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Poetry - Creative writing for confidence building and listening for ideas

Joshua Ferdinand

Staff member
Sep 27, 2010
In this lesson students will work in groups on a creative writing task. They will listen to a song and write down words and phrases they hear. They will then work in groups to write a poem, following some simple guidelines and using their collective words and phrases as a starting point. The students will write a poem that is 'cheesy or goofy' on purpose. This technique removes common reservations that some learners have about writing poetry. Students will read their poems at the end of the lesson.

Objective(s)To have gained some confidence in creative writing.
Students will have listened for ideas | Students will have produced a piece of creative writing.

Key vocabularyCheesy (informal)* - (Bad style) Of bad quality or overly sentimental
Goofy - foolish or harmlessly eccentric
*Not to be confused with cheesy - tasting of or like cheese.

Warm Up / Lead In / Introduction (5 minutes)
Explain that you are going to play a song, learners should to listen carefully to identify single words or phrases. This song is about the history of England and is a sentimental poetic spoken word song. They should write down any words & phrases that stand out to them.
You can choose an alternative song in English; It is a good idea to choose a song that is slightly above the level of your learners' listening skills.
Tell learners that they have to listen to the song and write down words and phrases that they hear.​

Scaffolded Task (10 minutes)
In pairs or groups the students are now going to try to remember the correct words from the poem.

Students will fill in the blanks from the worksheet:


This has selected words in the word bank that may be useful for them to write their poem.

Semi-Independent Activity (10 minutes)
1591868772846.pngWrite the words 'cheesy' and 'goofy' on the board and ask students if they know what the words mean. If no one knows, ask for a volunteer to look the words up in a dictionary and to tell the rest of the class. Ask if there is an equivalent word in their own language(s).Ask what kind of things can be cheesy or goofy. It is important that students fully understand the terms and that cheesy is informal in this context.

In groups the students should discuss 5 cheesy or goofy things, you can prompt them to discuss movies, music or theatre.
Think about movie characters and individual personalities.
This is a nice activity as they can discuss things in their own county that might be cheesy or goofy.

Explain to learners that they are going to work in groups to write a poem or song. They are going to use the words and phrases they wrote from the song.
Reassure students by telling them that the only* rule for the poem is that it has to be cheesy or goofy.
*The poem doesn't need a specific rhyming pattern, number of lines, or syllables, learners can use as many or as few of their collected words as they like, etc

Free practice (20-25 minutes)
Put learners into small groups to write their poems. Monitor students as they speak and encourage them to share their ideas. Students should write their rough draft and then check it, edit it and produce a final draft. It is useful to tell students how much time they have for this stage. 20 minutes should be enough.

Extension Task (5 minutes)
Make a classroom display by illustrating the poem.

Assessment/Feedback (10 minutes)
Invite a volunteer from each group to read their poem for the rest of the class. Praise their efforts and especially the 'goofiness & cheesiness' of the poems. Try not to assess the sentences too rigidly here as they may have made some mistakes for the purpose of the poem but it is a great opportunity to test the knowledge of the class by asking how a sentence would look in full. e.g. The lumber cut down {should be} The lumber is cut down... Use their poems and build better sentences.

Worksheet/Handout Previews

Goofy - Created by Walt Disney Productions. Image from Wikipedia.


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