The Highwayman: a narrative KS2 poem explored through drama
Alfred Noyes’ The Highwayman is a classic poem, providing fantastic source material for drama work.
Teaching poetry to KS2 pupils is not always easy, and the wonderful hook of this piece is the powerful story. Whether you view the narrative as a love story, a ghost story or a bloody tale of tragic death, there is plenty here to appeal to students’ imaginations, and to draw them into an interest in poetry which might be more difficult to engender through other classic works. The story provides a wonderful access point, and this scheme of work focuses on getting underneath it, on understanding the poem’s narrative. It can therefore be used as a standalone scheme to gain an appreciation of the text, or as a springboard to more in-depth work about the poem and its language, form and metre.
Students are required to use and develop their speaking, group discussion and interaction skills throughout the scheme, through a range of dramatic techniques. It is therefore a suitable response to the Spoken Language requirements of the new National Curriculum. In particular, it will offer students opportunities to participate in discussions, to improvise and devise work, to create and sustain roles, and to respond thoughtfully to the work of others.
It is possible to use the scheme to teach and engage the students in an understanding of the poem for the very first time, but also valid to use the scheme with students who have prior knowledge of The Highwayman.
- By the end of this scheme the students will:
- Have gained an understanding and appreciation of the narrative poem
- Be familiar with the characters in the poem, and the storyline of the piece
- Have experience of creating and portraying characters through use of body language, facial expression and voice
- Have experience of working in small groups to devise performances
- Have participated in group discussions, both in small groups and as a whole class
- Have experience of considering and responding to the work of others
- Have increased confidence and enjoyment of exploring literature through performance.
Number of lessons: 4