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.

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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.

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.

 

Sharing the Gift of Hope at Christmas

Poet Clare Pollard guides you through a brand new festive poetry lesson on the theme of hope. Pupils will learn about personification, writing letters, metaphors and similes, all while gearing up to writing a hopeful poem inspired by Clare Pollard's 2019 Christmas Tree poem 'The Gift'. Perfect for KS1 and KS2!

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For added inspiration, don't forget to read Clare's poem 'The Gift', commissioned as part of The Poetry Society's annual Look North More Often programme

Drawing of two deer, one male and one female, looking at us in front of a snow scene

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.

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For added inspiration, read A.F. Harrold's own poem 'The Friendship Tree', commissioned as part of The Poetry Society's annual Look North More Often programme

Drawing of reindeer in London

The Christmas Tree's Secret

Poet Julia Copus explores depicting Christmastime in poetry, focussing on the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree. You can use Julia's ideas to produce your very own poems in celebration of your Christmas trees, whether they are in your school, the local town centre or in your living room. 

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For added inspiration, read Julia's poem 'The Christmas Tree's Secret', commissioned as part of The Poetry Society's annual Look North More Often programme

Writing a Christmas Tree Poem

Liz Lochhead inspires pupils to write a Christmas Tree poem, hanging the tree with real or imagined decorations which engage the senses. At a glance: friends and family, the senses, syllables.

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For added inspiration, read Liz's poem 'How I'll Decorate My Tree', commissioned as part of The Poetry Society's annual Look North More Often programme