Monday 9 February 2015

Using F.E.A.R. As A Stimulus For Poetry

The song F.E.A.R. by Ian Brown has long been a favourite of mine. I thought that the structure of the song would mean that it would be good to use as a stimulus for developing poetry writing in the primary classroom. For those of you that don't know the song, thee verses and chorus all spell out the word FEAR e.g. Fantastic Expectations Amazing Revelations. The idea is that the children could replicate this in their poetry by generating their own words to fit FEAR. Also, it is a pretty cool song!

The lesson went something like this, with Year 4.

First of all, we listened to the song and I asked the children if they noticed anything about the lyrics. We quickly established what I mentioned earlier. Then we listened to the song a second time with the children jotting down on whiteboards any of the verses (or chorus) that they could pick out. Some of these were then written on the board as a scaffold. Next, the children generated their own four line verses to match F.E.A.R. This led to some silly attempts e.g. Fat Elephants Are Red. This in turn led to a worthwhile discussion about the mood of the poem and how we would try to choose words that would match the mood of the poem/song.

Once this had been established, the children came up with some fantastic choices e.g. Find Enemies and Ruin. The children put their ideas together to make a poem of several verses interspersed with the chorus from the song (For Everything A Reason). This could be extended by giving the children other words e.g. love, hate, excite etc. Some children performed their poems and filmed them, creating a movie in iMovie.

All in all, the vocabulary generate by the children was better than they had produced before and I think the structure and mood of the song helped with this. They also developed a better understanding of creating a mood in their writing.

A word of warning. If you are going to use the official video to the song, stop it after about 2 minutes as there is a dodgy bit after that. There are also videos made of the song where the lyrics are displayed on the screen. You may or may not find this helpful.

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