We've compiled some teachers' resources for the Anthologise competition, which are available here.
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Anthologise: A Resource Page for Teachers
Links to the Curriculum
How Producing a Poetry Anthology Fits in with the KS3, KS4 & KS5 English Curriculum
The overriding criterion underpinning the Laureate Anthology Project is Carol Ann Duffy’s identification of the need for young people to engage with poetry in terms of both breadth and depth.
A detailed specification of what schools needs to do is outlined in the document produced by the working party charged with drawing this up. Its principal motivation is to avoid superficial confections of poems that could be downloaded in minutes, pasted into a document and entered with out real thought. Process is the crucial thing leading to well considered and coherently selected poems within the ambit of the chosen anthology title, the rationale for which ought to be carefully arrived at after thoroughly discussed ideas.
Key Stage 3 & Key Stage 4
The Personalised Learning and Thinking Skills (PLTS) Framework produced by QCDA outlines six groups of skills organised under descriptive headings of what effective learners should be:
- independent enquirers
- creative thinkers
- reflective learners
- team workers
- effective participants.
A copy of the outline summary of these skills is included in this document and it is not difficult to see that the production of an anthology promotes many of the skills under all the headings above. For example, students will be able to develop independent critical reading skills by reading poets from different ages, cultures and traditions
A significant component of the PLTS framework is the exhortation to identify and exploit cross-curricular links
Since this framework straddles Key Stages 3 & 4, it is clear that opportunity exists to use the production of a poetry anthology as a means of addressing the skills described therein.
The Examining Boards have used a poetry anthology at GCSE as a vehicle for assessment over a number for a number of years, and the new specifications are no exception. The Welsh Board erroneously calls its new poetry anthology a “collection”. AQA, OCR and EDEXCEL also have anthologies. AQA and EDEXCEL have digital anthologies. The AQA anthology, for example, allows for a lot interactive approaches, and these have been developed in collaboration with http://www.teachit.co.uk , the well known website of English teaching resources. These anthologies could form the basis for a session devoted to trying to discern the rationale for their composition and the relationship between the title of the anthology and the poems selected for inclusion. Obviously, the brief to which exam boards were working was essentially circumscribed by QCDA stipulation and this can be shared with students in a positive way as a means of pointing out the scope that constraint can actually give people with some ingenuity. Of all the poems written by each of the poets included, what decisions informed their inclusion?
This leads to a very important point related to the Poet Laureate’s recommendation that students assembling an anthology should have read the original collections from which they are making a case for selection / inclusion. A significant point here is that students should engage with a wide range of poetry for its own sake and not just for the purposes of assessment. This does not mean, though, that the production of an anthology cannot help towards the assessment process.
There are ample opportunities to link work on the production of an anthology to speaking and listening activities on an individual, paired or group basis. Possible approaches are:
• A student presents a piece to camera, justifying the inclusion of a particular poem in the anthology;
• One student could interview another, asking him or her to justify the inclusion of a poem, perhaps challenging this with a case for one he/she favours;
• Students could learn and perform their poem, providing a written commentary that makes clear the effects that were noticed and brought out as a result of performing rather than simply reading it on the page.
• A group of students could be assessed on their ability to arrive at consensus for the inclusion of a number of poems in relation to the title chosen for their anthology;
• Pairs or groups of students could discuss the ways in which they plan to advertise and market their anthology;
• A group could plan an evening reading for friends and parents of a selection of poems form their anthology;
• A student of pair of students could prepare a PowerPoint presentation for the class that makes clear the features of a poem that qualified it for inclusion in the anthology;
• A group presents the process of producing the anthology to their Young Enterprise Chamber;
• One or more students could produce a multimedia response to a poem, perhaps using music, visual images or video as an integrated response, speaking the poem in inventive ways.
The production of an anthology would be a collaborative creative activity that would certainly relate to the Arts Award at Bronze, Silver and Gold levels. In particular, the scheme’s enthusiasm for the nurturing of young leaders in the Arts would give plenty of scope here. Details of this award may be found here: http://www.artsaward.org.uk
Key Stage 5
The skills developed in the previous Key Stages are obviously extendable in the Sixth Form and the production of an anthology would provide opportunities for a variety of interest groups in a Sixth Form.
Sixth Form students could lead the project and could tie in the production of an anthology with, for example, a Young Enterprise project.
Specifically, in English, students could pursue a particular theme or form and explore ways in which this has been written about by a range of poets. For example, the sonnet is a very rich vein to mine. Students, supported by teachers, will have many ideas and it will be important that the parameters laid down in the guidance notes are followed closely.
Separate groups could produce an anthology or it could be done on a class by class basis. Alternatively, groups of students across year groups could work together. For schools that have a house system, there is obvious scope to use the production of an anthology as a focus for collaborative activity.
A General Conclusion
Although the prospect of winning a competition is a legitimate motivating factor, the overriding consideration is the intrinsic value of working together on the production of a poetry anthology that results in the reading of a wide range of poets, resulting in ways of working together and individually that are enjoyable, of enduring value and which help young people to be more confident, conversant with and caring about poetry.
‘Anthologise’ offers a great opportunity to meet the full range of experiences set out at the beginning of the literacy and English Experiences & Outcomes document of the Curriculum for Excellence in Scotland. Those teachers who would like to see a detailed assessment should go to the Scottish Poetry Library’s webpage: http://www.spl.org.uk/education/index.htm
Anthologise CPD with Scottish Poetry Library
Join us at SPL on Thursday 13th October, 4-6 p.m.
The Scottish Poetry Library is stepping up to the book-plate for teachers in Scotland and offering a tailored Anthologise CPD session, delivered by highly experienced professional poet-tutors and FREE of charge.
Book a place
Contact Lorna Irvine at [email protected], with “Anthologise CPD” in the subject line
Places limited to 25
Go to the Welsh Examining Board site: http://www.wjec.co.uk/
to research how Anthologise might fit in with curriculum requirements.