English Literature KS3: Poetry workshop about happiness

Caroline Bird published her first book of verse aged just fifteen.

In this energetic and entertaining workshop she challenges a group of thirty teenagers to create images and write lines inspired by the idea of 'happiness'.

Caroline assembles these lines into 'one massive poem' which she then performs – the sort of poetry which, as she points out, 'you can only write when you’re young.'

This clip is from the series How to Write.

Teacher Notes

Can be used to help students to explore an often neglected theme in literature.

Students are to be given a selection of texts, poetry anthologies, books, or taken to a library.

They need to search for three moments of genuine happiness in any of the literature they come across.

This will perhaps be harder than they think. What do students observe about happiness as a theme?

Is the happiness caught in literature always true and pure happiness, or is there always another side to things?

What conclusions can students draw about this rather philosophical word?

Students could experiment with using a happy tone to read out poems or pieces of literature they have already studied and see if the reading sheds any new light on the text.

Curriculum Notes

This clip is relevant for teaching English Literature at KS3 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and 3rd and 4th Level in Scotland.