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.


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!


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.


Eccentricity and Sound - Edith Sitwell

Jane Anderson uses two poems by Edith Sitwell to offer ways into looking at her fascinating, innovative style, and gives suggestions for creative responses.  At a glance: reading, writing, literacy, confidence, sound.


A conceit poem

Pupils can us Pat Leighton's poem to develop their writing by thinking more deeply about images.  At a glance: simile and metaphor, imgery, conceit poems, sound, group poems.


Great title randomiser

Poet Philip Gross teaches students to explore creating poetry titles as a group.  At a glance: group poems, juxtaposition, using nouns, using adjectives, sound.


Wide open: teaching grammar with poetry

Rachel Rooney uses her poem 'Wide Open' to support the teaching of grammar terminology and concepts. At a glance: grammar, using adverbs, punctuation,  group poems.


Poetry Train

David Harmer and Roger Stevens use a collection of activities, poems, and advice for teaching poetry in primary schools.  The two share proven approaches based on poems by Carol Ann Duffy, Jackie Kay, David Harmer, and Roger Stevens.


Anyone Seen My Dragon?

Roger Stevens uses a James Carter poem to look at creating animal poetry with pupils.  At a glance: rhyme, writing a chorus, reading together, animal poems. Part of our Poetry Train resource pack.


Developing individual voice

An activity to help students write as a group and transition into writing individually. At a glance: simile and metaphor, structure, playing with language, riddles, group poems.


The Jumblies

Activities to support the teaching of Edward Lear poetry, with a particular focus on 'The Jumblies'. At a glance: Edward Lear, celebrating difference, identity, humorous verse, group poems.