Poetry

English Year 4 Autumn Poetic Language

Poetry using Imagery

Focusing on imagery, this block explores how poems use simile and metaphor to create powerful images. Photographs, collage and Jeannie Baker's Window inspire poetry writing.

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

Core
Unit 1 Core: Exploring language in poetry
(suggested as 4 days)

You Will Need

Texts
The Puffin Book of Utterly Brilliant Poetry chosen by Brian Patten
Dragon Poems chosen by John Foster, illustrated by Korky Paul

Poems
(All provided in resources)
By Roger McGough:
The Reader of this Poem
Elephant

By Moira Andrews:
Rainbows
Portrait of a Dragon

As As As by Robert Hull
Additional poems (see resources)

Planning and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Discuss similes and then watch and read The Reader of this Poem by Roger McGough. Choose favourite image from the poem.
Activity
Work with a partner to create similes about a person, selecting the most powerful and adding them to a class collection. Read and discuss As As As by Robert Hull.

Day 2 Teaching
Discuss metaphors and read the start of Rainbows by Moira Andrew. Discuss the choice of nouns and adjectives and the use of alliteration in this poem.
Activity
Read the rest of Rainbows and other metaphor poems. Talk about and write answers to questions about these poems. Work together to play with making metaphors quickly.

Day 3 Teaching
Discuss verbs and read Elephant by Roger McGough. Notice the powerful and precise verbs that are used in this poem.
Activity
Choose verbs that will match particular animals and write sentences using them. Notice and discuss the other poetic devices used in the Elephant poem.

Day 4 Teaching
Read the start of Portrait of a Dragon by Moira Andrew. Decide what could be used to describe the different parts of a dragon.
Activity
Read the rest of the poem and talk about then write answers questions about its features. Think about how other mythical creatures could be described. Compare collections of favourite phrases.

SPAG
Unit 2 SPAG: Extended noun-phrases
(suggested as 3 days)

You Will Need

Poems
Two Ways of Painting the Picture by Sophia Tait (see resources)

Websites
Two Ways of Painting the Picture by Sophia Tait from https://poetrysociety.org.uk

Presentations
SPaG PowerPoint: Noun Phrases

Planning and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Play a Description Game, looking closely at a still-life picture. Look at flowers in a vase and write a sentence to describe, revising nouns and adjectives. Use the presentation to teach extended noun-phrases.
Activity
Write further descriptive sentences about the flowers in a vase and then read the first part of Two Ways of Painting the Picture by Sophia Tait.

Day 2 Teaching
Read and discuss the whole of Two ways of Painting the Picture by Sophia Tait. Notice the use of simile and metaphor in the second part of the poem. Use the presentation to teach extending noun-phrases with prepositions.
Activity
Write descriptive sentences about the flowers in a vase using prepositions from the presentation. Look at a picture of Rennie Mackintosh Roses and write descriptive sentences together.

Day 3 Teaching
Annotate Two Ways of Painting the Picture by Sophia Tait to show the features that make this an effective poem. Check understanding of nouns, adjectives, prepositions and extended noun-phrases using a sentence from Day 1 or the presentation.
Activity
Write descriptive sentences about a Still Life arrangement. Identify the nouns, adjectives and prepositions that have been used. Talk about writing competitions.

SPaG: Grammar and Punctuation

Noun Phrases Presentation
This presentation revises adjectives and qualifying adverbs as we add information to a noun, and then demonstrates how prepositions can be used to add further detail.

Comprehension
Unit 3 Comprehension: Reading and discussing poetic imagery
(suggested as 4 days)

You Will Need

Texts
The Works Key Stage 2 chosen by Pie Corbett

Poems
(All provided in resources)
The Locust translated by A Marre and Willard R. Trask
The Magnificent Bull by Dinka people of Africa
Lizards by Darren Stanley
What is Pink? by Christina Rossetti
Hollyhocks by Judith Green
High Dive by James Kirkup
Boy Juggling a Soccer Ball by Christopher Merrill
City Lights by Margaret Greaves
Hedgehog Hiding at Harvest by Helen Dunmore
The Frozen Man by Kit Wright

Planning and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Think about the question: What is a locust? Watch a video, read a short article and look at a photograph before reading The Locust. Talk about the images in the poem and the picture that it gives.
Activity
Read poems about animals – The Locust; The Magnificent Bull; Lizards. Talk about and then write answers to questions about these poems. Collect favourite words and phrases.

Day 2 Teaching
Read What is Pink? by Christina Rossetti, noticing and discussing its poetic features. Read and discuss Hollyhocks by Judith Green, another poem with imagery about colours.
Activity
Use writing briefs based on either What is Pink? or Hollyhocks to write descriptive phrases and sentences. Begin to develop these into poems.

Day 3 Teaching
Watch and talk about a video clip of diving. Write descriptive phrases for each part of the dive. Read and talk about High Dive by James Kirkup, identifying particularly powerful words and phrases.
Activity
Write to describe a slow-motion video of ball juggling or another movement. Read and talk about Boy Juggling a Soccer Ball by Christopher Merrill, comparing it with the children’s writing. Continue to collect and record favourite phrases.

Day 4 Teaching
Look at four images and talk about how they might be used in a poem. See how they are used in City Lights by Margaret Greaves. Look for the poetic features of this poem. Read Hedgehog Hiding at Harvest by Helen Dunmore discussing its most effective phrases.
Activity
Talk about and write answers about the poetic features of these two night-time poems. Read and talk about a third poem, The Frozen Man by Kit Wright. Collect further favourite phrases and compare collections with others.

SPAG
Unit 4 SPaG: Identifying and using verbs and adverbials
(suggested as 3 days)

You Will Need

Texts
Dragon Poems chosen by John Foster, illustrated by Korky Paul

Poems
(All provided in resources)
Happy Birthday, Dear Dragon by Jack Prelutsky
How Dragons Hide by Julie Holder
Dragon's Breath by Irene Rawnsley
The Lonely Dragon by Julie Holder

Presentations
SPaG PowerPoint: Adverbials

Planning and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Read Happy Birthday, Dear Dragon, looking in particular at the variety of verbs used as synonyms for said.
Activity
Read How Dragons Hide by Julie Holder. List the verbs used in this poem, think of synonyms and then write sentences using them. Revise knowledge of adverbs.

Day 2 Teaching
Read Dragon’s Breath by Irene Rawnsley, noticing the verbs in this poem and how they are repeated. Use the presentation to teach adverbials and see how Irene Rawnsley has used adverbials in her poem.
Activity
Write adverbials to add to five given verb phrases about a lonely dragon. Read The Lonely Dragon by Julie Holder and notice the adverbials that she has used.

Day 3 Teaching
Visit your Reception Classroom or use a photograph to prompt children’s memories. Make lists of verbs about what happens there. Revise adverbials, including fronted adverbials. Model how these could be used for descriptive sentences about Dragons in Reception!
Activity
Write descriptive sentences with adverbials about Dragons in Reception. Start to arrange these into a poem, using poetic features from previous units.

SPaG: Grammar and Punctuation

Adverbials Presentation
This presentation revises verbs and checks that children can clearly identify these. It then covers the use of adverbials to modify verbs, including fronted adverbials.

Composition
Unit 5 Composition: Writing descriptive poetry
(suggested as 4 days)

You Will Need

Texts
Window by Jeannie Baker

Poems
The Door by Miroslav Holub

Planning and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Look closely at one of the ‘Then and Now’ images. Write descriptions and model how to improve these, using words, phrases and learning from previous units. Look together at the matching image.
Activity
Choose and write about pairs of images. Re-read own writing, finding the most powerful features and looking for areas to improve.

Day 2 Teaching
Share Window by Jeannie Baker. Look at one or two of the illustrations carefully and write descriptive sentences and phrases. Work together to develop and improve these using learning from previous units.
Activity
Work in a small group to write descriptively about other collages from Window. Share these and talk about what makes them effective.

Day 3 Teaching
Read and talk about The Door by Miroslav Holub, its images and descriptive devices. Model how to plan a poem based on the structure, writing ideas directly on a copy of the poem.
Activity
Children draft a poem based on the structure of The Door. They share it with a partner and make improvements based on their suggestions.

Day 4 Teaching
Use one groups writing from Day 2 to model how it can be developed and finalised into a poem. Use a list of Poetic Features to recap the learning from this block and to apply it to this poem. Talk about performance and make a list of tips.
Activity
Children choose one of their pieces of writing from Day 1, 2 or 3 and develop it into a poem. They practise their reading of the poem and perform it to the class or to your chosen audience.