Competition in the Time of Covid

Competition in the Time of Covid

Well, here we are again. National lockdown 3. Home learning. Remote teaching. And a virus streaking its way through our families, schools and communities. Our hearts are out there with you as you deal with all the complexities of the situation at very close quarters. Once again, we’re adapting what we do to try and support that. The long and the short of it is, if you have a way of doing Poetry By Heart that will work for you, talk to us. The answer to whether or not it’s valid for the competition will probably be yes. But here are some initial ideas:

> Relax – we’ve extended the entry upload deadline to 31st March 2021 to give everyone a bit more time to participate in whatever way you can this term. So encourage your stay at-home students to continue with learning and rehearsing their chosen poem or poems.

> Host a Zoom/Teams/whatever competition – this is perfectly permissible and if you look in the Teaching Zone you will find some fun Poetry By Heart backgrounds your students can upload so you’re not all peering into their kitchen or bedroom.

> Have students send you a video of their recitation for you to judge – you may be able to then share their videos on your school website or social media so they can all see them. And with permissions in place we can share some videos in our performance galleries on the Poetry By Heart website.

> Run an in-school competition with your key worker and vulnerable children, if that’s appropriate for them.

> Small is beautiful – we’ve ‘disapplied’ the Classic competition 3-person minimum for this extraordinary year. If you have 1 or 2 students who want to do it, the most important thing is that they get their chance – they could be treading the Globe’s boards this summer!

We’re shifting the date of the Poetry By Heart national event at Shakespeare’s Globe to the early part of the summer term. We are working on the details of that and awaiting confirmation of the dates. We’re very much looking forward to seeing all our wonderful 2020 and 2021 finalists there when possible.

Remember that all the resources on the Poetry By Heart website are free and freely available for anyone and everyone to use. Children, young people, parents and teachers can use them at home or in school to support reading for pleasure and curriculum learning about poetry, and for the simple pleasure of sharing a poem aloud. For that, especially, check out our Poem of the Week collection: you’ll find a link to an accessible poem and a light-touch activity to help enjoy the poem out loud and together.

This does end. Just not quite yet. Stay safe and tell us how else we can help.