Horrible haikus at random
Each child takes two words at random from a selection. Depending on how long you want the exercise to last, you can either pre-prepare the words or get the class to write them and then mix them up.
I have two sets of laminated words on card which I retrieve at the end of the lesson. You can set whatever terms you like, but it is advisable to have at least one noun in the mix. Jo Shapcott uses the animal you would like to be reincarnated as and then your favourite word. If you want to use the game several times, you can change the criteria for choosing the words.
It can link to anything going on in school or outside at the time: bonfire night, school dinners, the class reader.
The class then has to write haikus (three line poems of 5-7-5 syllables) using their two words.
The final condition is that the haiku must be as nasty and horrible as possible. The effect is to create a quick poem which stretches the children to use words outside their normal vocabulary. It also results in considerably fewer haikus about snowflakes and pet cats.
Nathan Peggs (Year 7): "innocent" and "motorway".
Twas on a motorway
When I did a trump and squished
An innocent horse.
Mark Williamson (Year 11): "lament" and "dictionary".
You make me lament
You talk with the excitement
Of a dictionary.
Annabelle Smith: "skate" and "frying-pan".
I saw the dead skin
Skate on my dinner; it came
From the frying-pan.
English teacher, Harrogate Grammar School