Category Archives: poetry

Edexcel IGCSE English Lit: Love group

Year 10 linking work for the poetry anthology.

love grouplove group  the pdf version

 

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Edexcel IGCSE poetry for Lit (Anthology C)

I am preparing Y10 for the Anthology C poems for Edexcel.

This is a draft spreadsheet to try to organise their thinking in relation to the 16 poems.. I would welcome feedback and suggestions.

poems reference grid

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Visualiser annotation

In John Tomsett’s new book This much I know… there is a lovely example of modelling annotation for a class, using a visualiser. I ran this today with my Year 10 class – a set who do not find poetry analysis or discussion easy – and I post the result.

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This is a great way to help students who are not necessarily ready to move to annotation or discussion of a text without support. The PDF shows a page from the Edexcel IGCSE anthology which we worked on under the visualiser. When I felt I wished to annotate, they were told to copy and I explained why I was writing what I wrote. Yes this is copying, but it is much more. The discussion element broadens and deepens the understanding and the modeled annotation enables them to confidently annotate their own work. For the first time the discussion was ended by the end of the lesson with much more to say.

We discussed the poem in terms of God/Satan, symmetry of good and evil, metaphors of fire and hell, the power and omnipotence of a God who could create the Tyger, the distinction between God and Satan,. the figurative idea of the heavens watered by tears, the alliteration and the rhythmic patterns, the idea of Innocence and Experience…

So much more was covered than in many lessons.  I like this, I had forgotten it and it works.

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Hide and Seek: Scannell

My favourite poem in the Edexcel IGCSE anthology…

This is for Year 10 who spent a grand 50 minutes exploring the SCA of SCASI.

One or two didn’t copy it and one was absent.

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I can’t summarise a poor photo, but the gist is that the poem is a poem of development from innocence to experience – the childish excitement of the opening becoming more of  a sense of “excited and scared” (Sondheim) as the child gains experience. We looked closely at Character to chart this development in the language used around the child and repressive nature of the imperatives which come from his internal voice (?) which add more and more inhibitions to his behaviour.

The overt sensory setting was a rich area of discussion as was the passage of time and the awareness of moving from one state to another after a cocoon-like wrapping in the sacks…  The boy emerges with heightened self-awareness as his innocent state is left behind him.

The Action divided between inside the shed and external action – the scuffling laughter suggesting his “friends” conscious rejection of him and the cold “biting at the same time suggesting the emergence of his recognition of his new state.

My boys may not have gone for the Sondheim allusion – this is Red Riding Hood ion Into The Woods – excited and scared as her “experiences” in the woods are considered – the new-found awareness s of sexuality is not really a feature here, but the personified garden of threat at the end seems clearly to signify a frightening new world which awaits our young adolescent.

 

 

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Remembrance Poetry competition: hints…

As part of my Yr 9 curriculum, I introduced a year 9 competition a couple of years ago.  The students are working on a war literature module and are required to submit a poem for a Remembrance Competition.

 

This year I have prepared this slide-deck to help my class prepare.  I will use a visualiser to write alongside them and will post the result.  Hopefully the winner, when posted, will be an altogether stronger poem!

how-to-write

The winning poems from an earlier year can be seen here: winners: poetry competition

 

My my first draft in the lesson, from the visualiser… a bit of work to do.  Why did I try trochaic hexameters in the beginning?

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“O sweet and lovely wall…”

Year 11 created a spectacular learning wall for open day with ideas building for MAAN and TKAM…  It will not be available in the classroom indefinitely, so here are the key elements in PDF…

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A short introduction to poetic forms and structures

Aimed at Year 9 who are about to consider writing poems for a competition. this may not be to all tastes…

poetic-structures

 

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Y9 learning wall resource: Disabled

Here are your notes on Setting in Owen’s poem…

y9-disabled-wall

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Year 9 PEE to PEARL: War Lit

There is much discussion on Twitter about the best way to teach students to analyse.  The mighty @FKRitson is currently collating many ideas form a range of schools and i have sent my ha’p’orth on PEARL.  I know that instilling too rigid a structure can create rather mechanical responses, but I like this one – it works and the students can learn to move away from it over the next 3 years, as their confidence grows.

 

We are looking at a War Poetry selection.  This is to support their first writing.

pee-to-pearl-war-poems

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The Bright Lights of Sarajevo: Edexcel IGCSE

Harrison’s poem, The Bright Lights of Sarajevo is in Part 2 of the new IGCSE Anthology for Edexcel. What a great poem this is – seemingly straightforward in language and ultimately absorbing.

I love the questions needing to be answered – who or what are the bright lights? for example, and also the slow development across the two opening stanzas (as printed in the anthology) which both move from negative to positive as the beauty of nature (the stars) and of love begin to replace the deprivation and the horror of war.
I will add another teaching idea from @missjboyle, and in the meantime, here is mine.

Bright Lights of Sarajevo

Balkans war INFO SHEET

THE BRIGHT LIGHTS OF SARAJEVO

After the hours that Sarajevans pass

Queuing with empty canisters of gas

to get the refills they wheel home in prams,

or queuing for the precious meagre grams

of bread they’re rationed to each day,

and often dodging snipers on the way,

or struggling up sometimes eleven flights

of stairs with water, then you’d think the nights

of Sarajevo would be totally devoid

of people walking streets Serb shells destroyed,

but tonight in Sarajevo that’s just not the case–

The young go walking at a strollers pace,

black shapes impossible to mark

as Muslim, Serb or Croat in such dark,

in unlit streets you can’t distinguish who

calls bread hjleb or hleb or calls it kruh,

All takes the evening air with a strollers stride,

no torches guide them, but they don’t collide

except as one of the flirtatious ploys

when a girl’s dark shape is fancied by a boy’s.

Then the tender radar of the tone of voice

shows by its signals she approves his choice.

Then mach or lighter to a cigarette

to check in her eyes if he’s made progress yet.

And I see a pair who’ve certainly progressed

beyond the tone of voice and match-lit flare test

and he’s about, I think, to take her hand

and lead her away from where they stand

on two shells scars, where, in 1992

Serb mortars massacred the breadshop queue

and blood-dunked crusts of shredded bread

lay on this pavement with the broken dead.

And at their feet in holes made by the mortar

that caused the massacre, now full of water

from the rain that’s poured down half the day,

though now even the smallest clouds have cleared away,

leaving the Sarajevo star-filled evening sky

ideally bright and clear for the bombers eye,

in those two rain-full shell-holes the boy sees

fragments of the splintered Pleiades,

sprinkled on those death-deep, death-dark wells

splashed on the pavement by Serb mortar shells.

The dark boy-shape leads dark-girl shape away

to share one coffee in a candlelit café

until the curfew, and he holds her hand

behind AID flour-sacks refilled with sand.

Tony Harrison

Further reading: 

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