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5 of the Best National Poetry Day Resources for KS3/4

Get secondary students reading and writing verse this 28 September for National Poetry Day with these lesson plans, resources and activities

  • 5 of the Best National Poetry Day Resources for KS3/4

In the past poetry has received a bad rep with students, and really who can blame them? No teenager wants to have ‘Daffodils’ rammed down their throat for weeks on end (trust me, I’ve been there).

But then, that’s also true of Dickens and Shakespeare and pretty much anything considered classic that’s taught in an uninspiring way. Does your average 14-16 year old appreciate the beauty of ‘Ode to a Nightingale’, the despair of ‘The Waste Land’ or the sweetly pleasant rhythm of ‘Song in a Minor Key’ that belies it’s tragic tale? Probably not, but they could.

National Poetry Day takes place on 28 September this year, and it’s the ideal opportunity to explore the wonders of poetry in a way that won’t scare young students off it for life.

And of course you needn’t stick to the classics – try modern poets; explore different eras, nations and styles; check out the writers of the Harlem Renaissance. Stretch yourself as much as you would your students.

1. National Poetry Day Teacher Toolkit

5 of the Best National Poetry Day Resources for KS3/4

The theme for this year is ‘freedom’, and this fantastic toolkit can help you plan how to celebrate your day and explore this topic.

It gives examples of discussing freedom in poetic imagery and metaphor, gives you further activities to use and a list of recommended texts.

Find the toolkit here and check out the other resources here.

2. Different writers, different times

5 of the Best National Poetry Day Resources for KS3/4

One way to explore freedom is to compare and contrast poets’ works from the different eras and/or parts of the world.

This lesson, for example, lets students imaginatively explore their own special places and those of WB Yeats (Ireland) and James Berry (Jamaica).

Check it out here.

3. Observations of Nature

5 of the Best National Poetry Day Resources for KS3/4

What’s poetry without a wistful wander through woodlands? This lesson plan from Learning Outside the Classroom will encourage your students to recognise a range of poetic conventions and understand how these have been used, to perform poems in order to generate language and discuss language use and meaning.

Download this free resource here.

4. Remember, remember

5 of the Best National Poetry Day Resources for KS3/4

This lesson plan uses a semi-completed list poem as a writing prompt for your class to complete.

It starts with simple, literal ideas like ‘Remember to brush your teeth’, but then lets you play with language and imagery with sentences like ‘Remember to turn out the darkness’.

You’ll find this resource here.

5. Writing about freedom

5 of the Best National Poetry Day Resources for KS3/4

Written especially for National Poetry Day 2017, this resource includes two creative prompts for students to come up with their own poems on the theme of ‘freedom’.

It explores the ways ‘freedom’ can be portrayed in poetic language, and guides students to write about it in whatever way they see fit.

Download the PDF here.

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