As Christmas is drawing near we were feeling the need to get in the mood! As a result, we decide that our poetry unit this time would cover the class ‘T’was the Night Before Christmas’ by Clement C. Moore, moving on to ‘The Snowman’ – an animation from Ray Briggs recognised by almost everyone! The new curriculum specifically mentions poetry – both the performance, analysis and creative side, so I wanted to try and incorporate all of this into a 6 lesson block.
I tend to find when you suggest poetry to some children they immediately groan – I haven’t yet figured out exactly why this is! I wanted the children to enjoy this unit – and to feel they could achieve something!
We began by reading and performing ‘T’was the night Before Christmas’ in groups. We sued Perry Como’s famous narration and the accompanying animation.
The children were then tasked with dividing up the poem how they saw fit and learning their section. Once this was done they took their ipads, downloaded the animation into IMovie and recorded themselves over the top. They enjoyed this process and it made them consider the rhythm of what they were saying a bit more, as well as ensuring what they were describing was what was happening!
Analysis came next – with a lesson covering the poetic techniques they had performed – discussing what was in the poem, what it meant, and why those choices may have been made. Why is ‘like a bowlful of jelly’ such a perfect simile here? Why describe a movement as ‘like a flash’? This meant they had a greater understanding of some of the strategies I was going to ask them to use next.
Following this we watched ‘The Snowman’ together. During the viewing the children noted down in groups the main events of the story. They then converted these into a rough plan of what they wanted to include in their poem. Next they set about creating their own poem – the story of the snowman told in a similar fashion to ‘T’was the Night Before Christmas’! It’s one of those tasks which seems so huge, but actually, the children rise to it! Some developed theirs individually, some worked collaboratively; it was up to them. Here are some examples of the creative/editing process:
Once their poem was complete they checked the rhythm as best they could, then were sent off to once again record their voices over the animation – but this time it was their own creation!
This is a re-blog post by Claire Burton and published with kind permission.