Poetry resources and ideas for teachers
During his time as Children's Laureate, Michael Rosen celebrated poetry and how teachers can best teach it at school – and make it fun. Here are some resources to get you started.
Want to bring poetry into the classroom but not quite sure where to start? Teachers: you've come to the right place!
Please note that these resources date from Michael Rosen's time as Children's Laureate (2007-09) and some information may be out of date.
'Poetry is the sound of words in your ears, it’s the look of poets in motion and that can be you. Make your poems sing, whisper, shout and float. Let the words make the rhythm and give the viewers a buzz to see you.' Michael Rosen
Michael Rosen poetry activities
Free poetry activities for the classroom written by poet Mandy Coe, based on some of Michael Rosen's most popular poetry collections.
Poetry-friendly classroom activities
A range of great fun poetry activity ideas for the classroom, suitable for use with a range of different poems, devised by poet Mandy Coe.
Shape poem templates
Concrete poetry (or "shape poems") is where you arrange the words on the page to make shapes and patterns to enhance the meaning of the poem.
By writing words on cut-out shapes and moving them around before gluing them down, young writers are able to experiment with word-order in a simple and playful way.
Here are a couple of examples to get you started. Just photocopy and cut out the shapes, then encourage your class to think of words linked to the shapes and create a poem around them. The poems are very short and do not need to rhyme.
Want to fill your classroom with poetry? Download ideas for displaying and publishing your pupils work, and some useful templates.
- BBC Schools site for teachers includes lots of poetry resources and activities
- The Poetry Archive holds the most comprehensive collection of contemporary poets reading their own work in the UK. It includes areas for pupils and teachers as well as activities for the classroom
- The Poetry Society features all things to do with poetry in the UK, including a site for young fans of reading and writing poetry
- The Poetry Library offers comprehensive information for poetry publications and poetry-related activities
- The Scottish Poetry Library features an idea-bank, resources for teachers, information on competitions and programmes of live events
- Poetry 180 was created by Billy Collins when he was the US Poet Laureate. It is based at the Library of Congress and is designed specifically for high schools, containing an excellent list of poems designed to be read every day of the school year
Stimulus for poetry activities in the classroom
When writing, children relish images, music and ideas that stimulate the imagination. Here are a few useful sites for inspiration:
- NASA's site for educators includes teaching ideas and a wealth of images of the planets and outer space
- National Geographic offers stunning pictures of wildlife and the world around us
- The BBC’s online music clips library for schools features a range of sound and music material
- The Tate’s online section for schools has ideas and images of a range of modern art
- The National Gallery’s resources for schools include a variety of images from their collection
Poetry books for children
- Some of Michael Rosen's recommended books for the poetry-friendly classroom
- Try our bookfinder to get some poetry suggestions for all ages
Books about poetry for teachers
- Jumpstart Poetry in the Secondary School ed. Cliff Yates (The Poetry Society). An invaluable resource for writing poetry in the classroom
- The Poetry Book for Primary Schools ed. Anthony Wilson and Siân Hughes (The Poetry Society). Full of ideas on how to enjoy writing poetry in secondary schools
- Poetry Train ed. The Poetry Society. Available online for free here, and teachers can email email@example.com for a free physical copy of the book. It's particularly aimed at helping primary teachers build confidence teaching creative writing of poetry.
- Our Thoughts are Bees: Writers Working with Schools by Mandy Coe and Jean Sprackland (Wordplay Press). A definitive guide to planning an author’s visit and organising exciting writers-in-schools events
- Drafting and Assessing Poetry: A Guide for Teachers by Sue Dymoke (Paul Chapman)
- Did I Hear You Write by Michael Rosen (Five Leaves)
- Catapaults and Kingfishers: Teaching Poetry in Primary Schools by P.Corbett and B.Moses (Oxford University Press)
- Rose Where Did You Get That Red by K Koch (Random House)