![alt text](/filestore/BlogImage/c8681b70-2eec-45c7-bb68-0874dc7e83ab/45e81958-2c35-4660-9e46-88b171edaf5falvaro-serrano-hjwKMkehBco-unsplash.jpg "Fountain pen laying on a piece of paper with some poetry written on.") Photo by [Álvaro Serrano](https://unsplash.com/@alvaroserrano?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText) on [Unsplash](https://unsplash.com/s/photos/poetry?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText) Whether it’s writing or analysing poetry, it’s always a good idea to mix up your teaching of poetry with fun ideas and activities to inspire your class. We’ve scoured the internet for the best teaching poetry ideas and popped them in one handy blog. Enjoy! ## What is the best way to teach poetry? There is no one best way to teach poetry. Different types of poetry, and different pupils, will need different approaches. The best way is to mix it up! With that in mind, why not have a go at some of our ideas for teaching poetry? ## 21 ideas and activities for teaching poetry Here are some inspiring and creative activities for teaching poetry in the classroom. ###1. Have a poet virtual visit In this day and age, it’s much easier to get in contact with poets, because many are available online. Consider contacting local poets, or those that are lesser known to pupils to expose them to a wider variety of poetry. You might also find that they will be happy to come to your school or have a virtual visit where pupils can ask them questions about their poetry and life as a poet. ###2. Poetry classroom display Teachers commonly share their reading corner displays or their maths working walls, but what about poetry displays? You only have to Google ‘poetry classroom display’ to see some lovely examples. If you’d like to include poetry books in your display to encourage children to read poetry for pleasure, speak to your school or local librarian. They will have an encyclopaedic knowledge of children’s poetry and will be able to give you personalised recommendations. ###3. Create a class poetry anthology Try not to leave children’s poetry in their exercise books. Get children to write their poetry on single sheets of A4 and collate them into a class anthology. Leave the anthology in your classroom library so that children can get to it and read their peers’ work. This idea doesn’t just apply to primary - if you’re a secondary school English teacher, collate poetry from all year groups and let children read poetry from all over the school. ###4. Favourite poems on classroom doors If poetry is a real push for you and your school, why not get all teachers involved by encouraging them to display their favourite poem on their classroom door? This will hopefully facilitate conversations about poetry beyond the classroom. Don’t forget your support staff - encourage them to display their favourite poems too. There’s nothing more effective than a whole-school push! ###5. Including poems in your assemblies Poems often communicate complex thoughts and feelings and they can be a great way of evoking thought and conversation around said thoughts and feelings. Including related poems in your assemblies is another way to make your assembly content accessible and exciting. ###6. Memorise poetry Why not challenge children to memorise their favourite poem, or a single stanza if it’s really long (looking at you, Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner!). Poetry isn’t just meant for reading; the performance of poetry should also be enjoyed! Encouraging children to memorise poetry encourages them to learn to perform and share their experience of poetry. ###7. Introduce new poetic forms Different poetic forms go far beyond Haiku and Sonnet. Introducing students to a wide range of different poetic forms is a fantastic way to provide a breadth of exposure to poetry from different cultures across the world. A list of 50 different poetic forms can be found here. Why not try a Japanese Dodoitsu, a Spanish Espimela or explore the dark and emotional world of epitaph poetry? ###8. Publish pupil poetry Create community-wide conversation about poetry by publishing your pupils' poetry. You could do this via your school’s website by creating pages dedicated to children’s poetry, or post written pieces directly to your school’s social media accounts. You could post images of the poetry, or even create threads of their poetry and fill feeds with the writing prowess of your pupils. ###9. School-wide poetry consequences Have you ever played story consequences, where you write a sentence to a story and then pass it onto the next person to write the next sentence and so-on? Why not write a poem across the school, challenging each class to write the next line of the poem?. If you’re secondary, you could pass on the poem within your own classroom and let each year group/class you teach write the next line until you have a complete poem. ###10. Poetry club If you have some children who enjoy writing their own poetry, you can encourage this further by hosting a poetry club. You can share favourite poems and workshop poems that have been written by pupils. Workshopping is a fantastic way to show pupils that poetry can be crafted and improved. It also builds resilience and exercises communication skills through constructive criticism. ___ **Related content:** [9 exciting ways to teach reading for pleasure](https://www.lbq.org/Blog/KS2-reading-for-pleasure) [Common English SATs answers and misconceptions](https://www.lbq.org/Blog/english-sats-misconceptions) [11 KS2 space topic ideas for the classroom](https://www.lbq.org/Blog/ks2-space-topic-ideas-classroom) ___ ###11. Celebrate National Poetry Day The UK has been celebrating National Poetry Day in October since 1994. It’s a great opportunity to highlight the joy that can come from the reading and studying of poetry. Each year, the day is given a theme - find out the theme and use the official [National Poetry Day](https://nationalpoetryday.co.uk/) resources to celebrate with your class. ###12. Watch and create poetry performances As we have already mentioned, there is so much value in enjoying poetry read aloud. There are some incredible poetry performances to be watched for free online. Michael Rosen is perhaps the most famous performance poet for children and his [YouTube channel](https://www.youtube.com/c/MichaelRosenOfficial) has a plethora of videos for you and your class to enjoy. If you have older children, why not show them the breathtaking performance of Amanda Gorman of her inauguration poem, ‘[The Hill We Climb](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZ055ilIiN4)’? Once you have studied these performances and have provided children with success criteria, get children to perform their favourite poem, or one they have written themselves. You could record these performances and enjoy them as a class. ###13. Take trips to poet sites of interest Nothing brings poets to life for children like visiting their place of birth, the location they wrote their poems, or the place they were laid to rest. Most famous poets have places of interest you can visit. For example, the Lake District has many places to visit that celebrate the life of [William Wordswort](https://www.visitcumbria.com/wordsworth-attractions-lake-district/)h, Stratford-Upon-Avon is packed to the rafters with [Shakespearean places of interest](https://www.shakespeare.org.uk/explore-shakespeare/shakespedia/stratford-upon-avon/), and West Yorkshire has [Brontë-themed spots](https://www.bronte.org.uk/visit-us) to go and see. ###14. School poetry contest A school poetry contest is a sure-fire way to create poetry buzz in classrooms. Get teachers, support staff, and/or older students to be judges and create age categories to celebrate poetry writing across the school. Present prizes of poetry books and certificates at a whole-school assembly. ###15. Diversify your poetry library Most schools recognise the need to ensure their libraries and collections of books are inclusive - representative of the world children live in in the 21st Century. The same is also true for the poetry books you have on offer. Make a concerted effort to look out for poetry books by a diverse range of poets. You should also consider inclusivity when looking at the content of the poems written. We love this list of [diverse poetry books for kids](https://www.whatdowedoallday.com/diverse-poetry-books-for-kids/) from What We Do All Day. ###16. Reader vs poet When it comes to analysing poetry, particularly at GCSE-level, it is important for pupils to understand a poet’s intended meaning, whilst also considering the effect of such intentions on a reader. [Larry Ferlazzo for EdWeek](https://www.edweek.org/teaching-learning/opinion-six-ways-to-teach-poetry/2020/04), provides a fantastic idea for introducing this notion. Draw a Venn diagram where one side is labelled ‘reader’ and the other side is labelled ‘poet’. The overlapping area in the middle is where the poet’s intentions affects the reader’s experience and feelings about the poem - the reader has been led by the poet’s intentions. This way, you are demonstrating that a reader’s thoughts and feelings about a poem are not a write off, but they might not always be relevant to the analysis of a poem. ###17. One line study Again from[ Larry Ferlazzo](https://www.edweek.org/teaching-learning/opinion-six-ways-to-teach-poetry/2020/04), alter the poem you’re studying into prose. Then cut up the poem, sentence by sentence. Sort children into groups and give each group a sentence to analyse. They should gather any thoughts that come to mind when they read the sentence. They can share their sentence and their thoughts with the class. It is only after this experience that students then receive a copy of the whole poem. This is a great way to show students that they are good at poetry as they have often already pulled out the main themes and ideas. ###18. Blackout poetry If you haven’t jumped on the blackout poetry bandwagon, get on it! One of the difficulties with writing your own poetry is where to even begin. With blackout poetry, children aren’t using their own words, but using the mind of another to create a piece of art. It’s an incredibly engaging, visually inspiring way to create poetry. In blackout poetry, also known as erasure poetry, pupils are given a photocopied page from a book and asked to select the words for their poem they wish to have and then using a black felt tip, black out the rest of the words on the page, leaving only their selected words that create a poem. If you want to see examples, you can search on Google or look at [#BlackoutPoetry](https://twitter.com/search?q=%23blackoutpoetry&src=typed_query) on Twitter. ###19. Book spine poetry A bit like blackout poetry, book spine poetry is an opportunity for pupils to write poetry using the mind of other writers. Pupils are given a selection of books to pile on top of one another to create their own poems. The spines of the books and their titles create a poem. ###20. Song lyrics If your pupils lack enthusiasm for poetry, studying song lyrics can be a great ‘way in’. Ignite interest in poetry by presenting song lyrics to pupils from well-known singers and analyse them in the same way you would a poem. This is a fantastic way to prepare GCSE students for the Unseen Poetry element of the literature exam by teaching the skills of analysis in an engaging way. ###21. Learning by Questions Learning by Questions has a selection of poems and related resources for key stage 2, including the classic, '[From a Railway Carriage](https://www.lbq.org/search/english/reading-comprehension-poetry/classicpoetry/short-reads-from-a-railway-carriage-1-pre-read?years=1,2,3,4,5,6&hide=true)' and an LbQ original, '[Down in Duddle Wood](https://www.lbq.org/search/english/reading-comprehension-poetry/reading-comprehension-poetry/short-reads-down-in-duddle-wood-1-pre-read?years=1,2,3,4,5,6&hide=true)'. Using LbQ to study poetry means pupils will get a thorough exploration of the poem, and you, the teacher, will be provided with data to show who to intervene with and when. You can get a free 6-week trial of Learning by Questions by signing up [here](https://www.lbq.org/TryLbQ).