Poetry

English Year 2 Autumn Poems on a Theme

Poems about families

Evocative and humorous poems about families are used to stimulate reading, discussion and writing poetry. Learn use of apostrophes and comparative/superlative adjectives.

Start with the core unit to introduce key texts. Then select from comprehension, SPAG and composition units.

Core
Unit 1 Core: Read, discuss and respond creatively to poems about families
(suggested as 4 days)

You Will Need

Texts
Poems from the resources document

Planning and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Show children photographs of your family and lead a discussion about family life and relatives. Read children Granny Granny Please Comb My Hair by Grace Nicholls, prompting children to retell the poem’s ‘story’ and to comment on the family members involved.
Activity
Children work in mixed ability pairs. They select four members of their own family to talk to partners about. They write these family members’ names on paper and record in note form the various kind and loving things they do.

Day 2 Teaching
Read children My Dad is Amazing by Ian Souter. Lead a discussion as to suitable adjectives that could be used to describe much-loved relatives. Teach children how to form capital letters correctly. Model composing a short poem based loosely on My Dad is Amazing.
Activity
Children work in ability-related pairs. They write their own versions of My Dad is Amazing about their fathers or other family members. Some write longer poems while others create simple list poems of adjectives that could be used to describe their chosen relative.

Day 3 Teaching
Read children Predictable by Andrea Shavick and Bedtime by Eleanor Farjeon. Lead discussions of the events and characters in each poem and compare the two. Model using phonics and other word-reading skills to decode texts.
Activity
Working in reading-ability related small groups, children shared-read a series of poems about families. They comment on the events and characters featured in the poems. They compare the different poems. Some children will read more poems than others while others will continue to read only with adult support.

Day 4 Teaching
Read children What Will I Be When I Grow Up? by James Carter. Review the other poems about families read during the Unit. Model selecting a favourite poem and writing a brief review. Remind children of the purpose of best handwriting and word spacing when producing finished work.
Activity
Children work independently or in writing ability-related pairs. They consider all the poems read in this Unit, select a favourite, and write a brief review of their chosen poem. Some contrast their poem with others read in class.

SPAG
Unit 2 SPaG: Learning to Use Apostrophes and Commas
(suggested as 4 days)

You Will Need

Texts
Poems from the resources document

Planning and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Reach children the poem Going Through the Old Photos by Michael Rosen. Introduce children to the concept of the apostrophe of omission and explore the role of the apostrophe in contractions.
Activity
Children work in ability-related pairs. They read a short text and highlight the contractions within it. The copy out each contraction and break it down into its constituent words. Some children also write sentences of their own containing a range of contractions while others are supported to spot contractions by playing a game of pairs.

Day 2 Teaching
Read children In Grandma’s Kitchen by Matt Simpson. Revisit apostrophes of omission studied yesterday and then introduce children to the role of the possessive apostrophe. Consolidate children’s knowledge and understanding by locating and explaining possessive apostrophes in the poem My Grandpa’s Shed by Hamilton Trust.
Activity
Working in ability-related pairs, children complete a series of exercises relating to possessive apostrophes. Some children work as a group with adult support to gain greater confidence in using apostrophes to denote possession.

Day 3 Teaching
Read children My Mum’s Put Me on the Transfer List by David Harmer and briefly revisit apostrophes of both possession and omission. Model drafting a new version of David Harmer’s poem based on a prepared list of your own good and not quite so good qualities.
Activity
Children work independently or in ability-related pairs. They use lists of their good and not quite so good qualities compiled at home by parents and other family members to draft new versions of My Mum’s Put Me on the Transfer List. They check to see they are using apostrophes correctly where necessary.

Day 4 Teaching
Reread My Mum’s Put Me on the Transfer List and teach the use of commas to separate items in a list. Model transcribing an edited draft of a poem into a ’best copy’ version using excellent handwriting and even word spacing. Teach children the value of re-reading their own work to spot errors and to identify ways to improve their writing still further.
Activity
Children work independently. They create best copy versions of their draft poems, taking account of teacher comments and adding commas where necessary to separate items in a list. They rehearse reading their poems out loud before doing so in front of the class.

SPAG
Unit 3 SPaG: Suffixes –er and –est on Comparative and Superlative Adjectives
(suggested as 3 days)

You Will Need

Texts
Poems from the resources document

Planning and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Read children Samantha is Sobbing by Gareth Owen, The Older the Violin the Sweeter the Tune by John Agard and Granny Granny Please Comb my Hair by Grace Nicholls. Ask class to select adjectives that could be used to describe grandmothers and teach the formation of the comparative form of regular adjectives by adding the -er suffix.
Activity
Children work in mixed-ability pairs. They talk with one another about their grandmothers or other kind relatives. They compose lines that use the comparative forms of adjectives to describe relatives and record some of these on paper.

Day 2 Teaching
Read children Granny by Spike Milligan and use the poem as an opportunity to explore creating the superlative form of regular adjectives by adding the suffix -est.
Activity
Children work in ability-related pairs. They give the comparative and superlative forms of a number of common, regular adjectives. They also use these adjectives in their comparative and superlative forms to describe the family members depicted in a series of ‘happy families’ images.

Day 3 Teaching
Read children Our Grandma Kissed a Pumpkin by Darren Sardelli. Introduce adjectives where the comparative and superlative forms are irregular.
Activity
Working in ability-related pairs, children review the poems they have read in this Unit. They compose sentences comparing and commenting on the poems that use the comparative and superlative forms of appropriate adjectives, mostly regular but also some irregular.

Composition
Unit 4 Composition: Planning and writing a letter poem based on one read
(suggested as 4 days)

You Will Need

Texts
Poems from the resources document

Planning and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Read children Family Flusters by Ruth Merttens and Anne Holm Peterson. Teach children to revisit passages within a text in order to confirm answers to questions they are asked about their reading. Help children to continue to develop word-reading skills.
Activity
Working in small, ability-related reading groups, children re-read Family Flusters and answer a series of comprehension questions about the story. Some read only with adult help; others answer more complex questions.

Day 2 Teaching
Read children Dear Mum by Brian Patton. Lead a discussion about the events and characters depicted in the poem. Model planning a new version of the poem by helping children to list further ‘accidents’ that could occur at home and other excuses that could be offered to explain these accidents.
Activity
Children work in ability-related pairs. They discuss ideas for their new version of Dear Mum and record the best of these as notes on paper. Some plan for longer poems than others. Later, children role-play a child making excuses for a series of ‘accidents’ in their home.

Day 3 Teaching
Re-read Dear Mum and draw attention to the poem’s structure and formal properties. Model converting notes made yesterday into lines of poetry that mimic those in Dear Mum. Emphasise the need to regularly re-read work to check for sense and repetition.
Activity
Children work independently or with the support of ability-related partners. They use the ideas they captured yesterday to write out first drafts of their Dear Mum poems. Some will write longer poems, but all chn will attempt to capture the poetic voice and form of the original poem.

Day 4 Teaching
Read children the poem Dear Charlie by Hamilton Trust. Stress the importance of responding to teacher suggestions when converting a draft poem into a final ‘best copy’ version. Teach children any relevant letter forms and again underline the value of re-reading work to check for errors or omissions.
Activity
Children work independently. They produce final, ‘best copy’ versions of their draft Dear Mum poems. If finished, they also compose brief ‘reply poems’ in the spirit of Dear Charlie. Later, they share their poems with the rest of the class.