Back Thursday 7 Sep 2017 2:27 pm

National Poetry Day 2017: Let Them Loose!

EMC has collated a series of poems on its Poetry Station website for National Poetry Day on Thursday 28th September. Read on to find out more, including great ideas for letting students loose with poetry.
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The theme for National Poetry Day on Thursday 28th September is Freedom. In line with this theme, and in response to the huge enthusiasm for EMC’s Let Them Loose! event on National Writing Day, we are suggesting that you ‘let your students loose’ on poetry.

We’re not calling for writing, as we did for June’s writing event, but rather we’re hoping that teachers might see the day as an opportunity to let students loose on reading and responding to poetry, giving them freedom in a range of different ways.

There are 12 poems about Freedom that you might want to show on The Poetry Station.

But equally, you might want to use anthologies and other sources to let your students loose on a selection of poetry.

Here are some practical ideas for what you could do

Free to choose…

Why not let them choose a poem from an anthology, to share with the whole class. Each student could choose a poem, read it aloud in a small group and then the groups could pick one poem to share with the whole class.

Or show students all the poems on The Poetry Station ‘Freedom’ page and ask them to choose which one they like best and explain why. The discussion could end with a class vote, to see which is the most popular poem.

Free to respond…

Instead of expecting students to respond to poems in the form of a critical essay or appreciation, why not allow them to write freely, in an exploratory way, as a way of developing their ideas and testing out what they think about one of the poems they’ve heard and/or read on The Poetry Station website or elsewhere.

Free to write…

How about allowing students to answer back to a poem? Give them a chance to write a companion piece, or argue back to a poem, or write their own version, updated or made appropriate for them? For instance, if they liked Inua Ellams description of the basketball, could they think of something in their lives that gives them the same sense of freedom?

Free to transform…

You might like to ask students to transform one of the poems, by re-writing elements – changing words, or turning a poem into a different genre (such as a story, or a piece of dialogue, or a comic strip), or changing the tone from serious to humorous or vice versa. Share as a class the transformations that have been effected and talk about what difference the changes have made.

Free to perform…

Give students the chance to prepare a dramatic reading of a poem for the rest of the class. Ask them to bring it to life, with moments where the group all speak as a chorus, where tone and pitch might be used to emphasise certain words, where movements and gestures might give life to feelings, thoughts or ideas.


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