Why not celebrate International Literacy Day on 8th September by using RM Books?


In this lesson learners will read, listen to and watch the Burns poem, Tam O’Shanter. Learners will then use a free Comic Strip tool to storyboard and bring to life the events in the poem. The storyboard’s will be saved and combined into a class presentation. Although it would be ideal to implement the lesson in the build up to Burns Night it is obviously applicable at any time.


  • To study the Scots language and themes in the Robert Burns poem ‘Tam O’Shanter’.

Learning Outcomes

  • All pupils will gain an appreciation for Burns poetry and the Scots language.
  • Most pupils will be able to give reasons for their personal response to a text.
  • Most pupils will be able to make relevant contributions in a group and work on a group outcome.
  • Some pupils will be able to give an account of the purpose and main concerns of a text.

Learning Intentions

  • To read, watch and discuss ‘Tam O’Shanter’.
  • To work together in groups to create a storyboard of a section of the poem.
  • To perform the poem as a class.

Cross curricular / Interdisciplinary learning Links

  • Expressive Arts: creation of storyboard and performance of poem
Teaching Steps

Step 1 – Get prepared!

Before delivering this lesson you will want to add the following resources as ‘Link Tiles’ to the ‘Shared Launch Pad’ for pupils (watch how to do this):

Click on ‘App Library’ then on ‘Add Tile’ at the bottom right of your screen.


Fill in the required fields, click on ‘generate thumbnail’ then click ‘OK’.


You will be asked to confirm whose Launch Pads you would like to install the link tiles on.  Click ‘SAVE’ and close the box.

To find the tiles you have saved, click on ‘App Library’ on the top left of your screen.

Search for the tiles and click ‘Add to my Launch Pad’.  They will now appear on your Launch Pad (you may have to scroll through a few pages to find it!)

You may wish to get pupils to log into Glow and access the Link Tiles you have created so that they can listen to or watch Tam O’Shanter being read ahead of the lesson.

Now add ‘MakeBeliefsComix’ and ‘RM Books’ from the App Library to the Shared Launch Pad for pupils by searching for them in the ‘App Library’ and installing them to the launch pad.

Open ‘RM Books’ – you will be taken to the bookshop.  Search ‘Tam O’Shanter’ in the search box.

Once you’ve found the poem click on ‘borrow’ and allocate it as you wish.

Now that you’ve allocated Robert Burns Tam O’Shanter to pupils in RM Books, show them how to access it and ask them to practice reading the poem in pairs.

Step 2 – Read Tam O’Shanter as a class

Read through and discuss the poem as a class. Make sure there is a Scots Language glossary/dictionary available to help pupils to understand the story.

Step 4 – Let’s storyboard!

Split the class into groups and allocate each group a section (several verses) of the poem. Ask them to decide on the key point/issue/event in their section and use MakeBeliefsComix to create a storyboard of this.

Each group should present their storyboard to the rest of the class, answer any questions and receive feedback from their peers.

Step 5 – Perform

Groups could come together and recite/perform their sections – possibly on Burns night.

Extension Activity

The class could create a Glow blog about the events in Tam O’Shanter. They could interview characters or create an alternative ending.

Links to the Curriculum for Excellence

This idea can contribute to gathering evidence for the following Experiences and Outcomes.

This lesson plan was featured in a Glow Brochure which was sent to every school in Scotland, if you did not receive the brochure and would like us to send you one please email rmunify@rm.com

Found this lesson useful? Tweet us a picture of your class @RMUnify using this lesson idea and you could be in with a chance to win £100 worth of amazon vouchers.

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