The Fourth King: A Tree's Journey
Inspired by Sinéad Morrissey's new poem 'The Fourth King', across two lessons KS2 pupils will learn about the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree and use personification, assonance and alliteration to speak from the perspective of an object or plant, imagining the journey it has been on. With opportunities to discuss big life changes, migration, journeys, recycling and the environment, children will be guided to write their own dramatic monologues after Sinéad Morrissey.
For added inspiration, watch an interview with Sinéad where she reads the poem and talks about the inspiration behind it; watch it brought to life by three children from St Saviour's Church of England Primary School; and if you can, visit the tree in Trafalgar Square until 6 January!
Illustrations by Marcus Walters.
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.
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.
Read more about the prison workshops in Poetry News online.
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.
Hands around the Christmas Tree
Children's poet and storyteller A.F. Harrold explores the theme of friendship through poetry, focussing on the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree, given by the city of Oslo as a symbol of thanks and friendship each year. You can use A.F. Harrold's two exercises and poem structure to create your own Christmas Tree poem and think about friendship at this festive time. This is a great Christmas activity for all settings, from schools and community groups to home.
Writing a monologue
Sue Dymoke's activity develops pupils writing of character following the reading of Carol Ann Duffy's poetry. At a glance: Carol Ann Duffy, monologues, creating characters, drama, performance.
The button jar
Roz Goddard offers writing activities to support pupils in creating characters and developing dialogues. At a glance: creating characters, monologues, dialogues, writing in another voice, drama.