English KS1 / KS2: How poetry and music are connected

Poet Joseph Coelho shows us that exploring poetry within music and likewise the musicality of poetry encourages children to see poetry in a familiar, wider context.

He explains facets of music like tempo, metre, repetition, and refrain are all elements children will know from the music they already listen to.

Poetry, like music, can be very rhythmical, so Joe introduces us to these aspects of syllabic meter, such as iambic pentameter.

He focuses on rhythm in spoken word poetry and how poems can really be very similar to songs.

Teacher notes

Ideas for the classroom

Key Stage 1 (age 5-7):

Before watching:

FInd a recording of Joseph Coelho performing A little bit of food.

How did it feel to hear the poet perform? Do the children think this is a poem? Why or why not?

Does seeing the words on the page change their mind? Use discussion around the text to focus children’s attention on the elements that make this a lyrical poem; the repeating refrain, the rhythm.

After watching:

Explore the qualities that A Little Bit of Food shared with the poem Joe performed in the shop, and investigate more closely how he changed the poem on the page for performance. What did he do differently? Why did he do this?

Key Stage 2 (age 7-11):

Before watching:

Listen to Valerie Bloom perform Pinda Cake

How did it feel to hear the poet perform? Do the children think this is a poem? Why or why not?

Does seeing the words on the page change their mind? Use discussion around the text to focus children’s attention on the elements that make this a lyrical poem; the repeating refrain, the rhythm. Listen to Valerie perform the poem again and this time see if the children can either tap their finger on the table or their foot on the floor to find the pulse, the steady beat that runs under the lyrics – a bit like a heartbeat.

After watching:

Explore the qualities that Pinda Cake shared with the poem Joe performed in the shop, the repeated refrain.

Now move onto exploring the patterns of stress in language that Joe explores in this episode, iambic meter. An iamb is two syllables, where the first syllable is unstressed and the second syllable is stressed. This creates the tee-TUM, tee-TUM, tee-TUM rhythm. Each tee-TUM is one iamb.

Curriculum Notes

This clip will be relevant for teaching Primary English.

How to perform poetry
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How to express yourself with poetry
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How to have fun writing poetry
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How to write poetry about your life
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Playing with words
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How to interpret poetry
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Do poems need to rhyme?
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Poetry formats
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Making pictures with words
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