Real Life Found Poetry

I have written several times about Found Poetry. It is a talk for writing activity that allows children to magpie words and phrases from great writers and roll the language over their tongues so that its’ patterns become internalised. It also allows children to combine words in different ways.  This is a high value activity.

Whilst I often talk about this in relation to fiction, people sometimes find it harder to believe when I tell them that it also works with non-fiction.  So here are 3 found poems created by one school’s staff using the wikipedia page about plastic carrier bags.

Mr McBride’s Dixie bag

Mr McBride’s Dixie Bag

Pioneer in plastic processing, patent applications

Consuming oil resources with a blend of plant-derived thermoplastics

A packaging war errupted.

The Bagman!

Here’s one being read.

The Bagman

Pioneer in plastic polyethylene processing

His idea produced

Thermoplastic, petrochemical commericalisation,

Composite construction with handles!

Common for carrying as we know it today.


A hazard to animal life

Excess usage, excess usage, excess usage

Bin bags, trash bags, Dixie bags

Trash collection

Signifiant attention


The skills involved in creating this poetry were numerous: reading and rereading, scanning, identifying words and phrases that you liked the sound of, listening to hear if combinations sound right, applying poetic devices, organising and sequencing, rolling the language over your tongue, collaborating, sharing ideas.  The list is long.

Have you tried found poetry?

Poetry Resources on the Web

Just a little something to start you off!

With thanks to Daniel Nestor for sharing.  What do teachers make? by Taylor Mali

The Children’s Poetry Archive – jam packed full of poems and poets but don’t neglect The Poetry Archive itself.  I love Langston Hughes’ poetry and have used it with Yr 6 pupils.  I particularly like the tours that they offer by poets and writers around the poems.  Each writer has identified some from the site and listed them with reasons for their choices.  What a fantastic model that would be.  To create a class set of poems digitally and then children produce their own tour of their favourite.  You could use JogThe Web to set up a tour of the poems.

The Poetry Zone – I particularly like the film of Roger Steven’s poem Words on the Home page.  This would be a great model to use with children.  The Teacher Zone is also full of great ideas and resources.

Michael Rosen – if you scroll right down the very long page you will come to a Poem called Words are Ours written by Michael for The National Year of Reading.  That’s two poems about words.  Maybe Words could be a theme for a unit of work on poetry.  But I think one of the best things on his site is him reading/reciting his poems from Hypnotiser which is now out of print.  Perfect for enjoyment and studying how to recite a poem.

Poetry Class – a site that is brimming with poems and ideas for teaching.  It hasn’t been updated to take into account the Renewed Framework but the ideas are still great.  The Poetry lesson section is a rich resource of ideas.

How to make a Poetry Friendly Classroom – Michael Rosen again as Children’s Laureate.  Watch the videos to help make a poetry friendly classroom.  These would also be good for supporting professional development meetings.  Which of these do you do in your classroom?

National Poetry Day October 8th 2009 – a website to bookmark so that you are ready for the event this year.  There are always lots of suggestions and ideas in the run-up to the day.

Poetry Resource Review on Teachers TV

And if you like reading poetry, how about a poem a day?

Other resources which linked to poetry:

Pie Corbett’s JumpStart! Poetry Writing book and a generic teaching sequence for a poetry unit of work

What are your favourite resources?

Happy New Year

And to celebrate the new year her is another fantastic resource from Pie Corbett: Jumpstart! Poetry  Games and Activities for ages 7 – 12.


If you click on the open book icon in the image of the book you can see for yourself what is in this book.  I particularly like the section that Pie calls strengthening the imagination.  Teachers frequently come across children who have a limited imagination and this sections helps to try and understand why this might be and what we can do to support children in this area. 

Every KS2 teacher should have a copy of this book!