These ideas are informed by an inclusive style of teaching and are multi-sensory in their offering. This is a loud, lively, energetic poem, just great for dancing to. It is a poem that needs performing.
The pupils may engage with the poem in many different ways. Consider how they listen and respond to the language and rhythm. It would be excellent to return to the poem regularly over a period of at least three weeks, to allow pupils a chance to engage with the poem and to give them the time and space to make their response.
To play with sounds and actions in a poem
To explore ways of performing a poem
To find different ways to convey the atmosphere of a poem
Poetry Archive recording of 'The Boneyard Rap' by Wes Magee
This is a great lesson for Hallowe’en when images of skeletons are everywhere. You might even bring in a cardboard skeleton! Talk about the body, the skeleton and the bones, locating different body parts mentioned in the poem.
Play the recording of the poem to the class. Choose a sign to signal the start of the poem. Identify the sounds in the poem eg "knuckle bones click" and "hand bones clap" and play with the sounds of the body, classroom items or percussion instruments to set up 'the boneyard band' to accompany the rap. Listen to the poet reading his poem again.
Then read out the poem as much like a rap as possible, allowing the rhythm of the words to come through. Encourage pupils to 'rap' along with you, making the right sounds at the right time! Use movement and dance to explore the potential action of the poem, and don't forget the ghostly "wooooo!"
Explore how the poet uses rhyming words and creates rhythms to sing, speak and play.
Use the sticks and stones to make skeleton shape images. Play 'Skeleton says...'