Poetry

English Year 4 Spring Poetic Forms

List Poems and Kennings

Read and write list poems, including kennings. Explore devices such as simile, alliteration and onomatopoeia. Study word classes: nouns, adjectives, verbs, and expanded noun phrases.

We recommend that you start with the core unit, the heart of this English block of study. This introduces key textual material and sets the tone for any further units you wish to teach. These can be selected on the basis of the needs of your class – look at the green icons to identify the unit’s particular focus: SPAG, Composition or Comprehension. Whichever units you choose, we suggest teaching them in order, as there is a built-in progression indicated by the numbering.

‘UNIT PLAN’ gives you a text version of all parts of the unit to use in your school planning documentation. ‘DOWNLOAD ALL FILES’ gives you that unit plan plus all of the associated documents.

Core
Unit 1 Core: Introduction to poetry language and form
(suggested as 4 days)

Objectives

Spoken Language
-- Listen and respond appropriately to adults and peers.
-- Ask relevant questions to extend their understanding and build vocabulary and knowledge.
-- Articulate and justify answers, arguments and opinions.
-- Consider and evaluate different viewpoints, attending to and building on the contributions of others.

Word Reading
-- Apply their growing knowledge of root words, prefixes and suffixes (etymology and morphology) as listed in Appendix 1, both to read aloud and to understand the meaning of new words they meet.

Comprehension
-- Listen to a range of poetry.
-- Discuss words and phrases that capture the reader’s interest and imagination.
-- Recognise some different forms of poetry.
-- Identify how language, structure, and presentation contribute to meaning.
-- Read texts that are structured in different ways and read for a range of purposes.

 


-- Check that the text makes sense to them, discussing their understanding and explaining the meaning of words in context.
-- Ask questions to improve their understanding of a text.

Transcription
None for this unit

Composition
-- Discuss writing similar to that which they will write.
-- Discuss and record ideas.
-- Progressively build a varied and rich vocabulary and an increasing range of sentence structures.
-- Read aloud their own writing.
-- Assess the effectiveness of their own and others’ writing.

Grammar
-- Use and understand the grammatical terminology in English Appendix 2 accurately and appropriately when discussing their writing and reading [nouns, verbs].

You Will Need

Poems
Younger Brother by Trevor Millum (see resources)
Ten Things Found in a Wizard’s Pocket by Ian McMillan (see resources)
Today, I Feel by Gervase Phinn (see resources)
As, as, as… by Robert Hull (see resources)
Land of the Ocean Noise Anon (see resources)
Squirrel by Celia Warren (see resources)

Teaching and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Revise poetry terms. Display and share Younger Brother by Trevor Millum and Ten Things Found in a Wizard’s Pocket by Ian McMillan (see resources), identifying them as list poems. Discuss use of vivid description.
Activity
In groups, children use brought in/provided objects to develop vivid lines of poetry which can be combined to make a vivid group list poem. They write a line each on strips of paper and experiment with the order of the lines, rereading to assess impact.

Day 2 Teaching
Share and discuss Today, I Feel by Gervase Phinn (see resources). Note the impact of the language, including use of similes. Compare this with As, as, as… by Robert Hull (see resources), thinking about structure, theme and use of alliteration.
Activity
Children work individually or with a partner to write a poem similar to Today I Feel. Choose a common title, e.g. I Like Food which children use to build a list poem which uses similes to create powerful images. A writing frame is available for support (see resources).

Day 3 Teaching
Share Land of the Ocean Noise (see resources), a type of list poem called a kenning. Explain that kennings describe something without naming it, e.g. milk lapper = a cat. What do chilren think this poem is about? The sea. Discuss some of the descriptions.
Activity
In groups, children read and discuss a selection of kennings where the animal subject has been hidden. Can they work out what animal is being described, justifying their opinion? Support is available in the form of a Clue Sheet (see resources).

Day 4 Teaching
Reread children’s favourite kennings from Day 3. Look at Kenning 1 (Squirrel by Celia Warren). Can children spot the pattern? Each line has a noun followed by a verb with the suffix -er. Use an enlarged copy of Ideas Recorder (see resources) to help children construct own kenning descriptions.
Activity
Children develop ideas to describe an animal in the kenning form, using the Ideas Recorder resource (see resources). Using their idea bank, children then select and arrange the lines to form a kenning. Challenge some to include rhyme. Can the class guess their mystery animal?

SPAG
Unit 2 SPAG: Word classes: nouns, adjectives, adverbs
(suggested as 3 days)

Objectives

Spoken Language
None for this unit

Word Reading
None for this unit

Comprehension
-- Recognise some different forms of poetry.

Transcription
-- Use further prefixes and suffixes.

Composition
-- Discuss writing similar to that which they are planning to write in order to understand and learn from its structure, vocabulary and grammar.

 


-- Compose and rehearse sentences orally (including dialogue), progressively building a varied and rich vocabulary.

Grammar
-- Use and understand the grammatical terminology in Appendix 2 accurately and appropriately when discussing their writing and reading [nouns, verbs, adjectives].

You Will Need

Poems
Younger Brother by Trevor Millum (see resources)
The Teacher’s Day in Bed by David Orme (see resources)
In the Cave by Sean Forbes (see resources)
Things I Have Been Doing Lately by Allan Ahlberg (see resources)

Presentations
Grammar PowerPoint: Nouns, adjectives and verbs

Teaching and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Introduce/recap the features of list poems. Share Younger Brother by Trevor Millum (see resources). The things listed are all nouns. What other sorts of words tell us more about the items listed? Use PowerPoint: Nouns, adjectives and verbs (see resources) to revise word classes.
Activity
In groups, children read and enjoy The Teacher’s Day in Bed by David Orme and In the Cave by Sean Forbes (see resources). They highlight examples of nouns, verbs and adjectives in different colours, justifying their identification.

Day 2 Teaching
Share PowerPoint: Nouns, adjectives and verbs (see resources). Explore how verbs can be changed into nouns by adding certain suffixes, e.g. argue/argument. Children explore the function of each word in sentences and note the spelling implications of adding the suffixes.
Activity
Children explore further verb/noun pairs, guided by two levels of resource sheet. They use words in written sentences, spelling carefully and noticing how the verbs and nouns function differently in their sentences.

Day 3 Teaching
Read Things I Have Been Doing Lately by Allan Ahlberg (see resources) noticing that the poem is structured around a list of verbs. Model writing lines of poetry in a similar style which uses simple past verb forms, with the title: Things I did last week.
Activity
Children discuss then write a list poem about things they did last week. The activities can be real or imaginary, but they must be written in full sentences and in simple past verb forms, e.g. Last week I battled a ferocious dragon./ Last week I discovered long-lost treasure.

SPAG: Grammar and Punctuation

Nouns, Adjectives and Verbs Grammar PowerPoint
Children revise the function of these word classes and explore how to identify them in their reading.

Comprehension
Unit 3 Comprehension: Discussing, evaluating and performing poetry
(suggested as 4 days)

Objectives

Spoken Language
-- Articulate and justify answers, arguments and opinions.
-- Use spoken language to develop understanding through speculating, hypothesising, imagining and exploring ideas.
-- Participate in discussions, presentations, performances and debates.
-- Gain, maintain and monitor the interest of the listener(s).

Word Reading
None for this unit

Comprehension
-- Listen to and discuss a wide range of poetry.
-- Recognise some different forms of poetry.
-- Discuss words and phrases that capture the reader’s interest and imagination.
-- Identify themes and conventions.
-- Identify main ideas and summarise these.
-- Prepare poems and play scripts to read aloud and to perform, showing understanding through intonation, tone, volume and action.

 


-- Identify how language, structure, and presentation contribute to meaning.
-- Read for a range of purposes.

Transcription
-- Increase the legibility, consistency and quality of their handwriting.

Composition
-- Discuss writing similar to that which they are planning to write in order to understand and learn from its structure, vocabulary and grammar.
-- Compose and rehearse sentences orally (including dialogue), progressively building a varied and rich vocabulary.
-- Assess the effectiveness of their own and others’ writing and suggest improvements.
-- Organise paragraphs around a theme.
-- Proof-read for spelling and punctuation errors.

Grammar
None for this unit

You Will Need

Poems
Full of Surprises by Paul Cookson (see resources)
River by June Crebbin (see resources)
Hector the Collector by Shel Silverstein (see resources)
Morning by Grace Nichols (see resources)
Pleasant Sounds by John Clare (see resources)
Quiet Things by Sue Cowling (see resources)
Additional poems (see resources)

Teaching and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Display and share Full of Surprises by Paul Cookson (see resources) noting that it is a list poem (define list poems if needed). Pick out poetry features. Display and share River by June Crebbin (see resources). Compare and contrast the poems. Which poem do children like the best? Why?
Activity
In groups, children choose two poems (see resources), read and then discuss them using a Discussion Prompt (see resources). They pick out features such as rhythm, rhyme and impactful language and justify preferences.

Day 2 Teaching
Revise the technical terms used to discuss poetry on Day 1 and extend to include alliteration and onomatopoeia. Share Morning by Grace Nichols (see resources) to explore the impact of onomatopoeia.
Activity
With a partner, children read Pleasant Sounds by John Clare, annotating examples of onomatopoeia and alliteration. Children then prepare and perform the poem, thinking carefully about how to say the annotated words.

Day 3 Teaching
Display and reread Pleasant Sounds by John Clare (see resources). Explore the structure of the poem. Discuss and generate onomatopoeic words and use to model writing lines of poetry in a similar style which uses the theme: spooky sounds.
Activity
Children write a similar list poem. They can choose spooky sounds as their theme or any sound theme which stimulates their imaginations. Encourage children to build their lines verbally, aiming for the most vivid images before recording.

Day 4 Teaching
Share Quiet Things by Sue Cowling (see resources). Explain how reviews can recommend poems to others. Model writing a brief review of this poem. Pick out poetry features that children have discussed, such as powerful words and phrases, rhyme, alliteration etc.
Activity
Children choose a poem to review, using the modelled version or the Review Prompt (see resources) to support them. Once finished, children proof-read their reviews, making improvements. Children then produce polished versions for display.

SPAG
Unit 4 SPAG: Expanded noun phrases
(suggested as 3 days)

Objectives

Spoken Language
None for this unit

Word Reading
None for this unit

Comprehension
-- Discuss words and phrases that capture the reader’s interest and imagination.
-- Recognise some different forms of poetry.

Transcription
None for this unit

 

Composition
-- Discuss writing similar to that which they are planning to write in order to understand and learn from its structure, vocabulary and grammar.
-- Compose and rehearse sentences orally (including dialogue), progressively building a varied and rich vocabulary.
-- Assess the effectiveness of their own and others’ writing and suggest improvements.

Grammar
-- Use noun phrases expanded by the addition of modifying adjectives, nouns and preposition phrases.

You Will Need

Poems
All Creatures by Gervase Phinn (see resources)
In the Cave by Sean Forbes (see resources)

Presentations
Grammar PowerPoint: Noun phrases and expanded noun phrases

Teaching and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Display and share All Creatures by Gervase Phinn (see resources) noting that it is a list poem (define list poems if needed). Use PowerPoint: Noun Phrases and Expanded Noun Phrases (slides 1-6) to revise noun phrases. Model building an expanded noun phrase around a head noun.
Activity
In pairs, children generate a list of noun phrases around an agreed theme, e.g. animals, using Writing Prompt (see resources) to support. Children then write a simple list poem, using their best ideas.

Day 2 Teaching
Briefly recap expanded noun phrases using PowerPoint: Noun Phrases and Expanded Noun Phrases (slides 1-6) before extending this to noun phrases which are expanded by prepositional phrases (slides 7-10). Display and share In the Cave by Sean Forbes, exploring the expanded noun phrases.
Activity
With a partner, children discuss and collect ideas for hidden treasures found in a different location. They develop these into expanded noun phrases, including prepositional phrases.

Day 3 Teaching
Display and reread In the Cave by Sean Forbes, this time discussing its merits as a list poem. Discuss the rhyme scheme and the use of words for impact, including noun phrases. Explain that today, children will be using their noun phrases to write a similar poem.
Activity
Children use their notes from last session to individually write a poem which uses noun phrases and expanded noun phrases to build a series of images. Challenge them to include rhyme and other poetry features.

SPAG: Grammar and Punctuation

Noun Phrases and Expanded Noun Phrases Grammar PowerPoint
Revise how adjectives, adverbs and determiners can be used to build noun phrases around a head noun. Extend to expanding noun phrases by adding prepositional phrases.

Composition
Unit 5 Composition: Write and publish list poems
(suggested as 4 days)

Objectives

Spoken Language
None for this unit

Word Reading
None for this unit

Comprehension
-- Discuss words and phrases that capture the reader’s interest and imagination.
-- Recognise some different forms of poetry.

Transcription
-- Use the first two or three letters of a word to check its spelling in a dictionary.
-- Use the diagonal and horizontal strokes that are needed to join letters and understand which letters, when adjacent to one another, are best left unjoined.
-- Increase the legibility, consistency and quality of their handwriting.

Composition
-- Discuss and record ideas.

 


-- Compose and rehearse sentences orally (including dialogue), progressively building a varied and rich vocabulary.
-- Assess the effectiveness of their own and others’ writing and suggest improvements.
-- Create settings.
-- Proof-read for spelling and punctuation errors.
-- Discuss writing similar to that which they are planning to write in order to understand and learn from its structure, vocabulary and grammar.

Grammar
-- Use and understand the grammatical terminology in Appendix 2 accurately and appropriately when discussing their writing and reading [adjectives, verbs, noun phrases, adverbs].
-- Use noun phrases expanded by the addition of modifying adjectives, nouns and preposition phrases.

You Will Need

Poems
Inventions I’d Like to See by Douglas Florian (see resources)
Quiet Things by Sue Cowling (see resources)
Additonal poems (see resources)

Teaching and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Read Inventions I’d Like to See by Douglas Florian, discussing poem features, including rhyme and selective use of language for effect. Contrast with Quiet Things noting the different ways images are built. List and define poetic devices.
Activity
In small groups, children read and discuss a range of rhyming poems. Children pick out the poetic devices and discuss the impact. In their groups, ask children to come up with a list of tips for writing a good list poem.

Day 2 Teaching
Discuss ideas for a list poem which builds the image of a vivid setting, using the senses and impactful language. Ask children to shut their eyes and use their imaginations. What do they notice? They tell a partner. Model using ideas to write powerful lines of poetry.
Activity
Children develop ideas, building lines of impactful description which they might use in a poem. Encourage children to use the tip list and to use expanded noun phrases and poetic devices, such as alliteration.

Day 3 Teaching
Remind children of how they noticed in Inventions I’d Like to See how the poet had chosen words carefully to fit in with a rhyme scheme. Model how to use last session’s lines to find pairs of rhyming lines and how to start arranging into a list poem.
Activity
Children use the modelled process to arrange and refine their poetry lines, editing for rhyme as well as impact of language. Children will be marking up their writing from last session, so could work on photocopies.

Day 4 Teaching
Today children will be preparing their poems to share with readers. Discuss areas for focus such as spelling, handwriting and layout. Agree on a proofreading and final version creation process. Recap dictionary skills if needed.
Activity
Most children work independently or with a writing partner to edit and produce polished versions of their poetry. Set up a supported editing table where children who need help can work with an adult or another child.