Learning Activities for Burns Night
Robert Burns, arguably our most famous writer, is celebrated on Burns Night on 25th 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’.