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Roger McGough: First day at school

Roger McGough: First day at school

In this poem, Roger McGough explores how unfamiliar and strange everything can be on our first day at school.

First day at school - activities:

Try a memory stimulus exercise (closed eyes, heads on desk, guided remembering as the teacher suggests different aspects of the school experience). Make a collection of what students remember from their first days at school. This can be used as a pre-reading activity or as a stimulus for follow-up creative writing.

Use the poem as a stimulus for word investigation. What are the ‘not words’ in the poem? (Depending on the class, they may need access to dictionaries for this.) What are their origins? Why are they there? It would be useful to do this before listening to McGough talking about the poem and then compare to what he says. Why does the poet choose to use these?

Use the reading of the poem to work out what kind of character the speaker is. Then give groups of students large copies of the poem to annotate for the ways in which the poet creates a specific voice of a character (vocabulary, reading voice, imagery (monsters)).

First day at school - supporting resources:

  1. Teacher's Notes
  2. Supporting illustration
  3. Picture of Roger McGough

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Notes to support the programmes including details of all the series content.