Age: Key Stages 2-3
Time: 50 minute lesson
Let’s write a Paean!
A paean is a poem that praises or celebrates. Here are some tips for helping your class write paeans celebrating the people they admire. They could be about celebrities or someone closer to home – maybe even a teacher!
Give an example
Inspire the class with some examples of the kinds of poems they could write. See if they can guess who our celebrity haikus are about, or have a go at writing your own!
Snozzcumbers taste gross
Frobscottle tastes worse. Bad food
But I love his books
Blonde hair and meat dress,
Every song a new outfit
Call her a Lady
Flying cars and magic spells
Her books made her rich
List what is special about their chosen person
When your pupils choose who to write about, get them started making a list about why that person is important. Challenge your group to come up with seven (or ten!) different ideas, and encourage them to be specific – e.g. instead of saying they like a singer’s songs, say which songs they like and why.
If they’re running out of ideas, remind them this might be a time to write about someone’s appearance or clothes, or perhaps the effect they have – do they make other people laugh, or inspire them to play better football?
Drafting a paean
There are lots of ways to craft the ideas into a poem. Here are a few approaches our club groups tried out:
- Acrostic – use the name of the celebrity as the starting letter for each line. Use first and surnames for a challenge! Or, see if you can include alliteration.
- Mesosostic poem – like an acrostic, but instead of the letters appearing at the start of the line, they can occur anywhere in the line, which can create a crossword effect.
- Haiku – a short poem which takes a lot of writing. Haikus have 5 syllables in the first line, seven in the second line and five in the third.
- Haik-who? If they have lots of ideas for celebrities, children could write different haikus about each one. Then see if the rest of the class can guess who they’re about.
- List Poem – a more subtle challenge. Can the children make their lists more poetic, thinking about rhythm, rhyme and maybe adding a repeated refrain?
Hints and Tips
If your class feel inspired to tell their heroes why they admire them, have a go at our fan mail lesson.
*answers to the haikus: Roald Dahl, Lady Gaga, JK Rowling