Poetry

English Year 5 Spring Poems on a Theme

Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats

Using the classic Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, develop children’s mastery of descriptive language, teach relative clauses and parenthesis and write own poems.

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 T.S. Eliot’s Cats Poems
(suggested as 5 days)

Objectives

Spoken Language
-- Give well-structured descriptions, explanations and narratives for different purposes, including for expressing feelings.

Word Reading
None for this unit

Comprehension
-- Read and discuss an increasingly wide range of fiction, poetry, plays, non-fiction and reference books or textbooks.
-- Check that the book makes sense to them, discussing their understanding and exploring the meaning of words in context.
-- Discuss and evaluate how authors use language.
-- Learn a wider range of poetry by heart.
-- Prepare poems and plays to read aloud and to perform, showing understanding through intonation, tone and volume so that the meaning is clear to an audience.

 

Transcription
-- Use dictionaries to check the spelling and meaning of words.

Composition
-- Describe settings, characters and atmosphere and integrating dialogue to convey character and advance the action.
-- Select appropriate grammar and vocabulary, understanding how such choices can change and enhance meaning.
-- Perform their own compositions, using appropriate intonation, volume, and movement so that meaning is clear.
-- Assess the effectiveness of their own and others’ writing.

Grammar
None for this unit

You Will Need

Poems
The Naming of Cats (in resources)
The Old Gumbie Cat (in resources)

Optional Texts
Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot and Axel Scheffler, Faber and Faber

Websites
The Naming of Cats from www.YouTube.com
The Old Gumbie Cat from www.YouTube.com
Cats the Musical from www.YouTube.com

Teaching and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Help children to talk descriptively about their own pets – their appearance, their actions and their character.
Activity
Children write short descriptions of their own pets. They look closely and discuss the cover of Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats.

Day 2 Teaching
Children find out about T.S. Eliot and listen carefully to the poem, The Naming of Cats.
Activity
Children explore the challenging vocabulary from The Naming of Cats. They discuss the poem and listen to a recording of T.S. Eliot reading it.

Day 3 Teaching
Enjoy reading and learning the repeated lines of The Gumbie Cat, by T.S. Eliot.
Activity
Prepare a group performance of The Gumbie Cat and present it to an audience.

Day 4 Teaching
Explore The Gumbie Cat in greater depth, discussing its rhyming pattern and beat. Listen to T.S. Eliot reading the poem and start to generate ideas for a new verse.
Activity
Compose new lines for the Gumbie Cat and perform these. Watch the musical version of the poem and talk together about this.

SPAG
Unit 2 SPAG: Pronouns, relative pronouns and relative clauses
(suggested as 3 days)

Objectives

Spoken Language
None for this unit

Word Reading
None for this unit

Comprehension
-- Read and discuss an increasingly wide range of fiction, poetry, plays, non-fiction and reference books or textbooks.
-- Explain and discuss their understanding of what they have read, including through formal presentations and debates, provide reasoned justifications for their views.
-- Prepare poems and plays to read aloud and to perform, showing understanding through intonation, tone and volume so that the meaning is clear to an audience.

 

Transcription
None for this unit

Composition
None for this unit

Grammar
-- Learn the grammar in English Appendix 2 (Y4 Revision - pronouns).
-- Use relative clauses beginning with who, which, where, when, whose, that or with an implied (i.e. omitted) relative pronoun.
-- Select appropriate grammar and vocabulary, understanding how such choices can change and enhance meaning.
-- Use commas to clarify meaning or avoid ambiguity in writing.

You Will Need

Poems
Old Deuteronomy (in resources)

Optional Texts
Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot and Axel Scheffler, Faber and Faber

Presentations
SPAG PowerPoint: Pronouns, relative pronouns and relative clauses

Teaching and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Introduce the poem, Old Deuteronomy. Enjoy reading the first verse together. Revise pronouns.
Activity
Rewrite a summary of Old Deuteronomy replacing nouns with pronouns. Write about their own response to the poem, with pronouns included in their writing.

Day 2 Teaching
Read and understand the second verse of Old Deuteronomy. Teach how relative pronouns introduce relative clauses.
Activity
Use relative pronouns and relative clauses in writing about Old Deuteronomy.

Day 3 Teaching
Read the third verse of Old Deuteronomy, noticing the repeated patterns from verses one and two. Revise relative clauses and teach how to punctuate embedded clauses.
Activity
Write a fourth scenario for Old Deuteronomy with sentences that use relative pronouns and relative clauses. Listen to T.S. Eliot read the poem and watch the musical performance. Discuss differences between these and preferences for one or the other.

SPaG: Grammar and Punctuation

Pronouns, Relative Pronouns and Relative Clauses PowerPoint
This presentation revises personal and possessive pronouns, teaches relative pronouns and relative clauses, including relevant punctuation

Composition
Unit 3 Composition: Read Eliot’s poems and use as writing stimuli
(suggested as 4 days)

Objectives

Spoken Language
None for this unit

Word Reading
None for this unit

Comprehension
-- Continue to read and discuss an increasingly wide range of fiction, poetry, plays, non-fiction and reference books or textbooks.
-- Identify how language, structure and presentation contribute to meaning.
-- Discuss and evaluate how authors use language, including figurative language, considering the impact on the reader.
-- Draw inferences such as inferring characters’ feelings, thoughts and motives from their actions, and justifying inferences with evidence.
-- Predict what might happen from details stated and implied.

 

Transcription
-- Write legibly, fluently and with increasing speed.

Composition
-- Identify the audience for and purpose of the writing, selecting the appropriate form and using other similar writing as models for their own.
-- Use further organisational and presentational devices to structure text and to guide the reader.
-- Consider how authors have developed characters and settings in what pupils have read, listened to or seen performed.
-- Perform their own compositions, using appropriate intonation, volume, and movement so that meaning is clear.
-- Assess the effectiveness of their own and others’ writing.

Grammar
None for this unit

You Will Need

Poems
Macavity: The Mystery Cat by T.S. Eliot (in resources)
The Rum Tum Tugger by T.S. Eliot (in resources)

Optional Texts
Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot and Axel Scheffler, Faber and Faber
Macavity: The Mystery Cat by T.S. Eliot, illustrated by Arthur Robins

Teaching and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Introduce the poem, The Rum Tum Tugger. Explore the spelling of ‘curious’, discuss the character of Rum Tum Tugger and think about T.S. Eliot’s attitude to the character.
Activity
Answer questions about The Rum Tugger – thinking about the form of the poem, the vocabulary and the character of the cat. Explore Axel Scheffler’s illustrations of the poem.

Day 2 Teaching
Listen to a performance of The Rum Tum Tugger and discuss the structure of the poem. Start to think about new scenarios for this character to show his contrariness.
Activity
Write a new verse for The Rum Tum Tugger.

Day 3 Teaching
Look at and talk about Arthur Robin’s illustrations for Macavity and use these to introduce the poem. Explore the challenging vocabulary in the poem and practise reading it aloud.
Activity
Create imaginary Charge Sheets for Macavity.

Day 4 Teaching
Work out missing words from Macavity and enjoy the poem together. Read the start of the playscript based on the poem and hot-seat the three characters.
Activity
Improvise more of the playscript and prepare a script that others can use to perform.

SPAG
Unit 4 SPAG: Parenthesis: Commas, dashes and brackets
(suggested as 3 days)

Objectives

Spoken Language
None for this unit

Word Reading
None for this unit

Comprehension
-- Check that the text makes sense to them, discussing their understanding and explaining the meaning of words in context.
-- Make comparisons within and across books.

Transcription
None for this unit

 

Composition
-- Assess the effectiveness of their own and others’ writing.
-- Propose changes to vocabulary, grammar and punctuation to enhance effects and clarify meaning.
-- Select appropriate grammar and vocabulary, understanding how such choices can change and enhance meaning.
-- Note and develop initial ideas, drawing on reading and research where necessary.

Grammar
-- Use brackets, dashes or commas to indicate parenthesis.

You Will Need

Poems
Skimbleshanks: The Railway Cat by T.S. Eliot (in resources)

Optional Texts
Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot and Axel Scheffler, Faber and Faber
Skimbleshanks: The Railway Cat by T.S. Eliot, illustrated by Arthur Robins

Presentations
SPAG PowerPoint: Parenthesis: Commas, Brackets and Dashes

Teaching and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Introduce the poem, Skimbleshanks, starting with an Arthur Robin’s illustration. Read the first half of this poem. Note ideas about Skimbleshanks. Introduce parenthesis and the use of commas and brackets using a PowerPoint.
Activity
Add information to sentences about Skimbleshanks, using parenthesis. Consider how parenthesis can sometimes make the meaning of writing unclear.

Day 2 Teaching
Watch a short video of a journey on a sleeper train to give the context of Skimbleshanks. Read the second part of the poem. Use sentences about the journey to revise the use of commas and brackets as parentheses. Use PowerPoint to introduce the use of brackets.
Activity
Read and re-write sentences that explain some of the challenging vocabulary in Skimbleshanks, making them clearer by adding commas, brackets or dashes. Discuss the reasons for the choices that have been made.

Day 3 Teaching
Read the whole of Skimbleshanks and find examples of his helpful deeds. Model how to write some of these into a newspaper report.
Activity
Write a newspaper report about Skimbleshanks, including sentences with parenthesis. Compare Skimbleshanks to some of T.S. Eliot’s other cats and talk about preferences.

SPaG: Grammar and Punctuation

Parenthesis: Commas, Brackets and Dashes PowerPoint
This presentation teaches children how to choose and use the different punctuation appropriate for marking parenthesis

SPAG
Unit 5 SPAG: Parenthesis: Commas, dashes and brackets
(suggested as 4 days)

Objectives

Spoken Language
-- Give well-structured descriptions and express feelings.
-- Use spoken language to explore ideas and develop imagination.
-- Listen and respond appropriately to adults and their peers.

Word Reading
None for this unit

Comprehension
-- Identify and discuss themes and conventions in and across a wide range of writing.

Transcription
-- Proof read for spelling and punctuation errors.
-- Use dictionaries to check the spelling and meaning of words.
-- Choose which letter shape to use, deciding whether to join particular letters.

 

Composition
-- Note and develop initial ideas
-- Consider how authors have developed characters
-- Plan their writing by selecting the appropriate form and using other similar writing as models for their own
-- Select appropriate grammar, punctuation and vocabulary, understanding how such changes can affect meaning
-- Use organisational devices (verses) to structure text
-- Assess the effectiveness of their own and other’s writing
-- Propose changes to enhance effect and clarify meaning

Grammar
None for this unit

You Will Need

Texts
Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot and Axel Scheffler, Faber and Faber

Teaching and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Play ‘Which Poem?’ seeing whether children can match quotes to the poems they have studied in this Block. Introduce the idea of writing a poem about an animal.
Activity
Work in pairs to discuss ideas for a poem. Make notes about these and about the descriptive language that could be used.

Day 2 Teaching
Analyse the opening lines of some of T.S. Eliot’s Cat poems. Model how to draft the start of a poem and how generating rhyming words can provide ideas.
Activity
Begin to write own poems, choosing names for their animals that will create opportunities for rhymes!

Day 3 Teaching
Read two of your favourite T.S. Eliot poems and notice the metre by counting the beats in each line.
Activity
Continue to write poems, in particular concentrating on metre. Work with partners to start to make improvements to drafts of poems.

Day 4 Teaching
Look at an archive containing T.S. Eliot’s actual letters to his godchildren. Compare a draft of Old Deuteronomy with the published version. Think about the illustrations that could be included, revisiting the work of Axel Scheffler or Arthur Robins.
Activity
Finalise poems and publish and share them with an audience.