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Thursday, 13 November 2014

WAITING - Poetry Writing Idea for All Ages

Waiting for things constitutes an annoyingly large part of many of our lives, and is therefore ripe material for poetry. In the light of Michael Rosen's poem 'The Hardest Thing To Do In The World' (reproduced below), ask pupils to write down a list of times they have had to wait for something, and to say something about how it made them feel. This is Malaika's list (Malaika is one my Year 7 students):
  • Waiting for the bus (bored)
  • Waiting for my SATs results (excited)
  • Waiting for my grandma to arrive in England (bursting my head off)
Having written their lists, pupils need to pick one item from it, and develop it into a poem. They should think about their five senses, and ways to use figurative language ("bursting my head off", for example!). Here are a couple of poems, written by students at the girls' secondary school where I run a Spoken Word club, which can serve as useful models:

Waiting for my Grandma (by Malaika)

It feels like it’s been 3 years.
My grandma coming for the first time.
I couldn’t sleep properly through the night.
Rushing every morning, but no one there.
Maybe the flight was cancelled.
Maybe the visit was cancelled.
Wondering every day where she was.
My heart was crashed by a hammer.
Every second I was worried.
But one day, my dad came home.
He brought someone with him.
Finally, my grandma was here.
If I waited any longer I would have gave up.
It was only the luck who brought her.
It was like hell living without her.
For the first time, she came! She came!

School (by Misma)

Why can’t I just walk through time?
End the day before it actually ends.
If only I was the time keeper,
I would’ve forwarded the day,
Make it come to home time.
But the thing is that I’m not.
I’m just an ordinary school student
Bored out of my mind,
Waiting for school hours to be over.
School is a prison, trapping kids,
Forcing them to read and write.
School is an outrageous place.
School is a dungeon.
Waiting for school to be over
Is the worst thing you’ll experience
In your life.
(Very good luck to any of those
Who go to school!)

The Hardest Thing to Do In The World (by Michael Rosen)

The hardest thing to do in the world
is stand in the hot sun
at the end of a long queue for ice creams
watching all the people who’ve just bought theirs
coming away from the queue
giving their ice creams their very first lick.
(Incidentally, Misma's poem should sevre as a reminder of the importance of working with poetry in a sometimes oppressive school atmosphere.)