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I Notice...

I Notice...

An effective way of getting your students to notice, think about and ask questions about historical objects is to use this simple technique which enables them to produce a short poem in the process!

Here’s how to do it:
  • Get your students to look at a selection of historical objects and select something that catches their eye (i.e. this phototgraph of an item from Newcastle University Special Collections)
    • On the second line write down what it is you are looking at (or if you are not sure, write down what you think it might be)
    • On the third line write down the end of this sentence ‘I noticed you because….’
    • On the fourth line write down a simile about the object
    • On the fifth line, write down a question you have about it
  • Then put all of them together and you have your poem!
For Example:


match boxes with matches still inside

you are battered and partially used

Who did you belong to?

Image reference: TBB 1/9, Newcastle University Special Collections

You may want to print out and use the I Notice... A Poetry Technique pdf to do this activity.

To find out more about these particular objects, visit our Amazing Archives website: First World War Matchboxes – Amazing Archives (

Top Tip

This can be a really effective activtiy to do in a museum setting. In fact, this is where we first came across it being used.