This week I started the war poetry unit with Year 8. The aim of the unit is to introduce the topic of War Poetry in a more interactive and less conventional way. In the first instance I wanted the class to understand the context of why the poets wrote their poems and where the ideas came from.
In the first lesson I had a range of information stations around the classroom for students to visit and investigate, giving them a range of different sources that hopefully gave them an understanding of different perspectives. Some of their responses were excellent for not looking at any of the ideas before and this fed into the second lesson of looking at the poetry.
For the second lesson I turned the classroom into the trenches (by turning the tables over and facing one side of the room against the other). Firstly the students had to work on PEE using evidence from the poem. They then had to ‘grenade’ their poem to the other side of the room by throwing it to the other side (which they enjoyed). I lastly introduced a third poem. Some of the responses to the poems were excellent and I feel the interactive elements of the lesson worked well. As a way of starting the next lesson I got student to write on post-it notes and stick to the board what they had learnt from the previous
Today, in the third lesson, they sat under tables and wrote empathy pieces from the point of view of the poets/soldier in the trenches. I played a soundtrack of bullets and bombs for students to get immersed in idea of the trenches. I have just read through some of their responses and they were excellent. I wrote with the students in the lesson (which I always think is a good idea) but I was very impressed by what was produced.
I hope by the end to have a unit of work that using all of these different ways of approaching this topic.