Poetry

English Year 6 Autumn Narrative Poetry

The Highwayman

Read, discuss and perform, The Highwayman poem by Alfred Noyes. Write a new ending. Revise adverbials, relative clauses and study the perfect form to mark time and cause.

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

Core
Unit 1 Core: Introduction to historical narrative poetry; discuss, learn and perform
(suggested as 4 days)

You Will Need

Poems
The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes (see resources)

Presentations
Resource PowerPoint: Glossary
The Highwayman Animated Tale (see resources)

Planning and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Outline the historical context of the term ‘highwayman’ then listen to and watch The Highwayman Animated Tale. Identify this as a narrative poem and briefly discuss its background.
Activity
Children discuss what happens in The Highwayman. They then sequence given plot events and note any questions they have about the text.

Day 2 Teaching
Re-read The Highwayman with children and ask them to underline any words they are unsure of. Make a list of these words and explore why the poem has unfamiliar words.
Activity
Children identify five unfamiliar words from The Highwayman and use dictionaries to find their meaning. Children also find synonyms.

Day 3 Teaching
Look back at the opening four stanzas of The Highwayman and identify language features that Noyes has used to make the poem atmospheric and exciting to listen to. Model how to annotate these features on the poem.
Activity
In mixed ability groups, children highlight and annotate language features from a different section of the poem.

Day 4 Teaching
Re-watch The Highwayman Animated Tale and ask children to note how the poem is read. Discuss what the characteristics of a good recital are and make a list. Then consider the types of gesture and facial expression that would add to a performance.
Activity
Children learn, rehearse and recite part of the poem for a whole class performance. Children consider how to use expression and gesture to add to the performance.

Animated Tale

The Highwayman

This is a narrative poem that describes how one highwayman’s visit to an inn and his encounter with the landlord’s daughter ends in tragedy. After the highwayman leaves the inn, soldiers arrive and tie up Bess, the landlord’s daughter. Could King George’s men have had a tip off from a jealous admirer? Follow what Bess tries to do when she gets hold of a soldier’s musket.

Two presentations are provided, the first is narrated whilst the second is silent.

SPAG
Unit 2 SPAG: Revise adverbs, adverbials and relative clauses
(suggested as 2 days)

You Will Need

Poems
The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes (see Unit 1 resources)

Presentations
Grammar PowerPoint: Adverbs and adverbials
Grammar PowerPoint: Relative clauses

Planning and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Revise Adverbs and Adverbials using grammar PowerPoint, checking that children can identify and move adverbials within a sentence. Discuss how to use commas for fronted adverbials.
Activity
Children identify adverbials in The Highwayman and classify them according to function (time, place, manner). They change given sentences by adding new adverbials, ensuring punctuation (especially use of the comma) is accurate.
Day 2 Teaching
Revise relative clauses using grammar PowerPoint, noting that we often leave out the actual relative pronoun, e.g. This is the horse (that) he rode. Write some sentences. Children suggest relative clauses that could be added to them.
Activity
Children continue writing a brief account of The Highwayman plot, incorporating relative clauses into their retelling.

SPaG: Grammar and Punctuation

Adverbs and Adverbials PowerPoint
This PowerPoint revises adverbs and adverbials, recaps punctuating fronted adverbials and explores adverbials which express time, place and manner.

Relative Clauses PowerPoint
This PowerPoint revises relative clauses, how to embed and punctuate them and how they are fronted by a relative pronoun or adverb.

Comprehension
Unit 3 Comprehension: Poetry as a narrative; comparing poems
(suggested as 2 days)

You Will Need

Poems
The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes (see resources)
The Listeners by Walter de la Mare (see resources)
The Smuggler's Song by Rudyard Kipling (see resources)

Planning and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Display and read the first three stanzas of The Highwayman (see resources) and discuss the ways in which it is a narrative poem. Think about setting, character, building tension etc. Encourage children to use evidence from the poem to discuss opinion.
Activity
Children read The Highwayman in pairs and then answer comprehension questions.

Day 2 Teaching
Explain that children will be reading and discussing two further narrative poems today (The Listeners and A Smuggler’s Song). Note that they are about criminals or mysterious riders, set in days gone by. Compare the beginning of The Listeners with The Highwayman.
Activity
Children read and answer questions about The Listeners and A Smuggler’s Song, discussing aspects which they like and why. Children then compare these two poems with The Highwayman.

SPAG
Unit 4 SPAG: Perfect verb forms marking time and cause
(suggested as 2 days)

You Will Need

Poems
The Highwayman
by Alfred Noyes (see resources)

Presentations
Grammar PowerPoint: Perfect form of Verbs

Planning and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Use Perfect Verb Forms PPT to explore using the perfect form of verbs to mark relationships of time and cause. Work through a range of examples to help consolidate children’s learning.
Activity
Children complete sheets that challenge them to identify, use and write perfect verb forms.

Day 2 Teaching
Use the PowerPoint from Day One to revise the perfect verb form, focusing on the auxiliary verbs: has/have had/have. Play verbal games with children to help them practise perfect forms.
Activity
Children compose past and present perfect verb forms for others to identify.

SPaG: Grammar and Punctuation

Perfect Form of Verbs PowerPoint
This PowerPoint revises and extends children’s understanding of the perfect form (present and past) and how it can be used to mark time and cause.

Composition
Unit 5 Composition: Extended writing: a new ending for a narrative poem
(suggested as 3 days)

You Will Need

Poems
The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes (see resources)

Planning and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Remind children that The Highwayman is a narrative poem, then get them to discuss possible alternative endings. Support and develop this discussion by asking questions, before collating ideas.
Activity
Children plan an alternative ending to The Highwayman, in pairs.

Day 2 Teaching
Look at stanza XI of the poem, where Bess has her finger on the trigger, and challenge children to consider alternative outcomes had she had been able to move her hands a little more. Re-write stanza XI with children, reminding them of the rhyme scheme and rhythm of the stanzas.
Activity
Children write one or more new stanzas that change the ending, their writing should reflect a range of key criteria.

Day 3 Teaching
Share examples of good writing from Day 2, explaining why they are good. Recap on the rhyme scheme and the rhythm of The Highwayman. Model being a constructive writing partner and create an editing checklist.
Activity
Children complete stanzas. They critique one another’s work before editing their own writing.