25 things to do with a poem

Things to do with a poem

  1. Start with a prose version.
  2. Turn the poem into dialogue and act it out.
  3. Turn written ballads into songs.
  4. Watch videos of poet performing it or listen to a recording.
  5. Add sound effects and instruments, movement or dance.
  6. Turn it into a class performance – create a powerful, dramatic reading.
  7. Find out if pop songs make good poetry. Try When I Was A Youngster by Rizzle Kicks.
  8. Record a group reading of a poem.
  9. Turn it into animation or create some art.
  10. Make cross curricular links – such as history, science or ICT.
  11. Research the poet’s life with ICT and present in groups.
  12. Start with pictures or photos rather than the poem itself, eg a powerful picture of The Charge of the Light Brigade.
  13. Get children to annotate a big copy of the poem.
  14. Read it aloud to the children with their eyes shut.
  15. Read it once a day for a week, but only discuss it on Friday.
  16. Imagine a photograph or film of the poem.
  17. Cut it up and get the children to re-arrange it in order. Or cut three poems up, on a similar theme, and ask the children to find others in the class with parts of their poem.
  18. Create illustrations – then add words to the pictures.
  19. Start with a line drawing then create a calligram.
  20. Give children lots of words and ask children to put them in a drawing.
  21. Read it aloud – in pairs, in groups, with actions, with freezeframes or video stills where the film can move forward or back.
  22. Write a class poem – with teacher as scribe. Use dictionaries and a thesaurus.
  23. Continue the poem in the same style.
  24. Tackle the punctuation by only stopping reading when punctuation is reached.
  25. The teacher could start reading the poem in a whisper and invite children to join in with parts.

Some ideas taken from Morgan, M, (2001), How to teach poetry writing at Key Stage 2. London: David Fulton, Catt, R., (2000), ‘Jolly good I said’: using poetry with older children in Fisher, R and Williams, M (ed) (2000), Unlocking Literacy: A Guide for Teachers. London: David Fulton.

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