For Teachers

Kennings

These worksheets lead pupils through task-based games and exercises on metaphor and word choice, towards a controlled creative writing exercise.

Introduction to Kennings
Metaphor and Word Choice
kennings 1
Kennings Worksheet 1
Guess The Kenning
worksheet1
Kennings Worksheet 2
Match The Kenning
worksheet2
Kennings Worksheet 3
Coin Your Own Kennings Game
worksheet3
Kennings Worksheet 4
Poem-writing exercise
worksheet 4

Riddles

These worksheets start with an example riddle by poet Jacob Polley for pupils to guess, and work towards pupils composing their own riddles.

Introduction to Riddles
Writing a riddle
worksheet1
Riddles Worksheet 1
Choosing a riddle subject
worksheet2
Riddles Worksheet 2
Brainstorming your riddle
worksheet3
Riddles Worksheet 3
Writing your riddle
worksheet4

Please give us feedback if you use any of these worksheets with your own classes.

Five Fables

Use Billy Connolly, Seamus Heaney, and beautiful cartoons to introduce your pupils to medieval literature!

AppStoreBadge-fivefables

Pupils often find medieval literature intimidating, and it’s one of the things that can seem scariest when pupils make the transition to university-level English Studies. But medieval literature can be great fun, and you can give pupils a head-start and a confidence boost if you introduce them to one of the greats of medieval Scottish literature – Robert Henryson – with the help of technology and media which is second nature to today’s teenagers.

If you have an iPad and can project from it onto a digital screen, you could download this app and use it in the classroom. It features five of Aesop’s fables told in charming animated form. You can either listen to them in the medieval Scots of their original author, the poet Robert Henryson (a near contemporary of Chaucer), or you can switch to listen to Billy Connolly narrating Seamus Heaney’s Modern English translations of the medieval Scots.

Each tale ends with a ‘morality’. But these moralities were often the invention of whichever writer was re-telling the fable, and sometimes almost entirely opposite moral interpretations exist for the same fable. In the Middle Ages, schoolmasters would often ask their pupils to come up with a new moral for a fable they had studied, and then set pupils to debate their moral across the classroom as a way of practicing their persuasive public speaking skills. Henryson was himself a schoolmaster in Dunfermline in Fife, and so this might have been exactly the kind of exercise he set his pupils around 500 years ago!

Choose a fable which suits the age and interest of your pupils: The Two Mice might suit a younger group; The Preaching of the Swallow is a bit darker and might suit an older group. Then play the fable through a projector to the whole class, stopping short when you get to the final moral. You can choose whether to listen to the medieval Scots or the modern English, as best suits your group, and whether to also display the text in time with the animation, or to turn that off. Then, in groups or as individuals, set pupils to come up with a moral or a message that they think best sums up the meaning of the fable. This could be in the form of a one-line proverb or aphorism, or a little ‘epilogue’ to the story. Then have students try to persuade each other that their interpretation of the story is the best one. The class could end the debate with a vote, and then you could play the animated fable to the end, to see what Henryson thought the story meant. Some of his interpretations are quite surprising – perhaps yours will be too!