Performance poetry: top tech tips for getting started

On National Poetry Day, Caitlin McMillan explores the apps that can help children engage with and perform poetry.


Hip Hip Hooray
It’s National Poetry Day
And we’d like to say….
We think poetry is a key component of the English curriculum, but the manner of pupil engagement with it as an art form is evolving.


Slam poetry, or performance poetry, is becoming increasingly popular, especially with young people. Organisations such as SLAMbassadors (run by the Poetry Society) are harnessing this trend and bringing competitions and performance opportunities to young people across the country.

So why get children to perform poetry?

Aside from the self-confidence and performance skills that can be gained through this medium, performing poetry can help children to better understand and engage with the text itself.

Speaking poetry out loud allows children to engage with literary devices in a tangible fashion; having to get their mouths around the likes of alliteration, rhyme and onomatopoeia can help children to recognise these features and feel for themselves what effect they have upon a text.

How can technology help?

There are a number of apps out there which can help get children get started writing poetry. This list of some great digital poetry tools for the iPad is a good place to kick off from.

One of our favourites is the Word Mover App, which takes all the fun of fridge magnet poetry and puts it on the iPad. You can also find a similar, but slightly more limited, online version here.

Most children’s access to performance poetry will be through YouTube, so giving them the opportunity to create their own video content (using a tool such as iMovie) can be a great way of engaging them with the art form; children who would struggle with performing in front of an entire class are given the opportunity through film to gain performative skills (volume, pacing, pitching etc) without the pressure of a large live audience.

To get started with performance poetry in the classroom, check out Joseph Coelho’s brilliant YouTube channel.

Joseph is also involved with the Southbank Centre’s Imagine Children’s Festival writing project. Applications are open until October 19 2018, and more information can be found here:


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Upcoming CPD

Summer primary school computing conference
Summer primary school computing conference

This event will build upon the Autumn computing conference by inviting subject leaders to reflect on their year in the role, sharing their successes and challenges. It will also introduce new ideas, tools and approaches through talks and practical activities led by members of the CLC team, with opportunities for attendees to share their own expertise and experience. Over the course of the conference activities will touch on the three main areas of the computing curriculum: computer science, digital literacy and information technology. We will also feature advice and examples illustrating the use of technology to support blended learning.

- 15:30
Computing subject leaders, Teachers...
Creative Arts, Digital and children – CLC meets More Than Robots online
Creative Arts, Digital and children - CLC meets More Than Robots online

Combining forces for the first time, the Connected Learning Centre and More Than Robots have created a session for teachers, youth organisations, researchers and policymakers interested in the digital provision of creative arts for primary aged pupils.


The Play Observatory - Prof. John Potter

“In their own words”: Westminster Abbey & CLC digital projects - Sian Shaw

Building (and maintaining) a city-wide primary arts curriculum to raise attainment - Kate Fellows

More to be added soon

This interactive and inclusive meet up will include inspiring examples of how technology can be used to support learning in music, visual art and drama in person and online at home drawing on our experiences as Tate Exchange associates and our partnership work with a range of cultural institutions.

This informal event is an opportunity to discuss real examples of what does/doesn’t work, meet colleagues from other sectors working on similar challenges and share useful research, news or updates

The morning will include case study presentations (details below) followed by a Q&A. There will also be an opportunity for a rapid sharing round for launches, project updates or requests for help and a short break to avoid zoom brain drain.

- 11:30
KS1, KS2
Subject leaders, Teachers...

Upcoming Special projects

The News Project
- 14:25

Special project in collaboration with First News Education

For a third year, building on two successful previous projects, we are once again partnering with the children’s newspaper First News, fellow member of the national Making Sense of Media and News Literacy networks. This special project with a literacy, PSHE and citizenship, as well as computing focus, highlights our specialist interest in this important aspect of digital and critical literacy.

The News Project will enable participating classes from year 5 to immerse themselves in news and current affairs using First News and the Bett award-winning First News iHUB, which will be provided free of charge during the school-based part of the project over a six week period. Under the guidance of their teacher, pupils will be supported in their development as a community of fully informed news readers. Classes will test their new critical skills and knowledge in the culminating virtual celebration event which will include a news competition and team-based critical literacy and editorial activities. After the event, schools will be able to use the resources from the day in their school.

The project will launch with an introductory CPD session for teachers to set the context, demonstrate resources and to plan for the school-based activities. 

Initial CPD session - Thursday 21st October 4pm-5.00pm. 

Project work undertaken in school - October and November.

Special event - Thursday 25th November 9.30am-2.45pm.

The Garden Museum

The CLC is once again partnering with the Garden Museum to offer a partnership project for KS1 pupils (primarily suited to Yr2). Located next to Lambeth Palace on the bank of the Thames, the museum has an inspiring collection that provides the ideal stimulus for young learners to explore the world around them.

Pupils will use technology alongside the museum’s collection to explore the wonderful world of seeds.

  • How are they planted?
  • How do they spread?
  • What is inside them?

 The Garden Museum has a large collection of seeds and tools that pupils will engage with.

These half-day sessions will take place at the Garden Museum.

There is a limited number of dates available, so please book early to avoid disappointment.

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