Our students get numerous opportunities to participate in academic events throughout the school year. Here at JB, our teachers often see this as more than a competition or event and will look to plan a unit of learning around the event theme or topic.
Over the last few weeks, our Year 4 and 5 students have been learning about Poetry in connection with an upcoming COBIS Poetry Competition. The themes of the competition are ‘Looking Ahead’ and ‘Looking Forward’.
Year 4 students have been reading and performing a variety of poems culminating in the writing of their own free verse poems. The students started by reading and learning poetry off by heart - a favourite was Jellyfish and Strict by Rosen. They had to read with expression, using their voice and gestures to convey the meaning of the text. Time was spent looking at free verse, paying attention to poetical devices such as onomatopoeia, alliteration, rhythm, imagery and personification. The students then investigated the theme of ‘Looking Ahead’ through discussion and drawings.
The theme meant different things to everyone; their future self, the future of the planet, looking out of the window, the end of the day and the school day ahead. The students thoroughly enjoyed the freedom that free verse gave them and created wonderful compositions. Using their performance skills, they recited their poems to their classmates and the winners were chosen by their peers. Students thoroughly enjoyed learning in this unit due to the creative opportunities available to them, the challenge of including rhyme and the fact that they could express themselves.
Year 5 students have been learning how to write sonnets and today, some of them performed these in a poetry ‘slam’ to their classmates. The children were hooked in with a talk by Paul Lyalls, a poet who worked as the poet at the Roald Dahl house, Arsenal Football Club and the London Olympics. They then explored the theme of ‘Looking Ahead’. Once they had created mood boards and decided on their individual topics, they learned about the sonnet structure and the elements of this, focusing a lot on rhyming and counting syllables. They planned and then wrote / published their poems. They learned about poetry recitals and have been practising their presentation ahead of the poetry slam. This has involved using their voice, along with movement to bring their poems to life.
I was fortunate to see several of the Year 5 performances today. The students connected the theme to our future and our responsibility to make our world better. I was incredibly impressed with their language choices, their performances but also their ability to articulate a vision for what our future should be. A huge congratulations to all the students and staff involved in both Year 4 and 5.