Show pupils a photo of another creature i.e. not a seagull.
Ask for an immediate response. Encourage them to call out the words or mind images, stories or films that the photo brings to mind and write them onto a large sheet.
Ask pupils to divide the words into two groups. They could be real and poetic; or fact and fiction; or fact and myth; or they can decide on two categories of their own. They should explain why they have chosen particular words to place in each group.
Listen to the poet reading his poem. Listen to it a few times without comment.
Can pupils explain why you chose to do the starter activity? How does it relate to the poem?
Ask a pupil to read the poem out loud but change three words/phrases: A seagull
to A man
; a supergull
to a superman
; and scuttered claws
to scuttered nails
. Ask the pupil to read the altered poem to a friend as though they were telling a true story. Discuss what a difference those changes made.
Begin a new poem: An owl stood on my window ledge today...
or A toad stood on my window ledge today...
or choose another animal with a history!
What images, sounds, memories come to mind in relation to these creatures? How does this animal move and breathe?
What about the dark side of its life, the underbelly or 'the visitation'?
Talk in small groups to recall habitats, news stories, mythology about their chosen creatures. Search the internet, books and magazines for related pictures.
Work on developing the poem. Encourage pupils to include particular observations of movement, natural habitats and a vision of the darker side.
The poems need to be performed. Make sure you consider the ambience of the performance space.