Bide in wi Burns!
Robert Burns, arguably our most famous writer, is traditionally celebrated on Burns Night on 25th January - but that doesn't mean that the teaching of Burns poetry has to be confined to January. Here are some teaching ideas, with links, to keep your learners busy:
For all learners:
Watch: this short animation telling the story of Burns’ life.
This animation, available to view on YouTube, is useful in giving your learners a brief overview of the life of Robert Burns.
Activity: Using Scots, learners can tell their life stories – or Rabbie’s, or their friend’s. Education Scotland’s 100 key Scots words resource will be useful. Learners in the Senior Phase may wish to use the online Scots dictionary.
Recite: one of Burns’ poems from the Scottish Poetry library website.
Activity: Learn a poem or verse each, and have a recital competition.
Explore: The Robert Burns Birthplace Museum virtual classroom. Click on the links to find a variety of teaching resources for learners at Early Years settings, as well as those working at CfE levels 1, 2 and 3.
For learners working within Early level
For an introduction to Scots…
Listen: to stories for free online at the Scots in schools website.
For learners working within First level
Complete: the ‘To a Mouse’ word search, downloadable below.
Online and interactive Scots word searches are available here.
Watch: the animation of Tam O’Shanter
Activity 1: Create a storyboard depicting the events within the poem, OR
Activity 2: Put the events in the correct order (using the ‘Order of events’ resource, downloadable below).
For learners working within Second level of CfE:
Write: a poem, in Scots, dedicated to your favourite food.
For learners working within Third and Fourth level of CfE:
Listen: to Paulo Nutini singing ‘A Man's a Man for A' That’.
Answer the following questions:
1. Why are Burns’ songs so popular?
2. Which song is sung at Hogmanay? What relevance do the words have today?
Translate ‘A Man's a Man for A' That’ into another language, or translate a current (English) song into Scots. Use the Education Scotland 100 key Scots words resource to help you.
Research: scotland.org and find out what happens at a Burns’ supper.
Activity: Write about ‘The Selkirk Grace’ – what is it, who wrote it and what does it make us think about?
For learners in the Senior Phase:
Analyse: one of Burns’ poems from the Higher English set text list, with help from BBC Bitesize.
Activity: List the common themes present in Burns’ ‘Holy Willie’s Prayer’ and MacCaig’s ‘Assisi’, and describe how each writer uses language to convey these themes.