Roald Dahl Day is celebrated on what was his birthday each year, 13th September. There are lots of exciting events happening for Roald Dahl Day, you can find ideas for your own celebrations at www.roalddahlday.info. Why not use this lesson plan to help your pupils celebrate this year?
You'll need a copy of 'Songs and Verse' by Roald Dahl, which contains lots of his poems from a range of his books. The examples of poems we've created on page 2 of this plan are inspired by different Dahl titles to show the diversity this lesson plan offers. You class will be working in groups for some of the lesson and each group will need a different poem from the book to work with. Vary length and difficulty of poem depending on age and ability of groups.
Bring your class together and explain that today they will be writing a poem to celebrate Roald Dahl Day. Ensure all the class knows who Roald Dahl was and ask them if they can name any of his books.
Split the class into groups and give each group a different poem. Give the groups 5 minutes to prepare to read the poem out loud for the rest of the class. Each group reads their poem out to the class. Once all the group poems have been read, ask each group which was their favourite poem and why. Make notes on the board. Pick one of your pupils' suggestions and discuss any particular poetry techniques used. Now write a class poem in that style, with each group creating a different line or suggesting words to use. Write the class poem on the board. Your pupils are now ready to go and write their own poem inspired by Roald Dahl.
This is a 5-10 minute activity. Ask the children to work in pairs to read their poem to their partner. Their partner is to provide feedback; something they like about the poem and a suggestion on how it could be improved. To extend the activity to a second lesson ask the children to redraft, copy up and illustrate their poem. You can also ask pupils to read their finished poems out to the class.
To challenge more able pupils ask them to use rhyme in their poem. Provide thesauruses and ask for lots of adjectives. You can also let them choose a Roald Dahl book of their choice to base their poem on.
For less able pupils provide a list of key words they are to include. They can work in pairs or small groups to create a joint poem and have the support of an adult to assist them.
This is a one-hour activity. Alternatively the introductory work can be done in class and the poem can be written as homework. This lesson plan is also suitable for after school clubs and extra-curricular activities.
Thanks to Claire (Education Team) at The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre for guidance on this lesson plan. Lesson plan created 2010.
The BFG (Tip – can your pupils create a giant and write a poem about all the disgusting things he does?)
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Tip - The Roald Dahl Museum's website has details of characters who were edited out of the book – pupils could make up a poem based on their names, imagining what they think the character would be like.)
Danny Champion of the World (Tip – pupils can write a heart-felt poem about their dad, or other favourite person.)
Dirty Beasts (Tip – how about writing a poem dedicated to their pet, or all about the kind of animal they'd love to own – real or imaginary.)
Esio Trot (Tip – pupils could write a riddle about someone or something of their choice, using the answer to their riddle as the title, spelt backwards of course.)
Fantastic Mr Fox (Tip – pupils could write a limerick, or a poem about something they think is 'fantastic'.)
George's Marvellous Medicine (Tip – what would your pupils put in their own 'marvellous medicine'?)
James and the Giant Peach (Tip – pupils could write their poem based on an amazing adventure or journey.)
Little Red Riding Hood (Tip – ask pupils to re-tell a folktale or fairy story in rhyme, like Roald Dahl.)
Matilda (Tip – pupils could write a rhyme about their teacher!)
Snow White (Tip – pupils could write a poem
Roald Dahl was the master of rhyme – especially rhyming couplets. What is a rhyming couplet? Let us explain a bit more about rhyme:
Rhyming couplets means 2 successive lines rhyme. This is one of the oldest and most popular poetry techniques. Rhyming couplets create a natural rhythm and rhymes are easy to remember:
In the midnight-dark sky sat the white moon
He won't be there long as morning will come soon.
Rhyming couplets mean the same 2 successive lines must rhyme, but you can use rhyme on alternate lines:
In the midnight-dark sky sat the white moon,
Watching over us, he and the stars hand in hand,
He won't be there long as morning will come soon,
And he'll fade away as dawn breaks over the land.