Updated: Feb 8, 2021
This blog is designed to offer creative ideas that you can take back and try at home or in the classroom. It was born out of the time I spent educating my own boys over lockdown and aims to make the teaching and learning of English as engaging as possible!
So much of what we come up with is cliché. Fundamentally, if we have heard something time and time again, it has become a cliché – it lacks original thought. Today's blog is focussed on helping children to break cliché through playful, inventive poetry. Fortunately, it snowed...so we had the perfect stimulus!
Simile Warm Up
This quick game is great to warm up the imagination and stimulate creativity. We have all heard similes such as green as grass, or as white as snow. Whenever I hear these I feel a surge of disappointment wash over me - the imagination is being lazy and relying on pre-conceived ideas.
Try taking each colour and banking new and innovative ideas. For example, instead of as white as snow, you could have:
as white as a beluga whale
as white as a cracked coconut
as white as a dandelion seed
You can then extend the simile by adding in what they are doing. For example:
as white as a beluga whale, basking in the morning sun
as white as a cracked coconut, glistening with temptation
as white as a dandelion seed, drifting on a soft breeze
Once you have extended the ideas, you can then turn each colour into a metaphor poem. All you do here is say that the colour is... For example:
White is a beluga whale, basking in the morning sun.
White is a cracked coconut, glistening with temptation.
White is a dandelion seed, drifting on a soft breeze.
This pattern can then be applied to a whole array of colours. Here is our initial brainstorm:
And here is our shared poem generation:
Green is the Gruffalo's warty nose, sniffing the ferny forest floor.
Green is a marine iguana, basking in the sunshine.
Pink is ten tingling toes, wriggling and jiggling.
Pink is a candy floss cloud; a sticky swirl of wonder.
Black is a tarantula's leg, poised to spin.
Black is a closed cupboard – a hidden treasure chest.
Red is a Christmas hat, jingling in merriment.
Red is a crab's cracking claws.
The Great Snow Invasion
Gazing out of my window this morning, I was simply in awe at how beautiful the world looks once snow blankets the land. No matter what lies underneath, it all looks clean and untouched. This got me thinking - snow is the great invader - it comes and conquers all. It overthrows previous regimes. It rules with supremacy.
This fuelled a new blog idea:
The Great Snow Invasion.
Gazing at the land below, the Snow Queen plans the great invasion.
Troops prepare to fall, accepting the ultimate sacrifice.
Lands below scream back in discord and anger;
a world in turmoil, lacking direction; lacking leadership.
As the clouds open their gates, the cavalry charges,
soaking the land, cooling the fiery tempers.
Infantry follows, weighing down the resistance.
Boughs bow in surrender. Divides disappear.
The resistance is short-lived.
The world holds up its hands as the white flag is flown.
Silence and serenity prevails.
The Snow Queen reigns.
© Jamie Thomas 2020
I would love to have the opportunity to try this out with a class, to see how imaginative The Great Snow Invasion could become. Should any of you like to try this with your own class, please do send me in any written outcomes as it would be great to add them to the blog. Should we have a snow day, I will definitely be trying this with my own boys. Enjoy the Snow Queen's reign...while it lasts.
Off the back of this post, I received two incredible poems that I just had to share. As a teacher, blogger and English enthusiast, it fills me with joy to see children taking inspiration from ideas and crafting their own masterpieces. Enjoy the brilliance!
My thanks to Naomi, Nathaniel and mum Veronica for sharing their superb work.
I sincerely hope that you have enjoyed reading this blog. If you have a great idea you would like to share, or would like inspiration for a short-burst writing idea that could become a new blog, please do not hesitate to get in touch. As my 4 year old constantly reminds me - sharing is caring.
My thanks to Pie Corbett, Julia Strong and the Talk for Writing team for inspiring many of the ideas explored in this blog.
This blog is copyright. All materials herein, texts and supporting resources are copyright to Jamie Thomas & Talk for Writing. They may be used to support children/staff/parents in home-learning ONLY and not for commercial gain or for training or sharing widely, in their original form or any variations. They must also not be shared online or on any social media platforms without prior permission.