Today I had a bit of fun with Y8 and poetry analysis. They’ve been working on Sonnets in their normal English sets, but I see them once a week in their tutor group for a Literacy lesson – something that’s not always proved easy to manage.

We started with a Shakespeare-esque poem (attached below) with some questions attached for them to discuss. They made notes on a post-it before going round the class briefly to get some ideas. Having established the basic tenor of the poem, I told them that it was actually a re-writing of ‘Love Yourself’ by Justin Bieber. I then gave them the lyrics to the song and asked them to annotate it as they would a poem.

The results were really pleasing:





I asked them questions as they annotated, including:

  • If he didn’t want to write a song, why did he?
  • Who is he trying to convince here?
  • If he was so busy at work, could that be why she didn’t put much effort into the relationship?
  • Is the point here to make her feel bad or make himself feel better?
  • Why’s he bringing his mum in to this?
  • Where are the metaphors in the song?
  • What about other poetic techniques?
  • How does the narrator’s voice provide bias?
  • etc etc etc.

The students seemed to really enjoy it, and I certainly did! Hope you can use it at some point.

Love Yourself Shakespeare

Love Yourself

Next up – psycopathy, sexuality and satire in Taylor Swift’s ‘Blank Space’.



About PS

English teacher in Shanghai.
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