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Busta Rhyme

Lesson Plan for KS3/4

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Lyric Poetry Lesson Plan

Learning Objectives (Slide 2)

  • Learn about lyric poems
  • Look at rhyming and non-rhyming poetry
  • Incorporate reading, writing, speaking and listening elements of the curriculum

Lesson Intention

  • To use students' knowledge to plan, draft and compose their own poem for the Busta Rhyme competition


  • Bookmark the links to our ‘About Busta Rhyme’ video, which introduces the activity to students, as well as:
    Is it OK to be Different? by Mark Grist
    Hate by Hollie McNish
    Both videos deal with important issues. Mark's poem looks at image and how beauty is portrayed while Hollie's poem covers racism, homophobia, prejudice and stereotypes.
  • Each student will need an entry form to complete with their name and age before attaching to their entry. You can photocopy entry forms, request more to be posted to you or download them from Busta Rhyme.
  • Please note, you can watch the videos as a class, individually at computers or in groups. It's a flexible activity that you can tailor to your class' needs and requirements.

Introduction (Slide 3)

Ask your class if they can explain what a ‘lyric’ is. Explain to them that several forms of poetry are lyrical such as ballads, odes and sonnets, and that a lyrical poem nowadays usually refers to a poem that expresses personal feelings. Advise students that today they will be writing a poem for the Busta Rhyme poetry competition.

Activity Name Slide Reference Activity Details
Main Teaching Activity
(30 minutes)

Ask your students to watch the ‘About Busta Rhyme’ video, which introduces the activity to them.

Ask students if they can name any poetic techniques and give examples, such as simile, metaphor, rhythm, meter etc.

Now students watch ‘Is it OK to be Different?’ by Mark Grist and they need to write notes on any techniques they think are used in the poem. The poem uses imagery, rhythm, rhyme and repetition – can students identify how Mark used these techniques in his poem? Can they identify any other techniques used?

For Example
Imagery: Mark uses objects such as apples and snowflakes to represent humans.
Rhythm: Mark combines stressed syllables (long sounding) with unstressed syllables (short sounding).
Rhyme: Mark uses internal rhyme (“Differences in production lines, I guess that's fine for cogs and screws and scaffolding poles”) and rhyming couplets (e.g. “Exact same figure, this one is a little bigger”). Repetition: Mark repeats words such as ‘apples’, ‘snowflakes’, ‘ones’ etc throughout the poem.

Now ask students, what do they like about the poem and how does it make them feel?

Next, repeat the activity with ‘Hate’ by Hollie McNish.

Hollie's poem also uses imagery, rhythm, rhyme and repetition – can students identify how Hollie used these techniques in her poem? Can they identify any other techniques used?

For Example
Imagery: Hollie sets a scene for each character in her poem – where they are, what they are doing etc.
Rhythm: Hollie also combines stressed syllables (long sounding) with unstressed syllables (short sounding).
Rhyme: Hollie uses internal rhyme (“Tells his son to attack, so Jake goes out seeing black with a knife in his bag” or “the book of the Taliban gangs”).
Repetition: Hollie repeats words such as ‘hate’, ‘believes’ and ‘knife’ throughout the poem.

Hollie also uses a technique called ‘circular ending’ in her narrative poem – this is where Hollie has told a story with her poem and the actions of the characters link with the beginning and alter their preexisting everyday life.

Now ask students, what do they like about the poem and how does it make them feel?

How do the poems compare? Which do students prefer? Why?

Discuss with students how rhythm and rhyme are used in each poem. Rhyme doesn't have to be used in their work – it's better to have a non-rhyming poem that is written well than a rhyming piece where rhymes are forced so words jumble in sentences and the poet's message is therefore lost in translation!

Now, recap with students that a lyrical poem expresses personal feelings about something the poet feels passionate about. That could be anything from a hobby or a person to the suffering and injustice in this world. What matters to your students? Can they write a poem that voices their opinion using poetic techniques to make the reader understand their passion and feel the power of their words?

What will inspire their poem? Discuss ideas such as justice, current affairs, environment, identity, education, image, politics, society, equal rights etc. This is a great opportunity for students to showcase their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.

Now the class has a feel for different poetry styles and subjects ask them to write their own lyric poem. They can use any poetic form from odes and rhymes to free verse. The aim is for each student to write their own poem that is descriptive, contemporary and expresses their personal feelings on a subject they care about. We appreciate being a teen is a difficult time, heavy with emotion and that this tends to inspire ‘dark’ poetry, but where possible we would encourage the poem to turn the negative into a positive.

(10 minutes)

This is a 10 minute activity. Once students have written their own poem ask them to work in pairs. They are to read their poem to their partner. Their partner is to provide feedback; something they liked about the poem and a suggestion on how to improve.

To extend the activity ask students to redraft, copy up and illustrate their poem.


  • For less able students, discuss and agree their poem's subject and also provide a selection of poetry techniques to be included, such as imagery, meter, tone and rhyming couplets.
  • To challenge students who have a flair for language, poetry writing and technical ability, suggest a poetic form they have to use or ask them to write a monosyllabic poem. Alternatively, suggest they write their poem from the viewpoint of someone else, still using the lyric poem idea.


  • This is a one-hour activity. Alternatively, introductory work can be done in class (20-30 minutes) and the poem can be written as homework.