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Poetry - Secret Life of Pets (Arvon inspired)

I wrote the poem below on a writing residential with Arvon and poet Alicia Stubbersfield then turned it into the lesson sequence below.


Start this by watching the YouTube clip on Chloe from Secret Life of Pets. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdroO0omUfg until about 2.50mins in would be enough. Ask children what characteristics Chloe has? How do we know?


Read the following text:












SUPERIOR BEING by Kate McCallam

I’m disloyal, uncaring, selfish to a tee.

but it doesn’t matter ‘cos they still love me.

I stalk and strut about their homes,

I do what I like, when I want, come and go.

I might spike a sparrow, might murder a mouse,

then, I’ll bring it back bloody, my prey, my house

I sometimes permit a stroke and I’ll purr,

lay by the fire, stretch out, lick my fur

But when I’ve had enough, although they’re sad

I’ll leave, slink away, can’t cope with that.

I’m disloyal, uncaring, selfish to a tee

But it doesn’t matter ‘cos they still love me.



Comprehension Questions

  1. What animal is the poet describing? How do you know? Give evidence.

  2. What does the poet think of this animal? How do you know?

  3. Highlight all the mighty verbs in the text.

  4. Where are the examples of alliteration?

  5. What other literary techniques can you spot on the poem? Highlight and comment on them in this document.

  6. What is the effect of the repetition of the first two and last two lines?

  7. Do you agree with the representation of the cat’s personality here? State your reasons why.

  8. What rhyming sequence do you spot in the poem? Highlight the pattern in the text.

  9. What does ‘to a tee’ mean? Tell me, then write another sentence showing that you understand its use.

  10. Apostrophes have been used in this text for contraction. (to make the work shorter) List them all and put their full version alongside. E.g I’d = I had


Ask the children to think of other texts where an animal tells the story. What is the benefit of doing this? Why would an author try to do this? (War Horse etc - make a Padlet of ones they can think of)


Task 2

Class focus on animals we don't like or that others might not like because negative emotions are way easier to write about!! There's a lot more meat on the bone as a writer, so what other animals/creatures might have a bad reputation or might be construed in a negative light? (Jamboard this and their reasons why)


GUIDED WRITE - using same pattern as Superior Being - children to fill in words where redacted. Discuss word choice.











THE SHARK by K McCallam

I'm ADJ, ADJ, ADJ to a tee

But it doesn’t matter 'cos I’m king of the sea! (suggested refrain)

I lurk and plot in the murky depths deep

I’m up and about when they’re all asleep

I might chase a NOUN, might murder a seal

Or I might feast on human legs for my meal!

I sometimes crunch surfboards or lilos or boats

But it’s worth the wait when I’ve got them,

…gripped by the throat

I’m ADJ, ADJ ADJ to a tee

But it doesn’t matter 'cos I’m king of the sea! (suggested refrain)


You could take more out and see what they come up with?


Task 3

EXTENSION Opportunity and Alternative Take


Read the poem. Who/What is speaking? Here I have personified an object and some children may choose to do the same? I've used the same pattern as above.

I’m compelling, attractive in everyone’s homes

Been in these parts since before mobile phones

I’m demanding, imposing I’m growing in size

Laughing as children’s imaginations demise!

They might try to draw, to read or to dance

But when I switch on, there’s not the slightest chance

Of anything taking attention away

From me, I’ve got them, my fuel, my prey

And as I watch eager eyes through the screen

I smile, I’m smug - the Entertainment Queen!

by K McCallam*


*This was meant to be the TV but my husband thought it was a laptop when I read it to him so either - you get the drift!


WRITING SCAFFOLD

I’m ADJ, ADJ, ADJ to a tee

but it doesn’t matter cos ……………

The above will be like your chorus

I VERB and VERB about the PLACE

I VERB….., VERB, VERB

I might VERB, might VERB (verbs)

Then I’ll VERB and VERB, my NOUN, my NOUN

I sometimes VERB + VERB

VERB, VERB, VERB

But when I've had (enough) ..although they're ADJ

I’ll VERB + VERB + emotion/perspective

I’m ADJ, ADJ, ADJ to a tee

but it doesn’t matter cos ……………

Encourage ch to have a go! Tweak, re-do, powerful verbs, imagery, get in animal's head. Have fun!


Once we'd finished we asked the children to present their poems on FlipGrid as a guess who It was great for practising speaking and listening/drama and collaboration obviously.


We got some amazing poetry from Y6 in the end with topics ranging from snakes to parents to marmite! With their permission, here they are:




Helicopter Parents

I’m bossy, controlling, arrogant to a tee,

But that doesn’t matter, it's my job, one day you’ll see.


I sneak and nosy around your things,

I do what I like; I'm the boss, I'm the king.


I can ground you you know, if you step out of line,

Weeks, even months, any amount of time.


Under my roof, my rules, this is my kingdom

Did I say you could speak? I didn't ask for your opinion?!


I might be too harsh; it’s because I love you,

But if you weren't disciplined your behaviour would be askew.


I’m bossy, controlling, arrogant to a tee,

But that doesn’t matter, it's my job, one day you’ll see.

By Bea Y6


Spiders

I’m sly, malevolent, menacing to a tee

but it doesn’t matter ‘cos I’m the 8-legged queen!


I creep and crawl about your homes

I do what I like cos you’re scared of me, I know.


I might trap a fly, in my sticky web

Then I’ll eat it, I don’t mind, alive or dead!


I make people scream, run for their mummy

You can trap me under a cup but I’ll just find it funny.


I’ll hide in the corners of your house at night,

Then I’ll sneak out and give you such a fright!


I’m sly, malevolent, menacing to a tee

And it doesn’t matter ‘cos I’m the 8-legged queen!

By Bea Y6


The Teenager

I’m uncaring, moody and mocking to a tee,

But it doesn't matter cause people don’t blame me,

I huff and puff around the neighbourhood,

I do what people hate, make bad jokes, I really could!

Might mock a small kid, might tell them they’re bad,

And then, I’ll bully them, ‘till they run home all sad,

I sometimes play cool, for the people I like,

with adults I act just like a fun lil’ tyke.

Copy some jokes, trick a stupid nerd,

But when I get away, all troubled and deterred,

I’ll go back to my hole of depression, away from the light,

Snapchatting til 1am - the middle of the night.

I’m uncaring, moody and mocking to a tee,

But it doesn't matter cause they don’t blame me.

By Jonty Y6


Marmite

I’m sticky, sour, messy to a tee.

But it doesn’t matter ‘cos half the world loves me.

I sit and I wait on the supermarket shelf,

As the haters walk by without a thought for their health,

Spread me on a crumpet, smear me on toast

I ‘ll mess up your face but some love me the most

I’m brown, I’m gooey - a product of yeast

Eat me by the spoonful, I’m a veritable feast

Better than butter, Nutella or jam

Perfect for a snack to eat with your gran

I’m sticky, sour, messy to a tee.

But it doesn’t matter ‘cos half the world loves me.


By Lyla Y6


From An Anglerfish

I’m cruel, tempting, sneaky to a tee

but it doesn’t matter because they still come to me.

I swim and drift around my home

I do what I want, I stalk, I roam

I might kill a cod, might murder a molly

Then I’ll eat it whole, no games, no folly

I sometimes wait for my prey to appear

Lure them in slowly, shed no fear

But when I’ve finished my cosy little meal,

I’ll lure some more to seal the deal

I’m cruel, tempting, sneaky to a tee

but it doesn’t matter because they still come to me.


By Jacob Y6

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