For teachers

Here is a suggested class plan for teachers to use in class.
You can also download this Class Plan in PDF format here.

This is a poetry project for New Zealand’s Phantom National Poetry Day 2021, which is on the 27 of August. On 1 August will publish five words selected from the collaborative te reo Māori poetry film Noho Mai. There will be a prize for the Best Poem by Under-16s courtesy of Mākaro Press and The Cuba Press.

• Encourage investigation and creativity in relation to words and meaning.
• To make a poem inspired by five words.

Write any word on the board, for example ‘play’, and give students 4 minutes to write down short sentences using the word. E.g., ‘We put on a Christmas play’, ‘I play in the football team’. Ask students to read out a sentence. Does everyone use the same definition of the word?

Now write another word on the board, for example ‘wave’, and make an Ideas Cloud around the word. What words go with wave? (beach, hello, movement, etc…)

Next, divide the class in groups and give each group one of the five words from the competition. On a large sheet of paper they have to make an Ideas Cloud for the word in their group. They can include drawings, writing, or collage from magazines etc. Each group presents their word to the rest of the class.

NOTE: Take this opportunity to look at the differences between the noun ‘breath’ and the verb ‘breathe’, and the two verbs ‘rise’ and ‘raise’. We will only accept poems with the words ‘breath’ and ‘raise’ (including the forms: raises, raised, raising).

Choose two of the five words for the competition and ask how they can be connected together? Give students 2 minutes to write a sentence that includes both words. Ask them to read out their sentences. Do they fit together?

Students now work individually using the five words to write their poem. The theme of the poem is open and will depend on what the five words suggest for each person. If they need help they can use the Ideas Clouds and start by writing sentence ideas for single words or word pairs as in the previous exercises.

Ask the students what is more important: The ideas they want to express? Or trying to make the poem rhyme?

Students share their poems with the class and comment on each other’s work.

Discuss the following: What words would they choose to create a poem? Are there words more suitable for a poem? Is it easier to write with related words or with words that have no obvious connection? Which are more inspiring – five verbs, adjectives, nouns or a mixture of the three?

Read this poem by Mia Gill (6 years old), which was based on the five words: sea, happiness, children, ball and seagull. How did she use each of the words? What is the idea that connects the five words?

The Calm Sea

When the sea reaches the shore
Happiness rises and makes clouds
Children receive love from heaven
And the earth, a ball
That flies like a seagull

Mia Gill, aged 6
Maryland, USA

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