School Workshops

Persuasion by Word and Image 



Combined Art and Poetry Workshop

This workshop seeks to replicate the process of creating Metamorfishes. Focusing on the persuasive potency of images and words to address this important theme, Nicola will enable students to create their own drawings, incorporating hygienic examples of waste, before John takes them through the ways in which they can write an accompanying poem.

The outcome of the two-and-a-half-hour workshop will be a set of images and poems ready for display. Key vocabulary will be presented in a Word Fish and a news-board will be set up to display the findings of recent research.

The aims of the session are to enhance creative skills, to develop the linguistic range of students and to explore the nature and potential of poetry.

The School might then decide to make a presentation to groups of parents, politicians, business people and other schools. There are clear opportunities for marketing a School’s commitment to environmental issues through local media and, possibly using the brief curriculum sketch prepared by John, this activity could be incorporated in a School’s bid for an Eco Schools Green Flag Award.

Students could be encouraged to start a PEAP Diary (Personal Environmental Action Plan) giving a daily account of their personal contribution to cleaning up the environment.


John will talk about how he and Nicola were inspired to write the books which they have published, looking particularly at those with a strong environmental theme. Students will be asked to say what they already know about the problem of marine pollution and the group will look at parts of the Passport of Pollutants at the back of Metamorfishes.

The aims of the session will be outlined: each group to produce an illustration and a poem on the model adopted by the book; and the creation of a Word Fish.

A preliminary look at the art of Persuasion will focus on Metamorfishes, looking at its eye-catching images mixing fish, pollutant & other fishy bits alongside a poem linked to the image, referring to how the pollutant affects the fish.

At this point, students will be introduced to the idea of the Word Fish. Nicola will present a fish \ turtle shape into which, at the end of the session, students will present the day’s most persuasive words.

Session 1

Nicola will take two examples from Metamorfishes and explain how she started her illustrations with a sea creature, combined it with one of the major marine pollutants and added features from other marine creatures.

In groups, students will then be given the materials to develop their own illustrations  using waste products collected and purified by Nicola! Nicola will work alongside the students, looking at ways of giving the images the intended impact. Each group will focus on a species, a pollutant, some facts about the impact of the pollutant, images of parts of other fish to add to their own creation.

Session 2

John will talk about his response to the images discussed by Nicola: thinking of words to describe the fish; then to describe the pollutant; including facts to drive the point home; and looking for an interesting or memorable idea to catch the attention of readers.

He will also talk about what makes poetry different.

Children will be reassured that writing can be quite a ‘messy’ business and that things rarely fall into place at the first attempt. Children will write down expressive vocabulary; think about possible images; look for a striking idea; find rhyme words; and start to shape their poem.


  • Groups will show each other their work.

  • Students will help John and Nicola to assemble the Word Fish

  • Proposals for displaying the work at School

  • Discussion of Next Steps, which could be:

  • a school display

  • news-board

  • a talk to other children at the School about pollution

  • a local campaign to encourage environmentally-friendly behaviour

  • inviting the local press to the School, perhaps linked to the next point

  • a meeting for the MP, water board, recycling company, etc. to explain concerns

  • going for the Eco-Schools Award

With Book Orders of 30 or more at the reduced rate of £2.50 per book,  the only charge to the school will be necessary travel expenses and accommodation if required. To be agreed in advance at time of booking

Dreamestories is the collective name for all written work by Dr. John Eames               Copyright applies to all text and images.