There are so may ways of helping children to write poetry, most of which are great fun, as, of course, they should be!
This show-me-wow web page came about following a group poetry writing session on a teachers’ workshop
Poetry is a collection of succinct ideas that express the spirit of the writer in a way that communicates directly with the reader. Poetry writing is not necessarily a list of lines with rhyming endings. Telling children to make the ends of lines rhyme is too confining and too often stifles the quality of the finished poem.
Speaking to create poetry
This is where the child gives a list of spoken ideas and someone writes them down.
The child first needs a theme. This might be a theme in his head, or a picture in front of him.This can be developed in lots of ways, but one is to get the child to say:
what he can see,
what he can hear,
perhaps what he can smell,
maybe what he can feel on his skin
what he feels in his heart!
Paper strip poems. (You can use the strips left over from when you made Thumb Indexed Word Books)
Set the atmosphere in the classroom, calm, still relaxed…and quietly exciting!
1) Use a stimulus. I chose music on a theme of ocean.
Have piles of offcuts or strips of paper near each poet. Invite the poets to each take one piece and, whilst listening to the music, write down a thought or few words that the theme inspires in them.
Remind them that they could be considering what they see, hear, smell, taste, feel on their skin or feel in their heart.(I would have symbols of these senses on a Creative Writing chart on the wall anyway.)
Tell them that when they have finished writing their line, to come quietly to the front and wait until there are 6 people. (This instruction allows the more timid to relax!)
(I find that six will arrive and the seventh approaches, so have a seat ready for the seventh near the chalk board. The seventh is to be the “Producer” or “Editor”.)
2) Play an introductory snippet of music and then with the volume turned down a little, announce something like,
This is Radio Show-me-wow, and today we present
on a theme of Ocean.”
Each poet reads his or her one line, followed by increasing the volume on the music and then decreasing it ready for the next poet’s line.
3) When all six lines have been read, the seventh poet (now the Producer or Editor) improves the order of the lines by getting the poets to swap places by saying, for example
“I think the last line would be better as the second line etc”
4) Then, with the Producer, having had the final say on the line-up, the group do a polished “radio” performance.
(It was after this stage that somone on my training course said “Wow!” and the seed of the show-me-wow website was planted!)
5) The poets are now ready to work on their own, with the music playing and with them adding more lines on the strips of paper, and then re arranging the strips to get their preferred order. Then the poems are written out as best copies to perform or for display in a book or on the classroom wall.
(I did a similar lesson using the theme Orange. We first collected everything in the school that was orange and made an orange corner that positively glowed with orange colours. The children produced similar Wow poems and were so proud of them, they thought they might sell them to Network Orange and buy a jet plane or a swimming pool for the school with the proceeds!)
Below are some of the poems written using the above method and on a theme of “Ocean”. Some of the children exclaimed this was the best wrtiting they had ever produced. They glowed with pride, as did their parents and visitors to the school.
A melody of the sea, the ocean has an incredible motion.
Ocean, you are an amazing potion.
Ocean is your name, what you’ve got gives you fame.
Your name says what you are..Oshhhhhhan
Sometimes you are in a rush
But calm you are now,
So please tell me how
Oh blue, blue, blue rush
By Michelle Grade 5
by Gail, Grade 5
The ocean is a gently whale leaping
up and down to the beat of the waves
The sound of your waves takes me
At times you move like a raging bull
and at other times like a kitten
You are a body of water laying on
the soft bed of the ocean
Your majestic waves and beautiful
colours never cease to amaze me.
You are like a ballerina,
You are a wildcat stalking the sun,
Waves, by Mindisah, Grade 5
There is so much energy in your cry
Your cries are like a monster trying to escape
Your voice is a melody singing sweetly.
Relaxation is your motto, love is your key.
You are like a butterfly flying over the sea.
Your blueness brings life to the ocean