Inclusion: 'Legend' by Gillian Clarke

Carolyn Purslow

All pupils will show an awareness of different uses and meanings of words.

Resources needed

PC/interactive whiteboard with access to the Poetry Archive recording of Legend by Gillian Clarke The Second Story from 'The Snow Queen' by Hans Christian Andersen (original version). Sheets of ice - frozen water on baking trays, frozen milk ice cubes, bowls of water iced over. Figures to go skating on the ice. Hats, gloves, scarves, coats and boots. A garden fork with cardboard rammed in between the spiky bits. If you have an interactive whiteboard, find the coldest images possible and turn down the heat.

Teaching sequence of activities


Write the poem onto a sheet of acetate, place it on a baking tray, cover with water and freeze. The poem can defrost as you explore its ideas and images. Introduce 'Legend' as a poem about a cold winter's day from the perspective of a child remembering stark images from a particular moment. Listen to the poet reading 'Legend'. 


Act out parts of the poem. Wake up shivering. Wrap up warm and stump to the park. Step out onto the ice with a sister. Talk about the cold. Find new words and metaphors to express the feelings of intense cold. Make patterns on the ice. Make the figures break through the ice on the water bowl then send in a rescue team. 


What do you think the Snow Queen looks like? Draw her on the ice sheets. Take photos of the ice pictures and display them on the computer screen. Use Makaton signs or pictures, or symbolised words where relevant, to focus listening and enhance meaning.

Further Reading

Cold Knap Lake by Gillian Clarke

Let us help you find your way around

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Daljit Nagra

From time to time a poet is in residence at the Poetry Archive, talking about poetry with anyone who wants to join in the conversation.

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