Poetry

English Year 3 Spring Classic Poems

A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson

This wonderful collection loses nothing of its power to excite, enthuse and inspire. Immerse your class in these classic, timeless poems. Study verbs/tense and extend sentences.

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

Core
Unit 1 Core: Reading poems, identifying rhyme and writing rhyming couplets
(suggested as 4 days)

Planning and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Introduce children to Robert Louis Stevenson and to his poetry collection, A Child’s Garden of Verses. Read children the poems ‘Bed in Summer’ and ‘My Shadow’, linking the poems to RLS’s own life and historical context. Encourage children to use dictionaries and other resources to discover the meanings of new words.
Activity
Children work in small, ability-related reading groups. They re-read ‘Bed in Summer’ before reading further poems by RLS. They discuss themes and make a note of words and phrases that are unfamiliar to them. They choose a favourite poem from the set and draw together reasons as to why they like it the best. Some read more poems than others, while some read only with adult support.

Day 2 Teaching
Read children ‘The Land of Counterpane’ by RLS. Help children with unfamiliar vocabulary and phrasing. Introduce children to the term ‘rhyming couplet’ and help them to find examples in the poem. Explore the link between spellings and rhyme.
Activity
Children work in ability-related pairs. They select ‘start words’ from a dictionary and use a variety of resources to find further words that rhyme with their selection. Some select only start words that are new and unfamiliar to them. Others concentrate on finding and accurately spelling just one rhyming word for each of their initial start words.

Day 3 Teaching
Read children ‘Young Night Thoughts’ by RLS. Revisit the definition of rhyming couplets read to children yesterday and help the class to locate examples of couplets in the poem. Model writing a series of rhyming couplets on the theme of being bed-bound when ill.
Activity
Children work in ability-related pairs. They brainstorm ideas for their own poems on the theme of being bed-bound when ill. They share ideas for their poems and then select rhyming words with which to end lines in rhyming couplets. They draft the lines of their poems. Some write longer poems, while some simply draft couplets without attempting to establish thematic unity.

Day 4 Teaching
Read children ‘The Land of Nod’. Once again, help children to identify rhyming couplets within the poem and elicit further comments on the relationships between spelling and rhyming. Model converting draft rhyming couplets into finished lines of poetry, emphasising how lines can be edited to improve rhythm and clarity of meaning.
Activity
Children work independently. They write out best copies of their draft poems on the theme of being bed-bound when ill. They edit their lines to ensure rhyme, consistency of rhythm and clarity of meaning. They rehearse reading their poems aloud before doing so to the rest of the class.

SPAG
Unit 2 SPaG: Verbs and tenses
(suggested as 4 days)

You Will Need

Poems in resources
All poems are taken from A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stephenson

Presentations
PowerPoint SPaG: Verb Tenses
PowerPoint Resources: Robert Louis Stevenson - Illustrated versions of six of Robert Louis Stevenson’s poems with accompanying audio readings.

Planning and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Read ‘A Good Play’ by Robert Louis Stevenson and help children to identify the verbs in the poem. Using the SPaG PowerPoint: Tenses, teach children to differentiate between the present and past tenses of verbs. Explore how, in the past tense, some verbs have a regular -ed or -d ending but that others follow less regular patterns.
Activity
Children work with similar-ability partners. They convert verbs written in the simple present tense into the simple past tense. They then write sentences of their own in the simple past tense. Some children change a greater number of verbs, while others work as part of a larger group with adult support.

Day 2 Teaching
Read children ‘The Swing’ by Robert Louis Stevenson and get children to compare the poem to ‘A Good Play’. Using both ‘The Swing’ and the SPaG PowerPoint: Tenses, teach children the difference between the simple and progressive past tenses.
Activity
Children work in ability-related pairs. They convert sentences written in the simple past tense into the progressive past.

Day 3 Teaching
Read children ‘Where Go the Boats?’ by Robert Louis Stevenson. Use both it and the SPaG PowerPoint: Tenses to introduce children to the perfect form of the past tense.
Activity
Children work in ability-related pairs. They read a series of sentences and identify whether each is in either the simple, progressive or perfect form of the past tense. Some convert sentences written in the simple past into the perfect past.

Day 4 Teaching
Re-read all three poems studied in the Unit and ask them to consider either which is their favourite of the set or which poem they have least enjoyed. Model writing a paragraph about one of the poems, showing how you make use of the past tense in all its forms to discuss the poem and your responses to it.
Activity
Children work independently. They decide which poem they wish to write about and compose a paragraph explaining their feelings about the poem. They look for opportunities to use the simple, progressive and perfect forms of past tense verbs in their writing. When finished, they read the rest of the class parts of their reviews.

SPaG: Grammar and Punctuation

PowerPoint SPaG: Verb Tenses
Revise verbs and verb tenses and learn about the progressive and perfect form.

SPAG
Unit 3 SPaG: Defining main clauses, subordinate clauses and conjunctions
(suggested as 4 days)

You Will Need

Poems in resources
All poems are taken from A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stephenson

Presentations
PowerPoint SPaG: Adding Description using Conjunctions and Prepositions
PowerPoint Resources: Robert Louis Stevenson - Illustrated versions of six of Robert Louis Stevenson’s poems with accompanying audio readings.

Planning and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Read children ‘Windy Night’ by Robert Louis Stevenson. Draw out responses to the poem. Use the SPaG PowerPoint: Adding description using conjunctions and prepositions and teach children to identify main clauses, subordinate clauses and conjunctions. Establish that conjunctions can be placed at different points within sentences.
Activity
Children work in ability-related pairs. They read a series of sentences and identify the main clause, subordinate clause and conjunction in each. Children then rewrite a varying number of these sentences with conjunctions moved to different positions within the sentences.

Day 2 Teaching
Read children ‘From a Railway Carriage’. Help children to recognise the link between a poem’s subject matter and its rhythm and aural effects. Returning to the SPaG PowerPoint, deepen children’s familiarity with the role of conjunctions in linking clauses. Teach children how a comma is placed between two clauses when the conjunction is found at the sentence’s start.
Activity
Children work in ability-related pairs. They select conjunctions and write two-clause sentences based on the subject of trains, railways and travel. Some children use a greater variety of conjunctions, and more frequently vary the position of the conjunction within their sentences.

Day 3 Teaching
Read ‘The Moon’ and ask children to compare the poem to others they have heard. Returning to the SPaG PowerPoint, teach children to identify and describe prepositions and prepositional phrases in parts of ‘The Moon’ and other short texts.
Activity
Working in ability-related pairs, children re-read ‘The Moon’ and look for further examples of prepositions in the poem. They use the prepositions they find to write their own Moon-based sentences containing prepositional phrases. Some children also distinguish between the prepositions that indicate ‘where’ and those that indicate ‘when’ an event occurs.

Day 4 Teaching
Re-read children ‘The Moon’ and lead a discussion as to which animals and people go out at night. Model writing sentences about nocturnal animals and night workers. Show children how your sentences use a variety of conjunctions and a wide range of prepositional phrases.
Activity
Children work independently or with an ability-related partner. They write a series of sentences about nocturnal animals and night workers. They ensure that their sentences contain a good variety of conjunctions and a wide range of prepositional phrases. They read their completed sentences aloud to the class.

SPaG: Grammar and Punctuation

PowerPoint SPaG: Adding Description using Conjunctions and Prepositions
Identify main clauses, subordinate clauses and conjunctions. Learn how conjunctions can link clauses and how to correctly punctuate these.

Composition
Unit 4 Composition: Exploring and responding to atmosphere and imagination in poems by Robert Louis Stevenson
(suggested as 5 days)

You Will Need

Poems in resources
All poems are taken from A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stephenson

Presentations
PowerPoint SPaG: Adding Description using Conjunctions and Prepositions
PowerPoint Resource: Robert Louis Stevenson - Illustrated versions of six of Robert Louis Stevenson’s poems with accompanying audio readings.

Planning and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Read children two poems by Robert Louis Stevenson, Windy Nights and Escape at Bedtime. Explain new and unfamiliar vocabulary or themes and help children to begin comparing the poems.
Activity
Children work in small, mixed-ability reading groups. They re-read Windy Nights and Escape at Bedtime. Responding to a set of written prompts, they discuss aspects of the poems, including what atmosphere each has and what role imaginative writing has in creating this mood or feeling.

Day 2 Teaching
Re-read Windy Nights and Escape at Bedtime. Introduce children’s task for the remainder of the Unit: to write a description of a night-time adventure that links to one of the poems they have read. Model deciding which poem to respond to and then propose a series of ideas for children to consider when they begin their planning.
Activity
Children work in ability-related pairs. They decide which poem they want to write in response to. They then brainstorm ideas for their night-time adventure writing and record all their plans and ideas in note form on a planning sheet.

Day 3 Teaching
Re-read the notes collected in yesterday’s whole class teaching session and review ideas for the children’s descriptive compositions. Using the SPaG PowerPoint provided, teach children how to use conjunctions to add additional clauses to sentences. Model converting notes into full sentences, showing how you incorporate what the class has learned about conjunctions and clauses to further enhance your writing.
Activity
Children work independently or alongside ability-related writing partners. Drawing on the ideas they recorded in note form yesterday, they begin writing out their compositions. They use evocative vocabulary to build atmosphere in their texts. They employ a range of conjunctions to add descriptive detail to their writing.

Day 4 Teaching
Review the children’s descriptive writing. Returning to the SPaG PowerPoint once again, teach children how to use prepositional phrases to add descriptive detail to sentences. Underline the importance of regularly re-reading work to check for errors and to take opportunities to improve writing further.
Activity
Children continue to work independently or alongside an ability-related writing partner. They complete and finish their descriptive texts. They use a variety of prepositional phrases in their sentences. They re-read what they have written and make all necessary corrections and additions.

Day 5 Teaching
Model transcribing the draft copy of your nighttime adventure writing as a ‘best copy’ version. Emphasise the importance and value of good handwriting, teaching children relevant letter joins as you do so. Model reading work aloud and lead a discussion as to how best to decorate finished pieces of work.
Activity
Once again, children continue to work independently or alongside an ability-related writing partner. They complete their nighttime adventure descriptions and then carefully transcribe their draft compositions as best-copy versions. They rehearse reading these aloud before doing so to the rest of the class at the end of the lesson. Later, they decorate their finished work.

SPaG: Grammar and Punctuation

PowerPoint SPaG: Adding Description using Conjunctions and Prepositions
Identify main clauses, subordinate clauses and conjunctions. Learn how conjunctions can link clauses and how to correctly punctuate these.