World War 1
Dawn's workshops suit the entire school:
"If you are interested in WW1 I thoroughly recommend Dawn Powell's WW1 storytelling workshops."
Jane Crouch, Head Teacher, St Giles CE Primary School, Shrewsbury
Pupils learn about life in the trenches and the role of animals via real stories. They hear about Sergeant Stubby the American Bulldog, Cher Ami the messenger pigeon whose message saved 194 lives on October 4 1918.
Dawn tells the true story of John Simpson Fitzpatrick who fought in Gallipoli and used a donkey to carry injured soldiers across the dangerous valleys. This story encourages children to consider the global nature of the war.
The Christmas Day Truce offers hope and encourages empathy. Pupils are encourage to act out the role of allied and enemy soldiers by shaking hands for peace and reconciliation.
Children make soundscapes with percussion instruments, they try on helmets and replica gas masks. They find out why soldiers carried teddy bears in their packs.
They have the opportunity to write and illustrate postcards as if writing from home or the Front.
There is a chance to read poetry, play games and learn how to march and salute.
The programme is tailored to suit ongoing work and pitched according to key stages.
Ordinary soldiers began to put pen to paper and write poetry - not the magnificent poems produced by Wilfred Owen or Siegfried Sassoon but easily accessible and heartfelt words - perfect for KS1 and KS 2 pupils.
The followowing poem is taken from a Trench Newsletter and remains anonymous
My Little Dry Home In The Trench
I've a little wet home in a trench
And the rainstorms continually drench
There's the sky overhead, clay or mud for a bed
And stone we use as a bench.
Bully Beef and hard biscuits we chew
It seems years since we tasted a stew.
Shells crackle and scare, yet no place can compare
With my little wet home in the trench.
"Well worth the cycling trip from Bearwood to King's Heath; Dawn Powell sparkled in the WW1 mud of stories and animal magic".
Adrian Johnson, former Poet Laureate of Birmingham UK