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The Jumper Granny Knitted

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By Paul Cookson — Poet

This is the first in a three-part performance poetry workshop by our Poet-in-residence, Paul Cookson (Part 2 follows in January; Part 3 in May). Part 1 comprises a filmed whole-school performance by Paul. The audience ranged from four right through to 11, so the films can be used with any age group. However, the follow-up workshop ideas are differentiated by age group. Here, Paul focuses on the poem ‘The Jumper Granny Knitted’, and suggests how this poem might inspire your own performances in school.

The Jumper Granny Knitted image

Poet’s notes

I’m not a musician. I could never really master the guitar. One Christmas, my wife asked what I wanted. “Get me something I wouldn’t buy myself,” I said. “Get me a ukulele for a laugh.” Christmas morning – lo and behold – my first ever ukulele. Once I’d tuned it, I learned a few chords. Some only used one finger! Bliss! And there are only four strings!

Within months I’d learned a few tunes. So, when recording a new poetry CD, I took my ukulele to the recording studio. I needed a poem to fit the few chords I knew and came across one I’d always liked called ‘The Jumper Granny Knitted’. Even if your gran has never knitted you a jumper, you probably know someone whose granny has. Because of that common ground, people are drawn into this poem. (The best things to write about are those that we all relate to or know about.)

Previous learning

In Years 3 and 4, children will have gained experience of: choosing and preparing poems for performance, identifying appropriate expression, tone, volume and use of voices and other sounds; discussing the qualities of others’ performances; commenting constructively on effects and how they were achieved.

Key learning outcomes:

  • To explore how writers use language for comic effects (Year 5);
  • To consider the overall impact of a live or recorded performance (Year 6);
  • To devise a performance for a specific audience (Year 6).
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