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With lots of children out of the habit of poetry writing, we’ve got 3 helpful ideas to help get your class buzzing and raring to write.
- Give your pupils a specific poetry style to write in. An acrostic or sense poem is a great starting point for the beginning of term, or for those who would like a challenge why not try a haiku or limerick?
- Get pupils thinking of different techniques they can use when writing their poems. Alliteration, rhyme, and similes are techniques that go well with the Peculiar Pets theme.
- Get creative ideas flowing by sharing examples of other peculiar pets poems, we’ve picked these videos which may help; A.F. Harrold – The Ambitious Spider, Steve Attewell – The Worm that Wouldn’t Wiggle, and Roald Dahl – Crocky Wock the Crocodile. Once you have watched them discuss them with the class and see if you can spot the different techniques they have used.
Acrostics are a fun, simple way to engage students with poetry. Ask students to pick an animal and write it out vertically on a piece of paper. Explain that the lines don’t all need to be the same length, and it doesn’t need to rhyme!
Your pupils can generate words that describe their chosen animal, and put them on the lines that begin with the same letters, or think of similar words to fit in the poem. Thinking about which words will fit and alternatives is a great way to kick-start your pupils’ creativity!
This year’s National Poetry Day theme is ‘vision’ you can use this theme alongside Peculiar Pets, here are some suggestions to help inspire you:
• Pupils can create their pet inspired by eyes – big eyes, one eye, multiple eyes, telescopic eyes, antenna, glasses, a monocle, goggles…
• Let pupils’ peculiar pets be inspired by what they can see. This could be in the classroom, at home, in a book, from a photo or scene…
• Go to the future, what are your pupils’ visions of what a futuristic pet would be like?
• Let your pupils be visionaries – creating their perfect peculiar pets!
Imagery is writing with very descriptive language that appeals to all of the reader’s senses. When imagery is written well, the reader can see, hear, taste, touch, and feel the text! What a fantastic way for your pupils to bring their peculiar pets to life in a poem!
Here is a quick class activity to get your pupils familiar with imagery before they write their poem:
Show your pupils a picture of a peculiar pet. (You can create or source your own image or use one from the teacher folder.) What does it make your pupils wonder...? Now ask them to write down three sentences:
• One to describe what it looks like
• One to describe what it smells like
• One to describe what it sounds like
Let pupils share their observations! Then they are ready to get creating and writing about their own peculiar pet!
Why not write an Alphabet poem! Your pupils need to write the alphabet as a list down the left-hand side of their page. Then, using their peculiar pet for inspiration pupils need to write a sentence for each letter. E.g:
A ngelic Mr Mould is the name of my peculiar pet,
B ig, hairy, yellow, stripey, kind and funny,
C auliflower is his favourite food, even though it makes him stinky.
D oesn’t sleep in a bed, but a compost heap instead!
X -ray vision to spy through the walls
Y ellow and stripey, like a stick of rock
Z zzzzz, Mr Mould snores as he sleeps at the end of my bed.
Ask your pupils to each pick 3 animals. These can be insects, sea creatures, pets, farm animals, wild animals or mythical beasts.
E.g. snake, T-rex and chicken.
Now your pupils need to decide what animal parts go where; chicken head and feet, T-rex body with snake tail and tongue.
Next, your pupils need to think about where it lives, its diet, camouflage, what it does etc. They now have created a peculiar pet to write their poem about!
To make the activity interactive for home learning, why not invite your pupils to explain or do an impression of their peculiar pet! You could also encourage your pupils to read their poems to the class too!
Animals have lots of natural superpowers...
• Super speed
• Breathing underwater
• Super strength
A porcupine can fire its spines, a lizard can regenerate a limb and an elephant can use its trunk as a hand and straw!
Why not try writing riddle poems to see if we can guess the superhero animal!
The 5-step poetry challenge!
1. Your pupils need to think of an animal or creature
2. Your pupils need to think of a simile to describe the way their peculiar pet moves
E.g. I move as quickly as a Ferrari at a race track
3. Your pupils need to think of two sentences to describe what their peculiar pet does
E.g. I can stretch my mouth wider than an ocean
I can coil like a spring, ready to strike!
4. Your pupils then think of something peculiar they’d like their pet to do – something that it wouldn’t usually do. E.g. I secretly like to roll in glitter so my skin sparkles as I sing karaoke
5. Your pupils finally need to think of a line to describe their peculiar pet which they can repeat in their poem
E.g. I am a slithering snake, king of the desert
Now it’s time to put the lines together in any order they wish, using the repeated line between.
Ask your pupils what animals would suit being a rapper. If these animals could rap what would they tell us?
We’ve used rhyme, rhythm and repetition to create a snappy rap for our rapping hamster...
Hamster was on her wheel
Creating herself buns of steel
As she ran she started to rap
“I’m a rapping hamster
I’m chubby but I’m fast
Race with me, you’ll come last
I’m a hip-hip, tip-top rap ham-star
I’m like no other hamster you’ve ever seen
Cheek pockets, eat rocket
Cotton wool bed, check my street cred
Running in a ball, crash into a wall
Give me a hug, I like it snug
Because I’m a hip-hip, tip-top rap ham-star!”
Let pupils have fun and even work together to create roarsome animal raps!
Get your pupils to face their fears! Are they scared of spiders? Dogs? Horses? Wasps? Snakes?
Then why not write an acrostic or narrative poem sharing their fears? These creatures might be loved by some, but to others they are peculiar just the way they are!
Join in Young Writers’ Animal Antics Day on Friday 30th April 2021!
- Download the animal mask templates from our website
- Go on a peculiar pet hunt... what weird animals in nature can your pupils find? Have they heard of a Axolotl, Proboscis monkey or Shoebill?
- Find some unusual animal poems, we love ‘My Cat Knows Karate’ by Ken Nesbitt and ‘Space Cows and Green Cheese’ by Denise Rodgers!
- Invite your pupils to role play or do impressions of their peculiar pet. What does it look like? How does it move? Can they describe it using similes and metaphors? What makes it peculiar? Take videos and photos, we’re sure parents would love to see this!
- Talk about poetry types... what type of poem could they write?
- Watch the Peculiar Pets YouTube video
- Let your pupils create their own Peculiar Pets poems!
Be inspired with figurative language.
Encourage your pupils to use words and ideas to create imagery... This can be even more fun with Peculiar Pets!
Ask your class to describe a fox that likes to sunbathe but snores really loudly using simile, metaphor, personification or onomatopoeia.
The fox is as red as an erupting volcano
Its snore reminds me of a lorry rumbling down the road
Ask your pupils what makes their pet peculiar and have fun describing it with figurative language.
All aboard for a virtual school trip!
Take your pupils on a day out from the comfort of your classroom. From a zoo to a farm to a deep sea dive, explore animals to help your pupils be inspired to create their peculiar pet:
• Chester Zoo offer virtual visit and live web cams of the animals
• Explore the Arctic with Discovery Education
• Swim in the Cayman Islands with CCMI
• Visit USA National Parks with their YouTube channel
What weird and wonderful creatures will help your pupils get creative?
Awesome Animal Alliteration!
Have your pupils draw 2 letters out of a bag (or you can provide them with these).
Now your pupils write 2 columns and create 2 lists of words beginning with each letter - adjectives, nouns and animal, insects, sea creatures etc.
They need to then pick at least 3 words from each list that they like and create sentences using alliteration, e.g. sneaky, swaying skunk, before drawing a picture of their peculiar pet inspired by these.
Finally, using the words they have chosen, they can write their peculiar pet poem and weave alliteration into their verse.