LearnEnglish Kids is once more running the Old Possum's Children's Poetry Competition in partnership with the Children's Poetry Bookshelf.
Children aged between 7-11 years old who live outside the United Kingdom and who are learning English as a second or foreign language will be able to enter the international category of the competition. Judging for the competition will be chaired by British poet Roger McGough. The winning poems will be published on the LearnEnglish Kids and Children's Poetry Bookshelf websites, and all winners will win prizes of books. The competition opens on September 10th 2010 and closes on October 15th 2010. To have a look at last year's winning poems click here: http://learnenglishkids.britishcouncil.org/en/your-turn/old-possums-poet...
The competition is open to all learners of English aged between 7 and 11 years old. It is a great opportunity to introduce poetry into your classroom, and to get your pupils writing their own poetry. You'll find ideas for using poetry in your classroom on this page. There is also a teachers' guide (attached below) which has been prepared by UK poet Mandy Coe which has lots of great ideas to help you get started.
If you regularly use poetry in your class, skip to ‘Competition topic' below! If you haven’t used any poems in the classroom before it would be a good idea to give your students the chance to listen and react to some fun poems before introducing the competition. Choose poems that you think they will enjoy and that are appropriate for their age and level. However, don’t be put off using a poem because there are some words your students won’t understand; it’s more important at this stage that they get a feel for poetry and begin to enjoy the way it sounds. You can use pictures or mime to help get the meaning across, just as you do when you read them story books. If you don’t have access to children’s poetry books, you can download a poem by Jenny Joseph, 'The Luck of Life', and try these sites:
You can search by topic to find an excellent selection of poems. You may like to choose a topic that you have recently studied in class or just choose one that makes you smile.
You will find many examples of poems here, some of which are written by children. Look in the ‘Poetry Gallery’ for examples of children’s work. There’s also a teachers’ section which has book reviews of children’s poetry books and plenty of advice regarding classroom resources.
You will find poems that children have sent in to the website, plus a page of links to useful websites.
If your students have never written poems before you may want to show them some different types of poems, so they feel supported and guided throughout the activity. You could just focus on simple acrostics or limericks, or you may want to give your students a broader spectrum of poetry. The aim is just to provide some support and ideas as to how the students can structure their poems. For examples of different types of poetry look at the Poetry Zone website mentioned above (http://www.poetryzone.ndirect.co.uk/content.htm). Students don’t need to write a rhyming poem for the competition and it may be easier for lower levels if they don’t try. However, it could be fun to spot rhyming words in poems you read to them at this introductory stage. Higher level students, with a good vocabulary, may well enjoy the challenge of trying to make their poems rhyme. You may also want to take a look at the winning poems of last year’s competition on LearnEnglish Kids: kids-poetry-competition-winners
The topic for this year’s Old Possum’s Children’s Poetry Competition is ‘home’. Before children begin writing their poems, it is a good idea to introduce the topic, to see what ideas your pupils already have about what ‘home’ means to them. Encourage them to think about ‘home’ it its widest sense. Ideas may include:
- Their own home
- Different homes around the world
- Their country as their home
- Town or country
- Animal homes – caves, nests etc.
Planning the poems
Ensure your students have enough time to plan their poem, they may well need quite a lot of support at this stage, especially if poetry writing is new to them. Encourage students to check their spelling, to change unintentionally repeated words, to check the tenses are consistent etc. To qualify for the competition students must have written the poems themselves, so although you can guide them and support them, try not to offer too much help! Also encourage your students to think carefully about the title they give to their work as this will help the judges make their decision.
Reading the poems
When the poems are complete, give your students time to practise reading their poem out loud. Invite students to read their poems out to the group if you think students will enjoy doing so and encourage them to put as much feeling as possible into the reading. If you have recording equipment why not record their work and listen back to it later. If you are able to add sound effects or background music you could make a really special recording. Maybe you could invite some special guests such as the head teacher or another teacher with their class to come and listen to the poetry readings. Making a special event of the students’ work will show your class how important their work is, and will probably become one of the more memorable highlights of the term.
Displaying the students’ poems
Even though the poems are for a competition, you could also make a lovely classroom or corridor display of them or even a class poetry book. If you have the time and facilities to make copies of the poetry book so each student gets one to keep it would be highly motivating for the children to take their copy home to show their families and friends. Although students are writing their poems initially to enter them for the competition, try and take full advantage of their (and your!) hard work on the project.
Promoting the poetry competition
If you would like to promote the competition in your school or community you will find a poster to download and print in the attachments below which contains all the details of how to enter. Good luck!
By Joanna Budden, LearnEnglish Kids Co-ordinator
When you have used some of these ideas, why not come back to this page and leave a comment below to tell us how your class went. Let us know too if you have any additional ideas!
|Teachers' guide by poet Mandy Coe||133.45 KB|
|Poems about home||65.14 KB|
|Poetry contest poster 2010||1.96 MB|
|Poem: The Luck of Life by Jenny Joseph||70.9 KB|
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