starry sky

The Truth Exposed: 'Polaris'

This lesson plan explores Brigitta McKeever's ‘Polaris’, 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 Stephanie Nobes, students are encouraged to think about the relationship between poetry and objects, the body, and the 'Evolution of Me'. They are also encouraged to analyse the poem with a close focus on features of language, and to write creatively using juxtaposition.

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bicycle with background of streetlights

Where talk is never cheap: 'Love Poem to Young Offenders Support Workers'

This lesson plan explores Libby Russell's ‘Love Poem to Young Offenders Support Workers’, 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 Gareth Ellis, students are encouraged to think about why poets choose to write about love, how society values different types of knowledge, and the relationship between ‘here’ and ‘home’ in this poem. They are also encouraged to explore the sonnet form more widely.

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Oil painting of John Keats on Hampstead Heath listening with a background of trees.

A thing of beauty: Rachel Piercey on Keats's life and works

As part of a season of activity celebrating 200 years of John Keats's legacy, poet Rachel Piercey explores the life and works of Keats through some of the paintings and objects in the collection of Keats House, London. This resource is aimed at KS4 and KS5.

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Find out more about Keats200

Image: Keats Listening to the Nightingale on Hampstead Heath by Joseph Severn. Oil painting, 1849. Image courtesy of Keats House, City of London, K/PZ/05/015.

Drawing of Keats

Amy Davis on John Keats’s ‘La Belle Dame Sans Merci’

As part of a season of activity celebrating 200 years of John Keats's legacy, Teacher Trailblazer Amy Davis looks closely at ‘La Belle Dame Sans Merci’. She offers ways to analyse the poet's techniques as well as exploring literary allusions, critical views, the poem's afterlife in art, and some prompts for creative responses. This resource is aimed at KS5.

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Find out more about Keats200

Illustration by Linda Hughes

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.

 

Poetry & Political Language

Taking inspiration from George Orwell's Animal Farm, this resource uses critical thinking and political language to create new poems called 'couplings' (after poets Karen McCarthy Woolf and Malika Booker). Created in partnership with The Orwell Foundation, as part of the 2020 Young Poets Network writing challenge.

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Tell & See: National Poetry Day 2020 visionary poetry resource

Explore 'Diamonds' by Evelyn Byrne, a commended poem in the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2019 with the help of shiny fish, and celebrate this year's National Poetry Day, with the theme of Vision. Download

Photo of a red heart shaped balloon in a blue sky

Love Yourself

This lesson plan explores Cia Mangat’s ‘Love Poem to Myself’, a winning poem from the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2019.

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

The activities stimulated by reading Cia’s poem should inspire students to think about themselves and look to a variety of love poems as a rich source for prompting poetry writing.

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