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Poetry Guidance

Discussion in 'Scotland - Primary' started by Chatterbox1607, Sep 12, 2011.

  1. Chatterbox1607

    Chatterbox1607 New commenter

    <table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tr><td class="post">I want to look at poems over the next three weeks in writing with my class. I have my three subject areas I wish to look at to tie in with our topic. I havent really taught poetry before and have been looking all night at resources on TES but feel I need human communication to help me. I was thinking that my two top groups could look at adjectives and similies and my bottom group could just look at adjectives within poetry. I then thought the next day the children could plan their own poems and then the next day write their poems. How do you teach poetry...what could I do to make this lesson more manageable...what key features should I be pointing out? Where can I get good poems to model to children? I am keen to learn as you can tell and very new to teaching so any help would be very much appreciated.
  2. Have a look at www.poetryclass.net - I've used some of their lessons in the past and there are some really good ideas (I particularly like The Cat In The Window one - maybe you could adapt it to your chosen subject areas). It's also got some great links to other poetry websites for children. If you're not used to teaching poetry I would recommend that you do the same lesson with everyone, it will get really confusing if you try to focus on different things with different groups. When I'm teaching poetry I emphasise the importance of rhythm rather than rhyme (in fact I positively discourage rhyme - it almost always sounds awful!). Read a few examples of poems without rhyme to help them understand. I also say that poetry is really best appreciated when read aloud and they should do this as they write to see how it sounds. I tell them that good poetry is about selecting the very best words that you can but also about missing words out - we're not writing in sentences here and "extra" words (like "the" and "is") can often be dropped eg Golden leaves rustling in a gentle breeze rather than The golden leaves are rustling in a gentle breeze. It depends on the type of poem we're writing but often I tell them that they're trying to paint a word picture. A simple poem could be written by getting pupils to make a list associated with your topic then asking them to highlight or tick 5 or 6 they like best. Add in an adjective before and a verb after so if your topic is the Vikings for example, 'warrior" might become " Fierce warrior roaring". Perhaps you could add in a bit about similes depending on the age of your class so maybe

    "Fierce warrior roaring
    Like a hungry lion"??

    It depends on the age of your class too.
    Anyway, I hope this is helpful. Let me know how it goes!
  3. Chatterbox1607

    Chatterbox1607 New commenter

    Your reply has helped me a lot. So when I am teaching this do you think I should choose a random topic to teach the basic idea and then the next day look at the subject in question? I am not sure what knowledge the children have of poetry but I do not feel very confident myself in this area and I am worried it is going to show.
  4. Flyonthewall75

    Flyonthewall75 New commenter

    It may be helpful to think of poetry as a personal response to an experience.
    You can actually set up that experience for example by taking the children to visit a play park, an historic building or a dramatic production etc and get them to re-live in their minds the experience, 'painting a picture' with words and phrases.
    With the play park, you could give them a starting suggestion eg: 'Children swinging ..' and see what other descriptions they can suggest. Write them up on the board and then, working individually or in groups, see if they can put the ideas together in a rhythmical way that expresses the feelings they had when visiting the play park.
    Once they get the basic idea that poetry can be a more vivid way to express ideas and feelings, children can get real enjoyment from the activity.
    Of course, they don't actually need to leave the school to do this and can use their memory of different experiences, for example:
    A day off school because of the snow, a football match, a new school, an exciting film, getting a new pet dog, a special holiday, etc ...
    As has been said, it's important to read some poetry aloud to get the full benefit and enjoyment.
  5. Chatterbox1607

    Chatterbox1607 New commenter

    What features / activiites should I be setting for a p4 class? Where is the best place to find good poems for children to read?
    Today I asked the children to read over a poem i found about calmness and they had to underline all the adjectives and wow words. Then I asked them to think of other wow words they could have used in the poem. Does this sound an okay activity? I am then hoping tomorrow that the children will be able to use these skills to include adjectives and wow words into their poetry plan tomorrow and then use this to help them write their poem either tomorrow if time or the next day.
  6. There are loads of anthologies of children's poems, check out your school or class library (I keep a Poetry Box with a selection in the class). Let children browse and choose ones they like - maybe work in pairs and read them aloud to each other. It's all part of encouraging them to enjoy poetry. Your first lesson sounds ideal and a good way of getting them to think about choosing the best words when they're writing their own. And, yes, looking at something in a general way eg use of wow words, then helping them to apply that to a particular topic should work well too. I think you need to relax a bit and enjoy it with your class! Children generally like poetry - it's short and manageable to read, it can be funny and (if you choose the right kind of anthologies) it relates to things they know and understand. Children who find it difficult to write a story can often manage to write a poem. Only little thing I would say is that rather than "planning" their poem they might be better just to "go for it", writing a rough copy then working the next day on editing it/ adding bits/discussing with a partner - but maybe that's what you meant : )
  7. It is maybe a little late for the block you have planned, but I highly recommend "Teaching Poetry in the Primary Classroom" by Gervase Phinn.
  8. Paint a Poem is an old Belair book but has some really good ideas for writing poems with younger children. There are poems on a wide variety of themes and most could be adapted to suit whatever topic you wanted to link them to, with a little imagination of course. I used it with my P3/4 class last year and they really enjoyed coming up with more and more interesting ways of describing things.
    Best of luck.
  9. Chatterbox1607

    Chatterbox1607 New commenter

    Is there any way you could both maybe send me two poems each from the books until I can get a hold of them please?
  10. Oh come, come, Chatterbox1607! You're surely not expecting these kind people to type out poems for you - are you? I've just done a Google search and there are LOADS of sites with good examples of children's poetry out there (some better than others I admit). I think you've been given pretty good advice/support here but now you have to use it. My sincere apologies if I'm wrong but you're giving the impression of wanting other people to do the hard graft for you. I hooked onto your post because I'm interested in teaching children how to write poetry. I'm no expert and anything I've learned has been by doing my own research (mainly online) and by trial and error. I'd love to know how your class's poems turn out. Maybe YOU could type a couple of the best ones here : )
  11. TEACHER16

    TEACHER16 New commenter

    Thats just it Dotty...I do put a hell of a work into my job and want to do the best for the children I teach. I want to make sure I have the best resources and knowledge before I see the children again. Believe me I have travelled here there and every where trying to find poetry books but it appears online is where I am going to have to buy one which therefore means waiting and I dont have time to do that as I need it for next week. I wouldnt want any one to do any work for me if I could do it myself...i care about my teaching and want to improve my ability and confidence :)
  12. Try amazon, they usually deliver within a week; even if it's through the marketplace sellers.

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