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 2022, which is on the 26 of August. On 1 August will publish five words chosen by girls at the Our Little Roses orphanage in Honduras. There will be a prize for the Best Poem by Under-16s courtesy of 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 ‘smile’, and give students 4 minutes to write down short sentences using the word. E.g., ‘Mum had a big smile on her face’, ‘The dolphin smiled at me’. Ask students to read out a sentence. Did they use the word as a noun or a verb?

Now write another word on the board, for example ‘home’, and make an Ideas Cloud around the word. What words go with home? (house, website, family, 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 point out how the word ‘help’ can be used as both a verb and a noun. We will accept poems with: help, helps, helped, or helping, but not helpful (although this can of course be used in the rest of the poem as long as help is also included).

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 the sound and rhythm of the words?

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


Make your own Given Words videos!

1) Choose your word! It can be in any language.

2) Why did you choose the word? What does it mean to you? Is it special in any way? Either write down or tell the group about the word you have chosen.

3) Think of a creative way to present your word. For example:
• Make a picture (painting/collage/drawing) with the word.
• Find your word in the environment (street signs, etc).
• Write each word using people to form the letters with just their hands or their whole bodies.
• Write a word with food.
• Write a word on a dusty window or in condensation on a window.
• Cut out each letter in cardboard and find an interesting way to display the word.

See how creative you can be with the presentation of your word!

4) Either:
• Make a video to present your word. (You can do this with a moblie phone.)
• Or take a photo of your word-artwork.

Teachers can create a presentation of the videos, or an exhibition/slide-show of the photos or artworks, and invite each student to present their work to the class.

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