Teaching ideas

Last updated: 15/11/2023
Contributor: Teachit Author
Teaching ideas
Main Subject
Key stage
Poetry: Anthology poetry
Resource type
Student activity
Jane Weir

This flexible resource includes a range of teaching ideas and suggestions for exploring the Jane Weir's GCSE anthology poem 'Poppies' with your students.

Tasks include evaluating the poet's use of symbols in the poem, exploring the poem's form and structure and engaging with the emotional qualities of the poem through drama. 

Example teaching ideas from the resource: 

Drama activities

Encourage students to engage with the emotional qualities of the poem in a dramatised reading. Ask students to work in groups and to explore ways to express the feelings of the mother, the ‘I’ in the poem.

  • Students could choose to use gesture, movement, sounds or a tableau to represent different words, phrases or lines. One student could represent the ‘son’ and the rest of the group could ‘play’ the mother, to reflect the importance of the speaker’s emotions in the poem.
  • Alternatively, students could choose to focus on different ways to read their stanza, varying pitch, volume and emphasis.
  • Encourage students to experiment with simultaneous speech and choral techniques


Weir makes use of a number of iconic war symbols in the poem (poppies, graves, doves, war memorials, etc).

  • Ask students to identify these symbols in the poem, and to explore their cultural significance and connotations.
  • Many of these symbols could be potentially rather clichéd. In what ways has Weir used these images unconventionally?

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