Building block poetry

Thanks to a tweet I saw today  I found this wonderful activity that I could simply adapt to develop "building block poetry" in KS2 primary languages, in any language too!.An activity that involves reading skills, cognitive processes and creativity. It was a tweet from @cjfriess about book spine poetry- hence the picture below

Primary Languages Building Block Poetry

  • Select the theme for the class creative poetry building session.My theme is animals as I want to link this to Earth Day on 22 April 
  • Select a book spine as the title of your poem for all the class .So I have decided to use "Au carnaval des animaux" as I want the children to reflect upon looking after animals etc. I did think I could also use the book title "dix graines" and look at plants and countryside and growing fruit and vegetables.
  • Now access publishers or book sellers catalogues and select pictures and titles of books that fit with your theme. I suggest you make each book title into small cards so that the children can focus on each individual title and also so that they can physically move around the titles until they have the order of their poem that they feel is the best fit.
  •  Quite simply by accessing for example the Little Linguist Online publications catalogue I was able to very quickly find book titles that fitted my theme of animals in French.I could just as easily have found books about plants and groing things linked to Dix graines or books about colours and rainbows etc.
  • I would suggest making small printed cards of the book titles and the the front covers for the children to a sheet containing these. You coud ask children to go on,ine and access the publication and find additional book titles too.Or maybe there are books in the reading corner or books you have already looked at that would fit the theme too.
  • Book titles I found that on the Little Linguist webiste that I felt would be useful in French  are listed below:

La chenille qui fait des trous

Aaargh un souris

Aaargh une araignee

Au loup 

Bebes chouettes

La grenouille qui avait une grande bouche

L'enorme crocodile

Il fait comment le cameleon?

La petite poule rousse

  • Time to sort the titles!  First ask the children to identify the animal nouns and to check meaning in bilingual dictionaries or by prior knowledge and memory recall or identifying cognates and semi- cogantes.Maybe they already know what the book title means?
  • As a class take feedback and explore the meaning of the book title, looking at important adjectives and nouns.
  • Now allow the children thinking time.Ask them to sort and resort the book titles in to building block book spine poetry built around a common focus. So for example with this theme of animals and a celebfration of animals as the poem's title suggests the children could build poems that go from smallest to biggest animal , or animals on two legs and animals on four legs as two verses , or two verses of scary animals and non-scary animals etcetra etcetra.
  • The children can build their blocks, glue this in to their books and add pictures for each animal.
  • They could also record their poems or perform their poems for the class. 
  • And so finally I thought - could I build a physical buildoing block poem based on au carnaval des animaux.A physical poem that children cpuld touch ,feel,look inside the books and then create their own order or even add a book of their own? Here is my physical building block poem with books from my shelf ......