Those who can … do Guerrilla Poetry!

“If you do what you enjoy doing, then you never have to work a day in your life” was so appropriate today as my class excelled in my expectations and ambitions for their efforts.

WP_20131115_14_21_19_ProWe had a ball and it made poetry on the page come alive for the children. I guess I am being a bit cruel and short-sighted but when I apologised to the class today for ruining their experience of poetry for the next 5 years – I meant it! Words on the page came alive to their imagination and interpretation. I just hope that when they are taken through their Post-Primary journey that it is given the same life that they injected into it today.

Educationalist first – Technologist second

We were fortunate enough to have a visit yesterday from a delegation from the UAE BZH6GYrCcAEZ9p5that was looking at implementation of technology in education in the UK. This flying visit gave them an overview of what went on in the classroom – but one thing that the delegation felt was that our approach to integrating technology in our education approach was that the learning led the way and the technology supported the ambitions. This was pleasing to hear as we want the children to be comfortable in using technology in their learning instead of seeking to rely on it.

I feel that this was very vivid today in what we did and achieved in a short period of time!

Feed the Guerrillas!

Without going into a lot of detail, we were short of time today so the children had, in total, about two hours to do the Guerrilla Poetry exercise.

I chose poems from a variety of books and matched them to the pairs of children that were ready to go. To build the excitement, the children didn’t know what poems they were getting nor were they allowed to look at them before I gave permission. There was a mixture of classic and modern, humorous and sad, Shakespeare, Milligan and Zephaniah. A spectrum of work!

BZHMQsJIgAA7ALrThe challenge was to read the poem (most of which wouldn’t have been read or heard before), interpret its meaning, choose a suitable piece of music for it from the Audio Network App in MySchool and record themselves saying it with the music as accompaniment using Audacity. This was then exported to mp3 format, saved to Dropbox where I was able to create a link that could be linked to a QR code. The children then had to design a very quick poster to advertise their poem for their parents to download onto their Smartphones when they picked them up!

Skilled up

The activity above includes a multitude of skills beyond simple classroom practice but the heart of the activity was for the children to read and interpret poetry in their way. The technology was a vehicle to drive the interest – not the means to an end and I hope that the children appreciate this side of the lesson.

They took to it with such enthusiasm and eagerness! Roles in the poem were shared, music was researched and downloaded (give or take a crash or too in the C2k system :/)

BZH6banCAAA1qG2Audacity was launched and parts recorded, downloaded, mixed, edited and exported. Every bit of space was utilised to do the recording (I doubt that DE will build me a recording studio!) but it does highlight the ridiculous nature of the building of our school that has A THIRD LESS accommodation of a similarly attended school. It is the children who suffer and this woeful inequality will (hopefully) be addressed soon.

With half an hour until the end of the day – we flew into full swing using PowerPoint as the design tool for the  posters containing the QR codes.

It was hectic and crazy (with the value of clued in Classroom Assistants coming to the fore) but with 5 minutes until the gates opened a squad of children went flying out to stick up their posters for their parents to see.

BZH40mECEAAeJJMThere was general delight amongst the children as they dragged their parents over to the posters and codes, getting them to take their phones out and then showing their parents what to do! Total control of learning and sharing.

As we debriefed before they went home, we thought about the role I played today in helping and it turned out to be simple BZH20ziCEAIWCJ5– copying the files to my Dropbox and creating the QR code on the website for them as they designed their posters! A brilliant sense of independence!

I have a feeling that this is something that may stay with them for a while!

Some examples, I hope you like them:

Tyger, Tyger Burning Bright

Ning, Nang, Nong


Cloths of Heaven

I went to the cinema tomorrow

What If


I went to the Cinema Tomorrow

Dis Poetry



5 thoughts on “Those who can … do Guerrilla Poetry!

  1. Amazing stuff Barry & sadly not that common in a primary class let alone post-primary. But my biggest question is, how do you access Dropbox in school?

  2. I sincerely wish you were the minister for education in our country. Or that there were hundreds of you to go to all the other schools. Your children are lucky to have you.

  3. Barry – this is absolutely brilliant! I work in the Middle East and will pass this on to teachers in my school who work with this age group. Any ideas for Year 1/P2 would be really welcome!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s