Robert Burns: Learning Activities
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:
Visit: the Robert Burns Birthplace museum and Burns’ cottage.
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.
Lesson idea: Using Scots, learners can tell their life stories – or their friend’s.
Recite: one of Burns’ poems from the Scottish Poetry library website.
Lesson idea: Have a recital competition
For learners at Early and First level of CfE:
Colour: Burns Coat of Arms crossword (downloadable pdf below) from The Robert Burns World Federation website.
Draw: a scene from Tam O’Shanter
For learners at Second level of CfE:
Write: a poem about an animal using the resources available at www.scotshoose.com.
Complete: This crossword (downloadable pdf below) from The Robert Burns World Federation website.
For learners at Third and Fourth level of CfE:
Write: a monologue inspired by a Burns poem, or a dialogue between two characters from Burns poetry using the resources available at www.scotshoose.com.
Listen: to Paulo Nutini singing ‘A Man's a Man for A' That’.
Lesson idea: Group discussion activity
1. Why are Burns’ songs so popular?
2. Which song is sung at Hogmanay? What relevance do the words have today?
Lesson idea: Translate ‘A Man's a Man for A' That’ into another language, or translate a current song into Scots.
Research: scotland.org and find out what happens at a Burns’ supper.
Lesson idea: Discuss the meaning behind The Selkirk Grace – 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.
Lesson idea: Discuss the common themes present in Burns’ ‘Holy Willie’s Prayer’ and MacCaig’s ‘Assisi’.
Study: The 'set' Burns poems for Higher English, with help from the Education Scotland NQ resources.