Case studies

Back to list of all case studies

Polish poetry workshop with Year 5: Maja Konkolewska

Title: How do we bring a poem to life? The importance of rhyme and rhythm in poems
To develop understanding of the importance of rhythm and rhyme in poetry by producing a translation/ adaptation of the Polish poem ‘Lokomotywa’
Age group:
Year 5 (age 9–10)
Participants: 32
1 hour 20 minutes

What we did

To begin with I read the poem in Polish. The children tried to guess what the poem was about and I was amazed to hear that someone heard the word lokomotywa and thought it meant ‘locomotive’. We talked about the poem and about the sounds that trains make. In their working groups children tried to make train noises and write them down. Each group shared their ideas with the rest of the class. We discussed the importance of dictionaries, glossaries and thesauri and then each group started decoding their fragment of the original text using glossaries. Children worried that their translations didn’t feel like a poem and sometimes didn’t make much sense. Together we started playing the ‘I hear with my little ear something that rhymes with’: each group was given cards with words from their glossary. Taking turns, children read a word from the card and tried to find as many rhymes as possible and write them all down. With their onomatopoeia, rough translations and lists of rhyming words ready, the children were told to go freestyle! Although initially they thought it would be too difficult, we ended up with an amazing adaptation of the poem.

What we got out of it

This particular workshop addressed several aspects of the National Curriculum. We discussed rhythm and rhyme in poems, learned about onomatopoeia, worked with glossaries and practised cooperation and group work. Children were put in a situation where they had to use their creative thinking and writing skills. They had to work on listening to other members of their group, consider each other’s opinions and value everyone’s input. The workshop was met with enthusiasm and received positive feedback from the teacher and TA as well as from the children (show of thumbs). After the workshop I typed up the poem created by the children and emailed it to their teacher. I was told that they read it together as a class and loved it!