50 Ideas for poems

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What is poetry?
1)
Give out definitions of poetry by poets on strips of card. Ask pupils
to explain meaning and write their own definition.
2)
Poems about poetry – offer a way. Pupils could write their own at
end of scheme of work.
3)
Song lyrics – pupils willingly collect and can be used to reinforce
concepts of oral tradition, rhythm, wordplay etc.
4)
Pupils design advert to persuade other students to read poetry.
Introducing the poem
5)
Prediction - from the title, the first line, the first stanza or a list
of key words or phrases from the poem.
6)
Listen to the poem, draw images on a mini-whiteboard, and use them
to summarise what has been heard.
7)
Cloze – blank out rhyme words or key words and images. Pupils fill in
with own ideas or with words listed.
8)
Use visual images such as paintings to help pupils envisage settings,
historical periods etc.
9)
Sequencing cut-ups of lines or stanzas – very good for encouraging
discussion and close reading.
10)
Glossary game – match word and definition.
11)
Shared reading of poem on OHP if size permits.
1
Graphic responses to poem
12)
Flowchart of structure of events in the poem or to summarise each
stanza.
13)
Draw diagram to reflect layers of meaning e.g. layers of onion in
‘Valentine’ or levels of earth in ‘Digging’.
14)
Storyboard key events of poem with quotations as captions.
15)
Emotion or tension graph labelled with key words/phrases.
16)
Timeline of events – very useful in poems with flashbacks and
timeshifts.
17)
Display – wordscape of words and images from the poem or
annotated copies of own poems to explain techniques used.
18)
ICT – pupils retype poem studied using different fonts, highlighting
etc. for emphasis, adding annotated boxes to explain choices.
Getting pupils writing
19)
Pupils imitate or parody the style of poem, working from an agreed
list of features. Teacher models first.
20)
21)
First line game – give a list of first lines and ask pupils to continue.
Modernise content of pre-1914 poems such as sonnets but keep to
same form. Teacher models first.
22) Pupils write their best poetry when they have specific guidelines
e.g. a certain genre and list of conventions.
23)
Peer composition – pairs write together.
24) Class composition – groups write different stanzas or contribute
different images, which are pooled.
2
25) Matching game – match cards naming technique with cards
containing example from poem.
26) Teacher shows poem by previous pupil – students identify 3
strengths and 3 pieces of advice for redrafting.
Revising poetry terminology
27) Poetry terminology cards containing word and definition. Multiple
uses – dominoes, snap, sorting into know/don’t know/unsure piles.
28)
Wordsearch containing poetry terminology.
29) Poetry bingo – teacher reads/shows quotations. Pupils must spot
technique and mark card.
30) The answer is XYZ – now write the question. N.B. The question
must begin with the words ‘What is the technique used…’
Speaking and Listening
31)
Pairs/groups – discuss questions, find quotations, give
presentations, debate topics etc.
32) Jigsaw feedback – groups work on different poems, then reform to
share findings.
33) Drama – freeze frame, mime, role-play, train of thought, placing
the text.
34)
Performance poetry – choral, narrative.
35) Give key words and phrases for speaking and listening – very useful
in analytical discussion that precedes writing.
36) Video or cassette readings of poems studied – pupils could record
own performances.
3
37) Set questions for other groups e.g. exam questions or quiz
questions.
Consolidating pupils’ understanding
38)
60 seconds to sum up main message of poem on whiteboards
39) Summarise poem in 5 sentences - reduce to 5 words - reduce to one
word.
40)
41)
Choose from list of statements about poem and justify.
True or false genre game – hold up card/whiteboard to show
whether statement on OHT is true or false.
42) Creative writing in response to poem – script, letter, story, diary,
poem from other viewpoint etc.
43) Non-fiction writing in response to poem – report, news article,
advice, leaflet etc. Teach conventions of text type before writing.
44)
Write the foreword to the anthology of poems studied.
45)
Write a glossary, summary and questions on a poem for a textbook.
Teaching analytical writing
46)
Teacher models how to plan, draft and structure analytical essay.
47)
Demonstrate annotation and reading strategies on OHP.
48) Give scaffolds – writing frame if necessary, list of key words,
sentence starters, connectives.
49) Give cloze of analytical writing about a poem e.g. effect of imagery.
Helps pupils to rehearse analytical writing.
50) Precede analytical writing with opportunities for analytical
discussion.
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