Blackout history: Exploring Daniel Wale's poem 'Navajo Roads'

This lesson plan explores Daniel Wale's 'Navajo Roads', a winning poem from the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2020.

The activities can be used in a single session, or over a series of sessions.

In this resource, produced by Teacher Trailblazer Joanne Bowles, students are encouraged to think about history, power and conflict and interdisciplinarity. The resource also introduces students to erasure and found poetry as a form.

Joanne Bowles Teacher Trailblazer resource

'The Fruit of the Spirit is Love (Galatians 5:22)'

This lesson plan explores Marvin Thompson's 'The Fruit of the Spirit is Love (Galatians 5:22)', which won first prize in the National Poetry Competition 2020.

In this resource, produced by Teacher Trailblazer Noor Wafa, students are encouraged to think about how we form an identity, and what it means to belong, in the context of race and cultural heritage. The resource also explores intertextuality, the villanelle form, and iambic pentameter.

Content warning: please note that the poem featured in this resource deals with the theme of racism and contains imagery of lynching.

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Poets for LGBT+ History Month and Always

A Level teacher and former Education Manager Nazmia Jamal offers over fifty suggestions of LGBT+ poets you could teach in February, which is LGBT+ History Month, and any time of the year. She shares questions for class discussion, writing prompts which are particularly inspired by the pandemic, and context for poems by Keith Jarrett, Mary Jean Chan, Audre Lorde, June Jordan, Emily Dickinson and more.

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Find more LGBT+ History Month resources here

Gemma Correll illustration of a cat in a sled led by a bigger cat

Look North More Often: a poetry pack for teachers inspired by the gift of the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree

Since 2009, The Poetry Society has run Look North More Often, a unique education project celebrating the gift of the Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square. The tree is given to the city of London from the city of Oslo every year since 1947, as thanks for Britain's support during the Second World War. Every year, we run workshops in primary schools which inspire a children's writer to craft a new poem celebrating the tree.

In 2012, we created an extensive pack of teaching resources for primary teachers, which we've recently updated. The pack offers a history of the tree and the project, and features Norwegian writers as well as Anglophone poets. Inside, you'll discover thoughtful and fun poetry writing exercises from such leading poets as Kevin Crossley-Holland, James Carter, Frances Presley, Hanne Bramness, Coral Rumble, Kit Wright and Philip Gross.

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Find out more about the project

Discover more teaching resources inspired by the tree

Illustration of a small Christmas tree smiling in a forest

The Christmas Pine: The Tree Speaks Back!

In these activities for KS1 and KS2, children read Gruffalo author Julia Donaldson's new poem 'The Christmas Pine' and are invited to find out more about their favourite plant and write a dramatic monologue from its perspective. A great activity for the end of term, with links to science and learning about other cultures, this plan can be completed as a class, in groups or individually. Children can follow the poem frame or make up their own structure. It can be made to be very Christmassy - or not Christmassy at all!

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For added inspiration, don't forget to read Julia's poem 'The Christmas Pine', commissioned as part of The Poetry Society's annual Look North More Often programme, and performed by three children from St Mary of the Angels Primary School here.

Illustrations by Marcus Walters.

 

Hope on a Postcard

Inspired by Dr Martin Luther King’s visit to Newcastle University in 1967 to accept an honorary doctorate, poets John Challis and Sinéad Morrissey were invited to run poetry workshops in a male maximum security prison. They explored, with a group of self-selecting inmates, the three themes of King’s acceptance speech: poverty, racism and war. Techniques explored include writing a Golden Shovel, a ghazal, and experimenting with enjambement. We invite you to try these exercises yourself or as part of a school or other poetry group. 

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Read more about the prison workshops in Poetry News online.

Christina Rossetti's Goblin Market

In collaboration with the Watts Gallery and their exhibition Christina Rossetti: Vision and Verse we are exploring one of Christina Rossetti's most famous poems Goblin Market. This resource is designed for A Level students. Topics at a glance include sisterhood, consumerism, Marxism, feminism and literary critical theories. Written by Romanticism expert Dr Bethan Roberts with additional support from The Poetry Society and Watts Gallery. 

Download the Christina Rossetti A Level Resource

Creating Voices

This lesson plan by Teacher Trailblazer Lyndsey Chand takes an in-depth look at Enshia Li’s ‘unwritten letter from my great-grandmother to my great-grandfather, 1930’, a winning poem in the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2017. This resource contains activities for KS4/5 to take place over the course of several lessons and develops students’ skills and confidence when dealing with unseen poetry as well as writing their own poems about their own family history.

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For more activities around prose poems, see Enshia Li’s Young Poets Network challenge

Celebrations: a Foyle Young Poets resource

This lesson plan by Teacher Trailblazer Fran Pridham looks at Lucy Thynne's  ‘the parents anniversary', a winning poem in the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2017.

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‘Dulce et Decorum est’ and intertextuality in Wilfred Owen

Peter Olive & Xavier Murray-Pollock use Wilfred Owen’s ‘Dulce et Decorum est’ as a springboard for discussion about the role and implications of allusion in poetry, also involving a discussion of Roman poet Horace's Odes.

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