Using the illustrations to inspire poetry writing.
Lesson length: 1 session
Lesson from The White Fox series
Required reading: Whole book
- Writing opportunities: Poetry
- Language features: Syntax: noun phrases
The detailed illustrations and evocative language used by Jackie Morris combine to create a vivid picture of the fox, which can inspire poetry writing. Using tools such as noun phrases will support the children to build clear descriptions of the fox.
- Copies of The White Fox, at least one per pair
- Paper to write on
Begin with a game to warm up and introduce/revise noun phrases. You will begin with a rhythm, clap, clap, thing. Use an image or object to start, e.g., shiny red apple, brown curly hair. Go around the class with each child taking a turn to create a noun phrase.
Next, share the front cover image of The White Fox and invite new suggestions for two adjectives to accompany the claps, e.g., snowy white fox. Go around the class, keeping up the rhythm of ‘clap, clap, thing’. Challenge the class to use specific parts of the fox such as eyes, ears, nose, etc.
Turn to the illustration on page 8, which gives a view of the whole body of the fox to create more noun phrases.
Explain that you are going to write a poem inspired by the white fox. The first verse will describe the fox using noun phrases, e.g.:
Soft white fur
Wise, bright eyes
The second verse will describe the fox’s behaviour and journey, e.g.
Running then still
Captured, caged, afraid
Teacher’s note: Some children may prefer to create a poem using their own format. It is important not to structure too tightly and constrain children’s creativity. The suggestions here are just a guide for those who benefit from the support of having a clear structure.
Allow time for drafting and redrafting of poems and opportunities to share ideas and give feedback. Copies of the book should be available for the children to browse and find examples of language they could use in their poem.
Perform poems either to the class or within smaller groups.
You might want to share a poem written by Liz Brownlee for the National Poetry Day anthology Poetry For a Change.
Snow Fox by Liz Brownlee
A poem about an Arctic Fox written by Liz Brownlee for National Poetry Day.