Off by Heart Competition

5th May 2017

Hillcrest’s Poetry Recital Competition is back!

The buzz around school this time last year left our English Leader, Miss Swain, in no doubt about making ‘Off by Heart’ an annual event.

Once again, the challenge is for children to learn a poem off by heart and perform it to their classmates.

Teachers will share three specially chosen poems with their classes. The children will enjoy watching their teacher perform each one, and the subsequent discussions. They then have the tricky task of choosing just one to take home today to try their very best to learn off by heart. They will also get the chance to decide how they want to perform it. 

Teachers will organise a class recital during the week commencing Monday 15th May. 

The winner from each class will go on to perform in front of the whole school and a special panel of judges in the grand final, which will take place in the hall on the afternoon of Thursday 18th May.

All grand finalists will also have the opportunity of performing their poem at the Summer Fair. 


Miss Swain’s Top Tips for Performance Poetry

  • Tell the story
  • Think about how you use your voice:   Volume, tone, intonation and pace
  • Think about how you use your body:   Facial expressions, eye contact, gestures etc.
  • Think about how you use the space:    Poems can work brilliantly with lots of movement, (but can be equally powerful with hardly any)
  • Practise, practise, practise:   Children will have at least ten days before the class recital... don’t leave it until the final evening! 
  • Harness the power of our four elements
  • Be brave
  • Have fun!
The Poems


A limerick by Edward Lear

(Reception will be a part of the whole school spoken word focus by having the Edward Lear limerick as their class poem for the next couple of weeks, but are not officially involved in the 'Off by Heart' recital competition)


Year 1

‘Upside Down’, Aileen Fisher

‘Mice’, Rose Fyleman

‘There Was a Crooked Man’, Anon


Year 2

‘Wind on the Hill’, A.A. Milne

‘Forbidden Poem’, Tony Mitton

‘How Doth the Little Crocodile…’, Lewis Carroll


Year 3

‘The Witches’ Spell’, William Shakespeare

‘The Magic Box’, Kit Wright

‘The Land of the Bumbly Boo’, Spike Milligan


Year 4

‘Forgiven’, A.A. Milne

‘Clever Trevor’, Benjamin Zephaniah

 ‘From a Railway Carriage’, Robert Louis Stevenson


Year 5

‘Sea Fever’, John Masefield

‘I've eaten many strange and scrumptious dishes’ (from James and the Giant Peach), Roald Dahl

‘The Engineer’, A. A. Milne


Year 6

‘The Jabberwocky’, Lewis Carroll

‘George, who played With a Dangerous Toy’, Hilaire Belloc

‘Us Two’, A.A. Milne


Click on the link below to find the poems. 


Some inspiration....