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Hi there and welcome to this lesson on poetry with me, Miss Krzebietka.

In this lesson, we're going to focus our attention on structure and how poets use structure in order to help express their big ideas and the meanings behind their poems. Before we get started, please can you make sure you've gotten rid of any distractions, such as mobile phones, either turn them off or put them in a different room.

Make sure that you're somewhere quiet so that you can really focus.

And make sure that you've got a pen.

Okay, let's get started on this lesson on structure.

Before we start the main tasks I'm going to just run through exactly what we're going to be doing in this lesson.

So first of all, we're going to have a recap task and remind ourselves about imagery and what imagery is.

Then I'm going to introduce you to structure, then we're going to look at a really really fun poem and think about how poets use struture.

And then you're going to review your knowledge by completing some sentences and then finally doing a quiz.

So first of all, let's see what you remember about imagery.

On the screen, you can see five statements.

What I'd like you to do is to pause, to read through them very carefully and to decide which ones are true statements about imagery, which ones are false statements about imagery.

make sure that you read them very carefully so that you can see exactly what they say.

Pause now, read through and decide.

Well done, if you said that number one and number four, are false statements about imagery.

And if you said that two, three, and five, are true statements about imagery.

Number one, imagery has nothing to do with figurative language.

This is false because we know that imagery is actually a type of figurative language.

Number two, similes and metaphor are types of imagery.

Yes we know that's true.

Number three, poets use imagery to create strong pictures for their readers.

Yes again we know that's true.

We know that's why poets decide to use imagery in their poems. Number four, imagery is another word for the way poems are structured.

That's false.

Imagery is not to do with the structure in poetry.

And number five, poets think very carefully about the way they use imagery.

Yes this is true.

They do think very carefully.

They think very carefully about the words they use, about the figurative language that they use, and that all comes into this term imagery.

In this lesson, we're going to move on from imagery and we're going to think about structure.

So far we've been like poetry detectives, examining each language choice made by a poet to find the deeper meaning.

But in this lesson, we're going to discover even more about the poems used today, by thinking about the way they that they are structured and we're going to become detectives in structure too.

So structure in poetry simply means, the way that the poem has been organised, the way that the poem has been put together and laid out on the page.

we've briefly thought about structure before, when we've looked at stanzas.

But today we're going to explore it in a little bit more detail.


Let's see what you can remember out of the information.

we've just been given about structure.

So read carefully through the options.

And I want you to decide which two statements tell us something correct about structure.

Pause read carefully and decide which two statements, tell us something correct about structure.

Off you go.

Amazing job if you said the option two and option four, both tell us something about structure that is correct.

Option two structure means the way a poem is organised.

Yes that's exactly what structure means and option four, structure involves looking at the way a poem is put together and laid out on the page.

Yes again, that links to structure and it's all to do with what we see when we look at a poem and how that links to me and you.

Okay here are some questions we might ask when examining structure.

So keep these in mind, cause shortly we're going to look at a poem, and we're going to think about how it's structured.

You're going to have to think about some of these questions.

So when thinking about structure, we might ask, how has the poet decided to open the poem? The opening of poems are usually very very important.

Those first couple of lines are usually really really significant for us.

And we might ask, how has the poet decided to end the poem? Because just like the opening lines are really important, So too are the final lines.

And normally there's a link between the opening and the final lines.

And it's about finding what that link might be.

it's not always the case.

But lots of the time there is a link between those opening lines and the final lines.

Another couple of questions we have to ask ourselves when thinking about structure of poetry, are to do with stanzas.

We need to consider whether the stanzas are regular or irregular are they short or long and why might this be? What might the poet be trying to reveal to us through the length of stanzas that they've chosen to use? All right are you a great poetry detective? Let's see.

So which of these is not a question that we would ask when thinking about structure in poetry? Let's see what you've read about structure so far.

So there are four options.

One of them is not a question you would ask when thinking about structure.

Pause now, read through them very carefully and decide which of these is not a question you would ask when thinking about structure.

Off you go.

Amazing job if you said the option for how do the words in the poem make us feel? is not a question that we would ask when thinking about structure in poetry.

Remember structure is not necessarily about the words in the poem but it's more about how it's organised and how it looks.

If you don't get it right this time don't worry, because these ideas and concepts, might be really new to you and actually we've talked a lot about just how important the words in a poem are.

So you might have thought actually, you know, words are parts of structure as well.

But overall, when we're thinking about structure, you don't talk specifically about words.

You talk more about where the words are in the poem and why they might be in that specific place.

Okay let's stop for a moment because before we move on, I want to introduce you to a new term that we can learn to do with structure and a term that we can use when we're talking about structure in poetry.

So this term is volta.

You might want to try saying the word out loud a couple of times, just like we did with imagery and stanza.

So the word is volta.

A Volta is a moment in a poem where the feeling of the poem changes or the poem takes an unexpected direction.

It's also known as the poem's turning point.

So in lots of poetry we might have a stanza where everything seems to change.

You might have had something, a really sort of calm poem and then suddenly something happens, and actually it becomes quite chaotic and then different to how it started and that turning point, where everything changes is known as a volta, Okay? So that's a new term for you, and I know you're going to impress everybody with all of these new terms that you have learned.

So that new term is volta.


Which of these is the correct definition of a volta? We've just been through it so I'm hoping that you'll be able to get this right.

Pause now for me, and read through these three definitions on the screen and decide which one you think is the correct definition of a volta.

Off you go.

Wonderful job if you said definition one, a moment in poem where the feeling of the poem changes or the poem takes an unexpected direction, is the correct definition of a volta.

brilliant work.

Isn't that a great new term for to have learned? Okay the parts of the poem we're going to read today, is taken from the longer poem "Macavity The Mystery Cat", which was written in 1931 by a very famous playwright and poet called T.



Might have heard of T.


Eliot before.

And he might be somebody that you want to go away and do a bit of research on because he is really famous and he's done some great writing over the years.

And it might be nice for you to find out a little bit more about him.

Okay before we read the poem, there are a few things that you need to know to help us understand it more.

So I'm just going to go through these things so that you've got this knowledge that will help you understand the poem a little bit better.

Okay so a cat is another name for a thief.

Okay so when it says Macavity the mystery cat, cat you're referring to a thief there.

And Scotland Yard, which is referred to in the poem is the name for the police headquarters in London and the Flying Squad is a team of undercover cover investigators for the police.

And a Fakir is somebody who is very strictly religious and he's not very easily distracted or shocked.

So when that Fakir is mentioned in the poem, you need to think about what it's saying about this person and why that's interesting in terms of Macavity the mystery cat, and what it might be telling us about him, okay.

let's read through this poem then.

Macavity's a mystery cat, he's called the hidden paw, for he's the master criminal who can defy the Law.

He's the bafflement of Scotland Yard, the Flying Squad's despair.

For when they reach the scene of the crime, Macavity's not there! Macavity, Macavity there's no one like Macavity.

He's broken every human law, he breaks the laws of gravity.

His powers of levitation would make a Fakir stare.

And when you reach the scene of crime, Macavity's not there! You may seek him in the basement.

You may look up in the air, but I tell you once and once again, Macavity's not there! Macavity's a ginger cat, he's very tall and thin.

You would know him if you saw him, for his eyes are sunken in.

His brow is deeply lined with thought, his head is highly domed.

His coat is dusty from neglect his whiskers are uncombed.

He sways his head from side to side, with movements like a snake.

And when you think he's half asleep, he's always wide awake.

Macavity, Macavity there's no one like Macavity.

or he's a fiend in feline shape, a monster of depravity.

You may meet him in a by-street, You may see him in the square, but when a crime's discovered, then Macavity's not there! Isn't that a wonderful poem? It's longer than that.

And if you want to look it up, and read through the whole poem, then I would recommend that.

It's a great poem overall.

And at the bottom of both of these slides on the screen, you can see a glossary.

So if there are any words in there that you didn't quite understand, then I've put a glossary in the bottom so that you can read through the meaning of those, and get that full clarification of the poem okay? So just take a moment to read through those if you need to.

Okay so we've talked a lot about structure, and now we're going to think about how this part of the poem, that we've just looked at is structured.

So what I'd like you to do, is to pause for me and to copy and complete my example, and then complete the unfinished sentences using the prompts that are in the boxes at the bottom of the screen okay? This is going to mean that you have to read through the sentences very carefully so that you can work how, which of those prompts goes in which space in the sentences.

Okay? So read through really carefully, and then copy and complete the sentences by using those prompts.

Make sure that you copy my example too, because that's about the start of the poem, and that's really important as well.

Okay off you go.

So let's talk about the structure in this part of the poem then.

I'm going to read through the answers, if you got them right, give yourself a big tick and a smiley face.

Don't worry if you didn't get them right this time.

But what you might want to do is to have the correct ending to the sentences so that you got it right and you can refer to in the future.


The opening stanza of the poem, introduces us to the poem's protagonist, which is another word for main character, Macavity the mystery cat.

The final line of the first stanza tells us that, Macavity always gets away from the police.

That's what you should have ended that sentence with.

The line is repeated throughout the poem.

The poet might have used this technique to make sure readers know that Macavity is no ordinary thief.

And by repeating it, it helps to build a sense of mystery.

And repetition is a technique that writers use, when thinking about the structure of that poem in order to build on ideas or in this case to create that sense of mystery around Macavity.


A very similar task now.

We're going to look at how the poet uses stanzas.

Because remember we said that stanzas are very important parts of structure.

So what I'd like you to do is to read through the three sentences and this time they all need you to finish them off Okay? So there are three sentences, and you have three prompts at the bottom of the screen, only to write out the opening of the sentences that you've been given and then them in with what you think is the correct prompt at the bottom of the screen.

Pause now and have a go at that.

Off you go.

Great job if you finished the first sentence in this way, the third and fourth stanza of this poem, tell us about Macavity's skill and appearance.

Then if you went onto the second sentence and finished it in this way, brilliant work.

They may be longer than the other stanzas cause the poet wants to build a clear picture of what the thief is like.

Finally, if you went on and talked about the final stanza, and said the final stanza maybe shorter in length, because it's all about how Macavity doesn't hang around and the short stanza reflects how quick he is, then brilliant work.

What you've done there is shown that you really understand how poets use structure in order to create meaning in their poems. So brilliant brilliant work, because structure is not as easy as figurative language to get our head around.

But if you got those sentences right, then you've done a great job.

If not, don't worry.

Structure is more difficult.

And I'm sure that next time now that you've got the right answers, you'll be able to get it right.

Okay fantastic work today.

Structure is something that is quite challenging.

And I know you have worked really really hard.

If you'd like to, you can ask your parents or carer to share your work on Instagram or Facebook or Twitter tagging @OakNational and using the #LearnWithOak.

You might also want to ask them to share your work with a teacher and I'm sure that your teachers would love to see what you've been getting up to.

Final thing there is a quiz attached to this lesson, that I'd like you to complete, and this will really help to solidify the learning of this lesson and make sure that it's stuck in your brain and that you don't forget it.

Okay, great work goodbye.