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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.