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Socratic Club Workshop on English Language & Vocabulary - 5th November


Remember, remember, the 5th of November… a poem we can all remember but digging down do we remember the number of barrels of gunpowder (I certainly had forgotten the eighth line of the poem with this very information), do we remember what Guy Fawkes’ sentence was and do we remember who his coconspirators were? And these days who else might we have seen burning, as an effigy, on our bonfires?


Today’s workshop was focused on bonfire night; its history, its current celebrations and its future, with a special focus on English language and vocabulary.


We opened with the poem and closed with a creative writing exercise about Guy Fawkes’ ghost or a bustling Bonfire Night’s unexpected adventure. We discussed the power of alliteration, the importance of the narrator and poetry as prose. Bonfire Night is an event that evokes many memories but is it sustainable, is there a future for an evening which emits huge quantities of soot and toxins whilst we work towards net zero?

This was the focus of our debate; net zero or bonfire night, which was more important? Our opening discussion covered many interesting ideas from combining celebrations between neighbourhoods, celebrating once every four years and turning this into a virtual reality experience.


The debate was well reasoned and prompted a flood of thoughtful POIs — also it has me considering purchasing a VR headset for the fireworks app currently being developed by two of the net zero team!


An excellent workshop and a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the history of this weekend whilst also looking ahead!


Remember, remember, the 5th of November,

Gunpowder, treason and plot.

I see no reason

Why gunpowder treason

Should ever be forgot.

Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, 'twas his intent

To blow up the King and the Parliament

Three score barrels of powder below

Poor old England to overthrow

By God's providence he was catch'd

With a dark lantern and burning match

Holler boys, holler boys, let the bells ring

Holler boys, holler boys

God save the King!

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