What's a silent poem?

By Dan Burgess

The Basic Idea

Give kids a chance to sit quietly on their own outside for 5 minutes and ask them to notice sounds, sights, smells and sensations. Stimulate them by reading 2 or 3 poems. Ask them to write a freefall poem for 5 minutes, no talking, no thinking, just let the pencil flow!

A simple activity which stimulates creative writing. Take a class outside, if you can to where there is some natural space, trees, grass etc. if you have more time, encourage everyone to take a 5 minute sit spot. Sit in silence and just start to notice things around you, sounds, smells, feelings. Encourage everyone to be quiet, in silence. Bring everyone back and read them 2 or 3 poems. They don't have to be nature inspired , but its worth experimenting with some that are. Then ask everyone to take pencil and paper and write a poem. Tell them not to think about what they are writing, but just let the thoughts and words flow. After 5 minutes get them to stop. Bring everyone back round and invite them to share their poems if they would like to. Give everyone who shares a big round of applause. You will be amazed by what they can write.

Below is a short film on Sit Spots. Don't worry if you don't have access to wilderness - all you need is some natural space with grass and trees. Though if you can get to a wood, it will be more impactful. And kids from 7 years respond really well to this.

How to take it even further or make it more challenging

Ask them to do a sit spot for 10 minutes. Put them into groups of 4 or 5. Get them each to write 3 or 4 individual lines on paper, reflections, things they felt or saw when they were in the sit spot. Ask them to tear each line off the paper - so they have 3 or 4 scraps of paper (still without sharing) Then as a group give them 10 minutes to put all their lines together and create a new poem. Allow them to read it back to the class in anyway they want. Be amazed at what happens!

Comments

My year 3 class did a short version of this in our outdoor classroom based on sight, sound and touch. The children came up with short sensory poems made of an adjective and a noun, and some extended this to include similes and rhyme! A fantastic ten minute session!

Ian Irwin
12:09 17 Jun 2015

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