BBC Home
Explore the BBC


Teachers: Literacy: Text

Last Updated: Monday March 27 2006 14:01 GMT



British poet Benjamin Zephaniah
Poet Benjamin Zephaniah

Reflecting on a news report through poetry can help us understand why it was powerful or upsetting, funny or heart-warming.

Students write a poem based on this week's news events.

Learning aims

  • Learn about different forms of poetry.
  • Write a poem based on news events.

Read through Gold Medal Winner Tony's work on the Aberfan tragedy for The Queen's Golden Jubilee Poetry Competition.

Ask the class what they think the poet is describing.

The Aberfan tragedy:

  • Aberfan, in south Wales, was devastated in 1966.

  • A collapsing coal waste tip swept over a school and houses.

  • 116 children and 28 adults died.
Main activity

Students write a poem based on an event that has been in the news this week.

Students may like to choose one of the following forms for their poem:

    notepad and pencil

  • Limerick - for lighter stories. Lines 1, 2 and 5 rhyme, lines 3 and 4 rhyme.

  • Free Verse - lacks rhyme and has less predictable rhythm.

  • Haiku - three lines with this pattern. The first line has 5 syllables, the second 7 syllables and the third line 5 syllables.

  • Couplet - pairs of lines of poetry that are usually rhymed.

  • Acrostic - the first letters of each line spell out an appropriate word as you read down.
For more information, click on the link in the blue box for our guide to poetry.

Extension activity

Students produce a final, neat draft of their poems and illustrate them.


Students read out their poems to the class.

Teachers' background

Newsround poetry competition

Newsround ran a poetry competition for National Poetry Day 2006, judged by top kid's writer Wes Magee, the author of more than 80 books for kids.

The winning poem was sent in by monkeys_can_do_the_tango, who wins a signed copy of Wes Magee's poetry collection.

You can colour me in
with a black felt pen
You can colour me in
with a white stick of chalk
but I'll still be me.

You can call me names
and stamp on my pride
but it won't change me.

You can shout me down
reduce me to tears
but my skin'll stay the same.

You can paint me different colours
and call me blue or green
but I'll still be me
with my skin, staying the same.

Curriculum relevance

English / KS 2&3 / En2 Reading

1d. Use and adapt the features of a form of writing, drawing on students' reading
2. Plan and draft
9a. Imagine and explore feelings and ideas, focusing on creative uses of language and how to interest the reader
12. The range of forms of writing should include poems

The numbers refer to the KS2 National Curriculum Programme of Study for English.

For hundreds more news-based stories, click on Teachers on the left-hand side.

BBC Homepage >> | CBBC Homepage >>

Meet the Team | Help | Contact Us | News sources | Privacy & Cookies Policy