Animate – The Animated Poem!

A project to create an animated video, using students' words, voices, drawings & music.

Working with poet and spoken-word educator, Cat Brogan, students at Eastbury Community School created 'Making Sense of Me', a collaboarative animated poem. You can enjoy the poem here on EMC's Poetry Station.

Why not explore this poem, then have a go at creating a group or individual poem?

Activities on Animate!

A group poem with a message – Animate!

KS3 students at Eastbury school in London, worked with a spoken word educator and a team of animators to write a group poem with a strong shared message. They then went on to make it into an animated film. Their ‘message’, ‘Making Sense of Me’ was all about developing the confidence to overcome hurdles and achieve your dream. 

  • Watch the poem and discuss your first reactions. 
  • Talk about the metaphors the pupils chose to express the idea of feeling low confidence and then breaking through that, and the visual images they created to go with the words.
  • Which bits of the film did you like best? Which images, which words?

Writing a group poem

  • Write a group poem of your own, following these steps. (You could, if you have time, go on to produce visual images to accompany it.)
  • Agree a theme, a message, that you, as a group, want to write about. Here are some possible ideas to get you started on finding a message:
    • We should reach out to the world and be open, rather than closed
    • Everyone has the right to be respected and treated fairly
    • Bullying needs to be tackled, not ignored
    • Doing well at school is more than just getting good grades and doing well in exams
    • People have different cultures, faiths and origins – it doesn’t mean that they can’t get on with each other
    • Adults should listen more to young people.
  • Agree a basic structure for the poem e.g.
    • Starting each line with the same phrase ‘I used to…’ for the first half followed by ‘Now…. for the second half, or ‘We all…’ followed by ‘But…’ for the second half, or ‘When you’re feeling…’ all the way through.
  • On a sticky, each individually write one or two phrases, or lines about your chosen message. You could think of metaphors to express what you feel, like the Eastbury pupils did.
  • Read aloud what’s written on all your stickies and spread them out on a table. Try to sequence them and iron out any awkward differences, make improvements, or add in words to make them connect well with each other e.g. if everyone has started with ‘I hate it when….’ except for one person, you might want to work together to rephrase their line. Read aloud again what you have now got, in order, and see if you want to re-write or add anything or change the structure. Here’s an example of the kind of conversation you might have:

A: It’s great the way all of the lines start ‘I hate it when…’ but it’s a bit depressing.

B: How about having five or six lines at the end starting ‘But I love it when…’, so it ends more hopefully?

C: Or how about alternating it?  One line saying ‘I hate it when…’ followed by one line saying ‘I love it when…’ and so on.

D: Let’s do that! And can we also do it more like the Eastbury poem, with more unusual images? Like, ‘I hate it when you go on and on, like a siren in a traffic jam.  I love it when you stop, and all the street is empty and still.’

  • When you’re happy with your structure, your order and your lines, write it out on a sheet of paper, ready to read out to the rest of the class.
  • If you can, now add visual images to create a series of still pictures to go with the words. (You could also choose some music, ot even go on to do a fully animated film like ‘Making Sense of Me’ if your school has the facilities to allow you to do this, and the time available to make it happen!)

Writing a poem of your own

  • Having watched the ‘Making Sense of Me’ video, you could have a go at writing a poem of your own, on any of the topics suggested for the group poem, or another topic that you personally feel strongly about. You might want to write it as a message to yourself, or to parents, teachers or politicians, or other students.  Your message could be to a younger brother or sister, giving them advice and ideas about their life e.g. ‘When you start at secondary school…’ or ‘How to stay strong when things are worrying you…’