Writing poetry in a wide variety of forms and styles, making use of traditional, classical and contemporary poems as models
READING POETRY - WITH A STRONG EMPHASIS ON BUILDING CLASS COLLECTIONS AND ANTHOLOGIES:
I have always believed that poetry and art go together well, and children love making things. Why not let your children learn to copy off the poems that I have on this website and add their own art to them to make beautiful anthologies for themselves. In fact, if like me, they are not too good at art, there is a lot of good free clipart on the internet that they can safely use. The children can lift the poems onto their word documents and they will find that if they click on "insert" at the top of the page they can then click on "clipart" and there is a wonderful selection freely available. Children will learn a lot by making their own anthologies, for they will learn how to centre a poem nicely on a page, indent three for the rhyming lines, and can choose their own fonts etc. Why not let children print off the poems to put inside their own birthday cards? This is great fun.
WRITING POETRY IN A WIDE VARIETY OF FORMS AND STYLES
On this poetry website, I am trying to help children to put metre in their poems, and enjoy writing in this way. If you take your children to the three Children's Poetry Corner pages, here you will see the help I am giving them. We have already gone over iambic feet, and if you have missed this, you can easily find it by Googling "iambic feet" which will show you what we talked about. Each of my poems on this website has good rhythm (metre) and I would strongly suggest that you get your children to clap to this. You will find a new and wide variety of poems for your children to enjoy, and I am quite aware of what is laid down in the National Curriculum. From poems about light and dark, animal poems, limmericks, fantasy poems, nonsense poems and, of course, poems by other children's writers than myself, there is a lot to help you with your classes. Do get children to write a bit each day, clapping to check their metre also. Go and see the new articles which I have written which teach children about similes, metaphors (and the poems to go with these) and also how to really beef their writing up, metaphorically speaking, with assonance, consonance and alliteration. Then, get the children doing it themselves. Get them to look at the words which rhyme and point out where the spellings are different.
This shouldn't produce any difficulty. It is a good idea to take one topic and two completely different poems and discuss the various ways that the writers have tackled them. Recently I have suggested that you look at the variety of train poems that were on here, and then the different way in which the poems about wind were written. Now I have put on different poems about snow, and look at the variety of words I have used to define falling snow. Get the children to point these out. Get them to use the Thesaurus.com, Dictionary.com and Rhymezone to get a variety of words, as I have suggested. Look at the nonsense poems and get the children to tell you why they think they are funny. Of course, in my poem A House Full of Smellies, the words I have used for names will make them laugh. In my poem "The Squiggly Squall", things are all wrong. Trains don't usually float on the sea, and elephants don't neigh and neither do crocodiles bark. Things get much worse and children love this. I hope they like the end, when I just can't remember the name of the place, but someone else does. This should easily stimulate them to write sentences of their own describing things which are all wrong, and perhaps using some of the words. Look at "away" and "neigh". Words that sound alike in English are quite often spelt completely differently.
I have given so many ideas, especially in my 10 Resolutions for your Poetry Classes. If you have any new ideas, please let me know. If you need poems on subjects and are not satisfied with what you find, please let me know. I like challenges.
DIFFERENT STYLES - If you want to show children how poems with the same subject can be approached in completely different ways, I usually have examples on here. We have looked at the subject of trains, from the fast trains to the slower steam trains, and seen how words can make the sounds of the various trains. We have looked at the subject of Jack Frost, written by three different writers, one of which was me. We have looked at the subject of dragons by three different writers, one of which was me. At the moment you can see how two different writers have written about the robin: Emily Dickinson and me.
Look at the range of metre on this website. From the simple chidren's nursery rhymes (updated for fun) to the more serious style of iambic pentameter in my poem "Woman Why Weepest Thou?" In between you have had a wide range of styles. Look at the different rhyming patterns of each poem. See how some poems play with words and others don't. Get children to talk about this with them.
I'm giving children plenty of help with writing their own poetry in the Children's Corner on this website. Get them to write a little bit each day, putting into practice the things which I have told them. Writing poetry is a skill which needs regular practise, as I well know. I also would soon not be able to write if I didn't practise regularly. A regular little slot in your day is the answer, even if it is only two or three minutes.
In conclusion, I hope that the range of poetry I have provided for you is just what you are looking for to stimulate and excite your children with poetry, for it will then always have a special place in their hearts, and that can't be bad.
Please do let others know of this website for their own children. Thank you.