How To Create A Poetry Lesson For Year One

Written by Dan

Introducing poetry to Year One students can be a delightful and rewarding experience for the teacher and the young pupils. Exposing children to the rhythmic and evocative world of poetry at an early age nurtures their creative minds and enhances their language and literacy skills.

As a teacher, crafting a well-rounded and enjoyable poetry lesson for Year One is essential to engage their natural curiosity and cultivate their love for the art of words.

The key to a successful poetry lesson is ensuring it is fun, interactive and easily understandable for the children.

By incorporating engaging activities, such as read-aloud sessions, illustrations, and simple writing exercises, the teacher can make the world of poetry accessible and enjoyable for young learners.

Additionally, selecting age-appropriate and relatable poems can significantly enhance their interest and participation in the lesson.

When planning the lesson, the teacher must focus on developing the children’s listening, speaking, and writing skills.

Encouraging students to explore the sound and rhythm of words, express their emotions and ideas, and create their simple poems will enable them to grasp the essence of poetry.

By fostering a supportive and positive learning environment, the teacher can instil confidence and nourish creativity in their Year One students, leading to a fulfilling and memorable poetry lesson.

Understanding Poetry

Introducing poetry to Year One students should be a fun and engaging experience. Children can develop a strong foundation in understanding poetry through simple yet effective teaching methods.

The following paragraphs will outline some essential aspects to consider when planning a successful poetry lesson.

Reading: The first step in creating a poetry lesson for Year One students is to select age-appropriate poems which are simple and easy to understand. Providing a rich selection of classic and contemporary poems will encourage children to develop an appreciation for different styles of poetry.

When reading the selected poems to the class, remember to use clear and expressive language, as well as gestures and facial expressions to help convey the emotions and feelings the poem conveys.

Rhyme: Rhyme is a crucial element in many poems and an excellent starting point for teaching poetry to young learners. Begin by discussing the concept of rhyme and providing examples for the students to hear.

Provide fun and interactive activities, such as rhyming games, enabling children to recognise and generate rhyming words effortlessly.

Examples of rhyming games:

  • Matching rhyming words using picture cards
  • Silly rhyming sentences
  • Rhyming word memory game

Alliteration: Another essential aspect of poetry is alliteration, the repetition of consonant sounds at the beginning of words.

Introduce alliteration to your students by providing straightforward examples, such as “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.”

Encourage the children to create their alliterative sentences using the first letter of their name, e.g., “Sally saw six silly snakes.” This activity will not only enhance their understanding of alliteration but also help them become more confident in using this poetic device in their writing.

During the poetry lessons, it is crucial to encourage the students to ask questions, share their thoughts, and express their feelings about the poems.

Promoting an open and supportive learning environment, children will develop a solid understanding of poetry and a lifelong appreciation for the art form.

Engaging in Poetry Writing

Teaching year one students to write poetry can be a fun and rewarding experience. Introducing them to different poetry forms can get their creative juices flowing while offering a structured writing framework.

In this section, we will explore two beginner-friendly forms of poetry: acrostic poems and haikus.

Starting With Acrostic Poems

Acrostic poems are an excellent way for young students to begin their journey into poetry writing. An acrostic poem is one in which the first letter of each line spells out a word or message, usually related to the poem’s topic. For example:

P ouncing on treasure
I n search of golden loot
R ough seas they must sail
A dventures on the high seas
T ussling with fearsome foes
E ach one a brave buccaneer
S wiftly sailing through storms

To start the activity, you can guide the students to choose their topic, perhaps related to a recent theme in class like pirates.

Next, let them list the word’s letters vertically on a piece of paper and then think of words or phrases beginning with each letter that connect to the topic. Encourage the students to include adjectives, verbs, and nouns for added variety.

Moving On to Haikus

Once the students are comfortable with acrostic poems, they can explore the world of haikus.

A haiku is a traditional Japanese form of poetry that consists of three lines. The first line contains five syllables, the second line has seven syllables, and the third line returns to five syllables.

Here’s an example of a pirate-themed haiku:

Beneath moonlit waves,
Treasure glimmers, lost to time,
Silent sea secrets.

To begin, have the students brainstorm a list of words related to their chosen topic. Next, please encourage them to experiment with these words, arranging and rearranging them in different combinations to create the 5-7-5 syllable structure of a haiku.

Remember to remind the students that the beauty of a haiku lies in its simplicity. The imagery and ideas should come across clearly in just a few short lines.

Once the students have written their haikus, they can share them with the class, exploring how each peer interprets the pirate theme in their own unique way.

By starting with acrostic poems and moving on to haikus, you can set the foundation for a lifelong love of poetry in your year one students.

They will learn to express themselves creatively through various poetic forms with practice and guidance.

Interactive Classroom Activities

Teaching poetry to year one students can be both engaging and educational by incorporating interactive classroom activities. These hands-on experiences not only create a fun learning environment but also help young learners develop a passion for poetry.

This section outlines two interactive activities: performing poetry and creating tongue twisters.

Performing Poetry

One effective way to engage students in poetry is by allowing them to perform it. Teachers can start by selecting age-appropriate poems, and then follow these steps:

  1. Read aloud: Before students start performing, it’s essential to model the appropriate tone, pace, and expression. Teachers should read the poem aloud for the whole class.
  2. Divide into groups: Split the class into small groups, and assign a poem to each group. This enables every student to have an active role in the performance.
  3. Prepare and rehearse: Give students ample time to rehearse their poems, discuss their interpretations, and decide on actions or gestures that can convey the poem’s meaning.
  4. Performance: Allow each group to perform their poem in front of the class. This step encourages confidence and active participation in the classroom.
  5. Reflection: If possible, record the performances and watch the videos together as a class. Discuss students’ experiences and offer constructive feedback.

Creating Tongue Twisters

Another engaging activity involves students creating their own tongue twisters. This exercise promotes creativity, phonics awareness, and oral language skills. To guide the class through this activity, follow these simple steps:

  1. Introduce tongue twisters: Share some examples of well-known tongue twisters with the class. Encourage students to repeat them and note the challenging aspects.
  2. Brainstorm words: Compile a list of words with similar starting sounds on the board. Encourage students to suggest additional words to create a broad selection.
  3. Formulate sentences: Work together with the class to create sentences using these words. Emphasise that the sentences should be silly and challenging to pronounce quickly.
  4. Practise tongue twisters: Have students take turns practising their newly crafted tongue twisters in pairs or small groups. Remind them to focus on enunciation and speed.
  5. Sharing their creations: Offer students the opportunity to share their tongue twisters with the whole class. Applaud their efforts and creativity to build their confidence.

By incorporating these interactive classroom activities, teachers can foster a love for poetry and language among year one students, and make the learning process exciting and enjoyable.

Resource Acquisition and Usage

Utilising a variety of resources can significantly enhance a Year One poetry lesson. The key is to select age-appropriate materials and utilise them effectively. The following are some recommendations for acquiring and utilising resources for a successful poetry lesson plan.

Worksheets: Worksheets are critical in reinforcing concepts and promoting a deeper understanding of the poetic form. Teachers can access numerous websites that provide pre-designed worksheets or use a template to create their own.

Some suggested websites are Twinkl, Teacher’s Pet, and Primary Resources. It is essential to select downloadable worksheets that are visually engaging, incorporate images, and cater to the literacy level of Year One students.

Images: Visual aids are an effective tool for engaging young learners in poetry. Teachers can use images to inspire students to create their poems or to help them understand the themes and emotions of a particular poem.

Sites like Unsplash and Pixabay offer a vast range of high-quality, royalty-free images that can be downloaded and incorporated into lesson materials.

Poetry Collections: Teachers should introduce Year One students to a diverse range of poems, exposing them to different styles, themes, and authors. Choosing age-appropriate poems that are simple, engaging, and relatable to young learners is essential.

Teachers can rely on online resources, such as Poetry Archive and The Poetry Shed, as well as poetry books available in school libraries or bookshops.

Interactive Activities: Interactive activities can help Year One students develop an interest in poetry and become more proficient in understanding and writing it. The teacher can create interactive activities or search the internet for readily available ones.

Platforms like Teachit Primary and TES provide a good selection of interactive poetry teaching resources.

Remember to tailor the resources to the needs and interests of the individual class, ensuring that the content is suitable and engaging for Year One students.

By incorporating a variety of resources and carefully considering the usage of each, the teacher can create an enjoyable and informative poetry lesson for their Year One class.

Reading and Recitation Preparation

When preparing a poetry lesson for Year One students, it’s important to focus on key phonics elements to help them become confident in their reading and recitation abilities. Incorporate commonly taught phonemes in the lesson, such as igh, ay, ee, ai, oa, oo, ea, and y.

Begin by selecting a range of poetry excerpts and nursery rhymes that contain a variety of these phonemes. Create a word bank for each phoneme, listing examples found in the chosen poems. For instance:

ighnight, sigh, light
ayplay, stay, tray
eetree, knee, three
airain, train, plain
oaboat, float, coat
oomoon, spoon, balloon
easea, tea, beach
ysky, fly, by

Divide the lesson into two parts: reading and recitation. For the reading portion, help students identify the rhyming words and alliteration within the selected poems. Rhyming words are words that have the same ending sound, while alliteration is the repetition of the same initial sound in a series of words.

Create a matching activity that encourages students to match pairs of rhyming words found in the poems. Use a table with two columns and a mixture of rhyming words and non-rhyming words to challenge the students. For example:

Column 1Column 2

Next, help students identify alliteration in the poems. You can create a simple fill-in-the-blank activity where students complete the sentence with a word from the same poem that shares the starting sound. For instance:

  1. “Row, _______ your boat; …
  2. “Mary had a little _______; …

For the recitation part, have students practice reading aloud the selected poems with clear pronunciation, emphasising the target phonemes. Pair students and encourage them to take turns listening and giving feedback to their partner on their recitation. This will help them become more familiar with the poems and improve their pronunciation.

Lesson Assessment and Progression

In this section, we will discuss various strategies for assessing the progress of your Year One students during a poetry lesson, as well as ideas for moving forward and enhancing their abilities in understanding and creating poetry.

Formative Assessment: Throughout the lesson, utilise ongoing formative assessments to observe and monitor students’ progress. These can include:

  • Teacher observation: Watch students as they engage in discussions and group activities to look for signs of understanding or confusion.
  • Question and answer sessions: Assess students’ grasp of concepts by asking relevant questions about the poems being studied and their responses.
  • Peer assessment: Encourage students to provide constructive feedback to each other on their work, fostering a supportive learning environment.

Summative Assessment: At the end of the lesson, implement a summative assessment to evaluate students’ overall achievements in the subject matter. Examples include:

  • Written reflection: Have students write a brief paragraph about what they learned during the lesson, focusing on their understanding of poetry techniques and elements.
  • Creating original poetry: Ask students to write a short poem of their own using techniques and themes discussed during the lesson.

To facilitate progression in your Year One poetry lessons, consider the following strategies:

  1. Revisit and build upon prior knowledge: Begin each lesson by reviewing key concepts from previous sessions, ensuring students have a solid foundation before introducing new material.
  2. Scaffold activities: Offer support and structure during activities, gradually withdrawing assistance as students show a greater ability to work independently.
  3. Differentiate tasks: Provide a variety of tasks tailored to individual students’ abilities and learning styles, ensuring that all students are engaged and challenged.
  4. Encourage creativity: Foster students’ individuality and creative expression by encouraging them to explore their ideas and interpretations when discussing and creating poetry.
  5. Set clear objectives: Define specific learning goals for each lesson, and regularly check in with students to ensure they understand what is expected of them.

In conclusion, effective assessment and progression strategies are essential for delivering a successful poetry lesson to Year One students.

Utilising a combination of formative and summative assessments will enable you to recognise areas where students may need additional support and help them build their confidence in both understanding and creating poetry.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are key elements to include in Year 1 poetry lesson?

In a Year 1 poetry lesson, key elements to include are an engaging theme, simple vocabulary, a focus on rhyming patterns, and repetitive structures. Teachers should incorporate a variety of mediums, such as visuals and audio, to support the learning process.

Additionally, discussing the emotions and meanings behind the poems can help to enhance students’ understanding and connection to the text.

How can you engage Year 1 students in performing poems?

To engage Year 1 students in performing poems, teachers can use actions, gestures, props, and role play. Encourage students to use their facial expressions and body language to convey the emotions and meaning of the poem.

Offering plenty of practice, support, and positive reinforcement can boost students’ confidence in performing.

Which poems are suitable for teaching poetry to Year 1 students?

Suitable poems for teaching Year 1 students should be short, accessible, and age-appropriate. Some examples of suitable poems are “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” by Jane Taylor, “Hey Diddle Diddle” (a traditional nursery rhyme), and “The Owl and the Pussycat” by Edward Lear.

These poems have simple language, strong imagery, and memorable rhyming patterns that can engage young learners.

How do you plan a poetry lesson focusing on recitation for Year 1 students?

For a poetry lesson focusing on recitation, first choose an age-appropriate poem that has repetitive and rhythmic patterns. Begin by reading the poem aloud while the students listen then have the students practice repeating the lines with actions and gestures.

Please encourage students to experiment with their voices and body movements to make reciting the poem more enjoyable. Offer lots of guided practice, constructive feedback, and opportunities for individual or group recitations.

What techniques can be used to teach poetic features to Year 1 students?

To teach poetic features to Year 1 students, teachers can use visual representations, such as illustrations, to highlight concepts like rhythm, rhyme, and alliteration. Comparing and contrasting different poems can also help students to recognise and understand various poetic features.

Activities like word matching, drawing images inspired by the poem, and composing their own simple rhyming lines can reinforce these concepts in a fun and engaging way.

How can you integrate BBC Bitesize poetry resources in Year 1 poetry lessons?

Teachers can integrate BBC Bitesize poetry resources by incorporating videos, games, and quizzes related to the lesson’s topic into their teaching plan. For instance, watching a video of a poem being performed can serve as both a model and inspiration for students.

Additionally, using interactive games and quizzes from BBC Bitesize can help reinforce the learning objectives in an entertaining way, while offering opportunities for assessment and feedback.

About The Author

I'm Dan Higgins, one of the faces behind The Teaching Couple. With 15 years in the education sector and a decade as a teacher, I've witnessed the highs and lows of school life. Over the years, my passion for supporting fellow teachers and making school more bearable has grown. The Teaching Couple is my platform to share strategies, tips, and insights from my journey. Together, we can shape a better school experience for all.






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