I’ve done this with Years 4 and 5, and the children loved it.
A little preparation – type out about ten classic poems, including sonnets, haikus, ballads, odes, free verse, etc. (quite a few different types). Cut out & arrange on a sheet (A3 is easiest) and copy enough for one between two.
Get the children to sort the poems in pairs using their own criteria. e.g. rhyme, rhyme pattern, no rhyme, length, etc.
Discuss their reasoning with them as you go around. Then reveal to the children how you would have grouped them and given them the correct terms. Ask the children to choose their favourite poem of the set and write it out as handwriting practice. We always decorate poems in the margin to add to their presentation.
Then write sentences:
- what you like about the poem;
- what you think it means;
- what type of poem it is/why.
They could also read the chosen poem to a partner and to the class after ‘rehearsing’ – including their commentary. They could collect new vocabulary from the poem in their word book and look it up in the dictionary. The poem set can then be used in subsequent lessons to – cut up and present as poetry ‘jigsaw puzzles’ (works best with rhyming ones) – be used to highlight rhyme, simile, alliteration, etc. – be used to make a ‘cut up’ poem to stick into the book.
This was a really good way into poetry for my last class – an enjoyable lesson followed by 1 or 2 independent follow-up tasks that the children loved.