A Typical School Visit

School visit featuring poet and storyteller John Rice, a writer-in-residence and regular performer at schools, libraries and in the community.

School Visits – a typical day with Poet & Storyteller John Rice

First of all we’d start a school visit with a one-hour performance by John in which he reads his poems, tells tall tales and sings (oh no!) The performance can be for a whole school or it can be for specific year-groups. John is a seasoned performer who combines audience participation, comedy and thoughtful poems and stories so that children and young people learn the range of values that words can express.

After the performance John then moves into workshop mode with a selection of poetry & prose writing exercises including visual writing (putting pictures into poems & prose), monologues & dialogues, editing & reconstructing prose, finding story themes, and examining memory and imagination as powerful resources for writers. John places an emphasis on the importance of close observation and the discussion of different ways of ‘patterning’ words and images to create structure in a poem or written story. All sounds very staid and severe but don’t worry – there will be lots of hilarious word games and comedy throughout the day to ensure that everyone learns within an atmosphere of fun and shared enjoyment.

The writing exercises will be interspersed with some physical games as well as an introduction to oral storytelling and the performance of stories to an audience. This small but important element of the school visit is particularly good for the social aspect of a day of creativity as it encourages the young writers to work in pairs and teams.


We will need pens, paper (A3 & A4), a flip chart, a variety of coloured felt tips and, if possible, access to computers/laptops so that the students are able to write at speed. It’s essential that all children have a name badge (large letters so that I can see them from a distance!) and that everyone (including teachers/support staff) brings a daft hat…yes, a daft hat! – an essential prop for the day!!!

‘The Write Idea’ is a day that will encourage and nurture young writers whilst introducing them to the craft and joy of writing.


A day of storytelling involving action, games, drama exercises, learning about call & response, branching, story ‘shapes’, devising and performing story for performance. The children will work in pairs, groups and individually to create a story out of nothing but experience and imagination; then they will perform the story in an entertaining way to an audience. Within the supportive climate we create on the day, this builds and enhances the child’s confidence.

Essentially it’s a day of Oral Tradition that involves the children in learning the skills of improvisation, memory and performance – all wrapped up in a package of exciting fun, games and comedy! The oral storytelling work is interspersed with writing exercises that focus on the craft of written storymaking (eg themes, storyboarding, structure, characters, dialogue and resolution). Everyone to bring a daft hat…yes, a daft hat! This is essential equipment by order of the High King of Storytelling!


John’s storytelling workshop needs very little in the way of equipment, but we really do need a large space for the school visit as it is all about performing and learning about spatial awareness as a performer. The equipment we’ll need is as follows:

A3 & A4 paper, pens, flip chart and a variety of coloured felt tips. If possible it would be good to have a ‘carpet’ roll of white/pastel coloured paper about 1.5m wide x 2m long. The children should be dressed in loose clothing (preferably track suit trousers for all children). It would be ideal if all children could be given a name badge as they arrive and everyone (including teachers/support staff) to bring a daft hat (yes, a daft hat!) – an essential prop for the day!!! (Remember, a school visit is supposed to be fun AND educational!)

No two school visits are completely alike… there is a lot of room to incorporate your own curriculum into the day, so contact John Rice on Facebook or via any of the methods below to discuss customising your day!

One thought on “A Typical School Visit

  1. Carl Cruz

    I have never thought that writing help me out on my career path. Now I am really glad that I’ve been working on my writing skills during my school time. Just in case, if you need help with your writing, you can visit the site

    December 13, 2016 at 10:48 am

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