, students will develop an understanding of what narrative poetry is and how a poem can tell a story.

Key Stage 3 and 4

Workshops for Secondary schools look to tie in with the National Curriculum and help prepare students for exams.

The How to Read a Poem workshop looks at how students can approach an unseen poem in an exam, whilst the Battle in the Cause of Liberty? session is suitable for students studying World War One and war poetry.

The workshop examines how the wars since Wordsworth have shaped the work of other poets.

Key Stage 5

For Sixth Form groups, the Wordsworth Trust offers both workshops and seminars to prepare them for their A-Level exams.

In the Introduction to Romantic Poetry seminar, students will be invited to explore the ideas and experiences of Wordsworth and other Romantic poets, including Samuel Taylor Coleridge and John Keats, who influenced their writing.

The Wordsworth’s Themes seminar then explores in more detail where Wordsworth got his inspiration for his poetry and will also be an opportunity for students to work with original manuscript, such as The Prelude.

Workshops for any age

They always say the best way to learn is to get involved and the Firelight Poets workshop gives students the opportunity to write their own poetry.

After discovering different types of poetry and different literary techniques, students will use the surroundings of the fire-lit rooms of Dove Cottage and its gardens as inspiration for their own work.

Below are two poems written by students on a visit to Dove Cottage:

The bed stands proud yet shy in the corner
Where Wordsworth once would have dreamed
Of mountains, lakes and sky.
The steep crags and rolling hills,
The deep depths and herons skimming the shores.
The angry clouds and pouring rain pattering against the windows
Outside of Wordsworth’s sanctuary of sleep,
His ship of sub consciousness
The den of dreams
In which he lies.

Fire
I am a graceful dancer
A beauty beyond compare
See me prance
Watch me dance
Gaze upon my wild golden hair,

I am the soul of the house
A generator too
I can see every mouse
every woodlouse
On all I cast a cosy hue.

The Wordsworth Trust offers free downloadable resource packs and all visits are supported with a risk assessment, free familiarisation visit for teachers, as well as suggested follow-up activities for each workshop.

Exhibitions

Visits at the start of the new term can also be combined with trip to the Wordsworth, War & Waterloo exhibition, running until 1st November. The exhibition shows Wordsworth and other Romantic period writers as ‘war poets’ and will display hand-written manuscripts of Wordsworth’s war poetry to highlight his response to conflict.

For more information visit https://wordsworth.org.uk/home.html.

School Travel Organiser's Guide