Trizzards, Guizzards and Lady Gagazzards
Next in an occasional series of post by Dave Lordan about teaching creativity in the classroom.
I had my first school visit this morning as Mater Dei poetry consultant, to Scoil Iosaf Mhuire, in St Mary’s Place, just off Dorset Street in inner city Dublin.
I was working with a group of seventeen girls in 5th and 6th class.
I asked them to guess where I was from. Cork, of course, due to my high pitched fast-yappery.
I explained to them about the time, years ago, when a troll, an elf and a giant chicken stole into the Helium Balloon Factory in Cork City and released zillions of tonnes of helium into the Cork atmosphere and that’s why Cork people talk the way we do, like crazy birds.
Then I told them what we would be doing in the class would be telling lies.
I asked was there any good liars in the class? A shot of hands. Excellent.
I said let’s start with the poor old truth and let ye tell me something ye did last weekend.
A girl in the front row says: I went to my cousins’ and I had pizza.
I said what was on the pizza?
Pepperoni and Salami, another girl offered.
Says I: Can someone else tell me a good lie now to make the story better?
She broke her ankle, sir
But it’s fixed now. A miracle. Who performed this miracle?
A wizard sir.
Of course. Where was the wizard from?
What was his name?
How tall was he?
Two feet tall.
Ok, says I, I know him. A sound wizard. Stop it there now. I want everyone to draw a picture of their own wizard. What do we need in a wizard picture?
A beard- girl back row
A hat- girl front row
Glasses- girl middle row
Ok so, a beard, hat and glasses. But everyone must draw their own version, ok?
And so seventeen girls set about drawing wizards of their own invention. Here are a few of the wizards they invented:
Trizzard: Cross between a troll and a wizard
Guizzard: Guitar playing wizard
Lizzard: lizard wizard
Wizzire- Vampire wizard
Each of the wizards had their own magic object- variously a necklace (for time travel), magic specs(for seeing what you are thinking) magic paper (for instant translation) magic guitar (that can play any song in the world)….. etc
And I asked the girls to give each of their wizards a speech bubble and something to say.
To round off I asked them to turn the page around and write a little description of their wizard on the back- age, origin, magic powers etc
This all took 40 minutes.
KATE DEMPSEY runs writing.ie's Poetic License blog and is our poetry guru. She is a writer and a blogger living in Maynooth. She writes fiction and non-fiction as well as poetry and is widely published in Ireland and abroad, in magazines, anthologies and on the radio. She fits this around her family and a full time job, writing on the sofa, on the train and in that little coffeeshop on the corner.
Poetry can be a solitary activity and she appreciates the support she received from the online community, particularly when starting out. She is excited about continuing the dialogue with her blog here.