Teaching and Performing Poetry_20060225seed Network
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Teaching & Performing Teaching & Performing PoetryPoetry February 25, 2005
Professional Development Activity for “Enhancing the Interface
between the Junior Secondary and the Three-year Senior Secondary Curricula through Promoting the
Learning and Teaching of Language Arts”
Before We Start: Before We Start: Workshop activity 1Workshop activity 1
What is POETRY? How do youyou define it?
What do you think of teaching and learning poetry?
Getting startedGetting started
Understanding poetryUnderstanding poetry
Word music, the dance of language
Criticism of life
Poetry is the lava of the imagination
The spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings
What is Poetry?What is Poetry?
Blood, imagination and intellect running
Getting ready to teachGetting ready to teach
Understanding poetryUnderstanding poetry
Understanding the poemUnderstanding the poemWhat is happening in the poem?
• What idea and theme does the poet want to deliver?
How is it presented by the poet? Techniques : language, sound, imageries,
punctuation, pattern on the page
Why did the poet write this poem? What is his message or purpose? Why do I teach this poem?
Poetic LanguagePoetic Language
Visual imageryVisual imagery
Mental pictures created with words
Explicit comparison, using ‘like’, ‘as’, ‘similar to’, ‘resembles’
Giving human qualities to an animal, object or abstract idea
The Wind Is Angry The wind is angry ---He’s been in a rage all night,Stamping his feet, bellowing and finally breaking out.… … …
The sea is a hungry dog,Giant and grey.He rolls on the beach all day.With his clashing teeth and shaggy jawsThe rumbling, tumbling stones,And ‘Bones, bones, bones, bones!’The giant sea-dog moans,Licking his greasy paws.… … … James Reeves
The SeaThe Sea
The Laundry Basket
My shirtsleeve hangsOver the rim of the laundry basketLike a limp human armFrom the jaws of a crocodile.
Poetic LanguagePoetic Language
Sound imagerySound imagery
Feelings and moods created by sounds
Alliteration Repetition of initial consonant sounds in words
OnomatopoeiaUse of words that sound like the objects or actions they describe
Around the rugged rock, the ragged rascal ran
I flung out my
arms Clatter Clash Crinkle Crunch Now a broom
Swish Swoosh Sweep Swoop
AssonanceRepetition of vowel sounds
Consonance Repetition of consonant sounds anywhere in
I rose and told him of my woe
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
Whose woods these are I think I know. His house is in the village though; He will not see me stopping here To watch his woods fill up with snow. My little horse must think it queer To stop without a farmhouse near Between the woods and frozen lake The darkest evening of the year. He gives his harness bells a shake To ask if there is some mistake. The only other sound's the sweep Of easy wind and downy flake. The woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep. And miles to go before I sleep.
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
Consonance S (32 times) H (10 times) W (8 times)Assonance long vowelsAlliteration
Effect: soft hissing sound
Have a Go!Have a Go!
Workshop Activity 2
Study the quotations and identify the visual and
Visual Imagery: KeyVisual Imagery: Key
1. Metaphor (world = stage; men & women = players)
2. Personification (night = person creeping)
3. Metaphor (life = dream; soul = sleeping man)
4. Simile (soldiers = wolf; spears = stars)
5. Personification (Autumn and Sun are conspiring friends)
6. Personification (sea = laughing man; cliff = frowning man)
Sound Imagery: KeySound Imagery: Key1. Onomatopoeia (choo-choo puff-puff Pull, pull, pull)
2. Consonance ([s] sound)
3. Onomatopoeia (boom, crash)
Consonance ([r] sound in second line)
4. Alliteration ([b] sound)
5. Assonance ([ai] sound)
6. Alliteration ([r] sound)
Poetic LanguagePoetic Language
The attributes of rhythmThe attributes of rhythm Meaning Metrical patterns (regular alternation of stressed
and unstressed syllables) Grammatical structure Punctuation Pitch Pace
RhythmRegular recurrence of stressed and unstressed sounds in the lines
E.g.Iambic --- x / (about)Trochaic --- /x (poem)
THE SONG OF THE SEA WINDAustin Dobson
How it sings, sings, sings,Blowing sharply from the sea-line,With an edge of salt that stings;
How it laughs aloud, and passes,As it cuts the close cliff-grasses;
How it sings again, and whistlesAs it shakes the stout sea-thistles --–
How it sings!How it shrieks, shrieks, shrieks,
In the crannies of the headlandsIn the gashes of the creeks;
How it shrieks once more, and catchesUp the yellow foam in patches:
How it whirls it out and overTo the corn-field and the clover –--
How it shrieks!How it roars, roars, roars,
In the iron under-caverns,In the hollows of the shores;How it roars anew, and thunders,
As the strong hull splits and sunders:And the spent ship, tempest driven,
On the reef lies rent and riven –--How it roars!
How it wails, wails, wails,In the tangle of the wreckage,
In the flapping of the sails;How it sobs away, subsiding,
Like a tired child after chiding;
Sit back and listen to the rhythm
Poetic LanguagePoetic Language
RhymeRhymeThe matching of final vowel or consonant The matching of final vowel or consonant sounds in two or more wordssounds in two or more words
Rhyming / Rhyme schemeRhyming / Rhyme schemeA pattern of the end rhymes within the poem
What’s the rhyming scheme?What’s the rhyming scheme?Life is real! Life is earnest!And the grave is not its goal;Dust thou art, to dust returnest,Was not spoken of the soul.
Twinkle, twinkle little starHow I wonder who you areUp above the world so highLike a diamond in the sky.
Rain, rain, go awayCome again another dayLittle children want to playSo rain, rain, go away.
Write a poemAbout a lion they said,So from memoriesOf lions in my headI wrote aboutTawny eyes and slashing claws,Lashing tail and sabred jaws
Types of poemsTypes of poems
Traditional classificationTraditional classification
BalladBalladA narrative poem written in four-line stanzas, with swift
action and direct style
SonnetSonnetA fourteen-lined lyrical
poem that conforms to a set rhyme scheme
Blank verseBlank verseUnrhymed ten-syllable lines
OdeOdeA long stately poem in
stanzas of varied length, meter and form
ElegyElegyA poem expressing grief, of
subjective or meditative nature
LimerickLimerickA five-lined rhymed poem
that makes fun
Free verseFree verseA poem without a regular pattern of metre or rhyme
Ode to Autumn
Shall I Compare Thee
to a Summer’s Day?
Types of poemTypes of poem
Modern classificationModern classification
Acrostic poemAcrostic poemA poem in which A poem in which the first letter of the first letter of each line, when each line, when read vertically, read vertically,
spell out a word, spell out a word, which is usually which is usually
the subject of the subject of the poem.the poem.
Diamond poemDiamond poemA seven-lined A seven-lined diamond-diamond-
shaped poem that shaped poem that specifies the part of specifies the part of speech in each line, speech in each line,
sometimes with sometimes with contrasting ideascontrasting ideas
HaikuHaikuA Japanese-style A Japanese-style
poem of three lines, poem of three lines, each with a fixed each with a fixed
number of syllables number of syllables (5,7,5 or 4,8,4) -- (5,7,5 or 4,8,4) --
mainly about nature mainly about nature and feelingsand feelings
Shape poemShape poemWords are placed to Words are placed to make the shape of make the shape of an object or ideas an object or ideas
N O T ENO
Delicious, heavenly, mouth-wateringA brown crispy square of deep-fried bean curd
Disgusting, unpleasant, repulsiveStinky, greasy
Have a Go!Have a Go!
Workshop Activity 3
Read and identify the form of poem in each item.
Types of Poems Types of Poems (Key)(Key)
A: Shape poemB: Free verseC: Diamond poemD: Acrostic poemE: LimerickF: HaikuG: Prose
Teaching the PoemTeaching the Poemin Classin Class
Consider the following…Consider the following…• Is the poem thematically related to the lesson?
• How can you help your students to understand the poem?
• How can you help students to appreciate some important poetic devices?
• How can you help students to respond to the poem? What kind of response will you aim for?
Teaching strategiesTeaching strategies Use pictures, realia, situations, context etc to help
students visualise the meaning of the poem.
Use different strategies and activities to encourage students to respond to the poem
Commenting on the ideas, themes and events Relating these to their own experience Acting out or writing something related to the poem
extend their language learning experience teach about features of poetry
Let students hear the poem and follow it Familiarize them with the intonation, stress and
Lesson ExamplesLesson Examples“The Sound Collector” by Roger McGough
– onomatopoeia,– vocabulary development– support understanding
“My Friend Through My Eyes” by Amy Poon– teaching about metaphor– framework for students’ own writing
“Dreams” by Langston Hughes (for reference)
The Sound Collector
A stranger called this morningDressed all in black and greyPut every sound into a bagAnd carried them away
The whistling of the kettleThe turning of the lockThe purring of the kittenThe ticking of the clock
The popping of the toasterThe crunching of the flakesWhen you spread the marmaladeThe scraping noise it makes
The hissing of the frying panThe ticking of the grillThe bubbling of the bathtubAs it starts to fill
The drumming of the raindropsOn the window-paneWhen you do the washing upThe gurgling of the drain
The crying of the babyThe squeaking of the chairThe swishing of the curtainThe creaking of the chair
A stranger called this morningHe didn’t leave his nameLeft us only silenceLife will never be the same.
• Step One:– Students match
words and pictures
• Step Two– Students listen to
sounds and match them with the pictures.
– They then match the item that makes the sound with the word for that sound
• Objective:– To pre-teach
• Sound 1
• Sound 2
• Sound 3
• Sound 4
Step three: students identify vocabulary in Step three: students identify vocabulary in the poem. They list their favourite soundsthe poem. They list their favourite sounds
• Step Four:– Students make poems
listing the sounds which they hear in particular locations.
– They may use the sounds to tell a story if they wish.
MY FRIEND – THROUGH MY EYES
You are a star in the sky,Bright and shining,Guiding me with your light,With you, I know the way.
You are an umbrella in the rain,Loving and protecting,You help me so much,With you, I know I am safe.
You are a candle on a dark night,Warm and comforting,You make me strong,With you, I am never alone.
You are a rainbow after a storm,Beautiful and colourful,You always give me hope,A promise that will last
Friendship is a precious giftA gift to treasure and keep forever.
Step One: students see pictures, some of which Step One: students see pictures, some of which are related to the poem. They write down words are related to the poem. They write down words which they associate with the pictures, including which they associate with the pictures, including sounds, smells, feelings – not only names of sounds, smells, feelings – not only names of objectsobjects
• Objectives of this activity– to prepare
students for reading the poem by pre-teaching some vocabulary
– to introduce the concept of metaphors as “word pictures”
– to generate some ideas for students to use in their own writing
• Step Two:– Students match
the verses of the poem with some of the pictures from the first worksheet
• Objectives:– Check
comprehension– Show how words
can also create pictures
Step Three: students write “word pictures” based on the pictures from the powerpoint but not in the poem
Step Four: students create poems using their own “word pictures” or metaphors
Weaker classes made badges with metaphors on them as gifts for their friends
DreamsDreamsLangston HughesLangston Hughes
Hold fast to dreamsHold fast to dreamsFor if dreams die,For if dreams die,Life is a broken-winged Life is a broken-winged
birdbirdThat cannot fly.That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreamsHold fast to dreamsFor when dreams go,For when dreams go,Life is a barren fieldLife is a barren fieldFrozen with snow.Frozen with snow.
An alternative poem for teaching about metaphors
Please refer to lesson plan
Your Turn!Your Turn!Mini workshop
A haunted house?Ghosts
Refer to the poems “The Headmonster” and “Ghosts” (yellow sheets).
Listen to the poems. Work in pairs. Complete the checklist (beige
sheet) for one of the poems.
Let’s Have a BreakLet’s Have a Break
Mini book display
Sharing Sharing and and
Looking at the subject matterLooking at the subject matterThe Headmonster
A light-hearted poem about the arrival of a new headmaster at the school
The speaker is probably a student or group of students.
The students are afraid of the new headmaster, and a lot of rumours are circulating about him
Another meaning of the poem is about rumours --- Can we always believe what we hear?
• Also light-hearted, descriptive poem about a ghosts’ party
• The speaker is a narrator, not a ghost
• The poem describes how the ghosts enjoy themselves at a party
• They are supposed to be scary ghosts – but why do they eat sweets and dance a jig?
Looking at the language and structureLooking at the language and structureThe Headmonster
Different senses are used, Hearing “stomp,
werewolf’s howl” Touch “icicle stare,
razor-sharp” Images are of scary
monsters, supernatural evil creatures. The visual element is very strong
The poem rhymes, and has a strong rhythm, which adds to the light-hearted mood
There is some alliteration eg “growls like a grizzly bear”
• Mainly visual and sound images
• Many contrasts feature in the poem, e.g. spooky images at the beginning, but the middle part is quite funny (e.g. a baby sucking its thumb), noise vs. silence at different points, dark outside and noisy action inside the haunted house
• The poem rhymes, and there is a change in the rhythmic pattern which divides description of the setting from the action of the party.
• Alliteration, e.g. “bone all bare”• Abrupt ending as the ghosts
Teaching implications: The HeadmonsterTeaching implications: The Headmonster Curriculum link: Halloween or the beginning of term
Preparation: brainstorming Halloween context, matching pictures and vocabulary
Vocabulary: names of monsters, strong visual element makes it not so difficult to put across new vocabulary by using pictures and actions
Language: Introducing reported speech “We’ve heard that…”, “It’s rumoured that…..” in the context of passing on rumours
Activities: Matching pictures with verses of the poem, drawing pictures of the “Headmonster”, act out his first lesson or assembly. A parent writes a letter of complaint, etc
Teaching implications: GhostsTeaching implications: Ghosts• Curriculum link
– Halloween / Mystery and fantasy– Narrative or descriptive writing
• Preparation– Use of sound effects and pictures to create the scene
• Vocabulary and Language: – Many different verbs for movement and sounds– Descriptive vocabulary setting the spooky scene– A narrative in the present tense
• Activities:– Act out the scene or draw a storyboard– Create some spooky food for the ghosts’ party– Choral speaking performance – Read some scary stories for extensive reading
Performing poetryPerforming poetry
View View and and DiscussDiscuss
You are going to watch the You are going to watch the performance of two students performance of two students during their rehearsalduring their rehearsal
While you watch, note the strengths and weaknesses of each performance.
As a teacher, what comments / suggestions for improvement would you give to the students?
First poem: “One That Got Away”Second poem: “A Psalm of Life”
Solo & Choral Solo & Choral Verse-speakingVerse-speaking
Getting ready for the rehearsal
Teacher’s preparationTeacher’s preparation Read the poem aloud to yourself ---
How would you read it to put across the meaning? Experiment different ways of saying it Decide how you want the students to say it
Check pronunciation and meaning of words in context Note
any emphasis, stress & intonation pattern the mood of the poem. Which words convey the mood?
Teacher’s preparation (2)Teacher’s preparation (2)
Identify and mark in the rhythmic stress pattern ---
Put special emphasis on: words / phrases that carry special meaning Words that convey the mood
Note the end of lines, where to pause and where one line runs on to the next
Analyse the poem to identify potential problems to the students
Ensure students’ good comprehension and visualization of the poem
Model the reading
Let students experiment reading --- focus on correct and clear pronunciation first
Achieve emphasis by varying the volume / pitch / pauses / pace
Rehearsing with the studentsRehearsing with the students
Rehearsing with the students (2)Rehearsing with the students (2)
Ensure that students have mastered the pronunciation before working on the rhythm and intonation
Train students to highlight the following through their voice and facial expressions :
significant words that need special treatment (sense words, onomatopoeia)
the climax / punch line
the contrast (fast & slow, hard & soft, staccato & smooth, heavy & light)
Useful tipsUseful tips Teach and ensure understanding of the whole
poem, but rehearse section by section
Do not use explanation only --- Students must visualise and appreciate the
poem before they can speak it meaningfully.
Never allow premature memorisation --- Memorization of the words without feeling is
disastrous It’s difficult to undo any mistakes
Choral SpeakingChoral Speaking
What poems to choose for verse-What poems to choose for verse-speakingspeaking Poems that you like and have confidence in Poems that students understand and
appreciate --- relevant to their experience
(For choral work) Poems with variety and contrasts Avoid ‘static’ and abstract poems Narrative poems are good as a start Not poems with ‘I’ as the subject
Techniques for Techniques for Choral SpeakingChoral Speaking
Techniques (1)Techniques (1) Orchestration – Use different voices for special effect:
Divide poem into • choral passages, • small groups, • solo lines or phrases
Refer to the examples of “The Freight Train”& “Ghost”: Use gestures to conduct the speech
Listen to the voices --- High or lowRough or smoothLight or darkMelodious or monotonous
Techniques (2)Techniques (2) Achieve extra effects with judicious use of
movements sound effects
costumes or props
•Percussion•Vocal effects•Use of music
• All speakers using simultaneous gestures;• Individuals / small groups gesticulating on certain words / lines
Techniques (3)Techniques (3)Make pleasant grouping for better vocal and
• Group according to quality of voices (dark / light)
• Students speaking together stand together• Change grouping to fit changes of mood• Shapes can be related to topic• All speakers should be seen
Useful tipsUseful tips It is essential for every speaker to know the whole
poem. Never divide the class into groups and give each group
different parts of the poem to learn.
It is important for learners to show their involvement and enjoyment through facial expressions and eye contact
A good blend of voices and synchronized movements show good co-ordination
Maintain good discipline at all times.
Let’s watch and Let’s watch and appreciateappreciate
What do you think of the What do you think of the group’s performance?group’s performance?
Key to successKey to success
Clear speech and accurate pronunciation are of paramount importance
A touch of drama is essential Never overdo any extra effects --- they should add to
and not distract from the poem It is important that students enjoy the choral work ---
know when to stop. Aim not at perfection, but spontaneity. Adapt your
expectation and treatment to bring out the best in the students
SUCCESS !SUCCESS !
Questioning timeQuestioning time
Anthologies of PoemsAnthologies of Poems• Brian Pattern (ed.) (1998) The Puffin Book of Utterly
Brilliant Poetry. London, Puffin Books• Michael Harrison & Christopher Stuart-Clark (Eds.)
(1999) The New Oxford Treasury of Children’s Poems. Oxford, Oxford University Press
• Sadler, Hayllar, Powell (1981) Enjoying Poetry. South Yarra, Macmillan Education Australia Pty Ltd
• Michael Rosen (ed.) (1985) The Kingfisher Book of Children’s Poetry. London, Kingfisher Publications Plc
• Helen Ferris (ed.) (1965) Favorite Poems Old and New. USA, Doubleday & Company, Inc.
• Pappas, Lewis & Middenway (ed.) (1979) Images. Melbourne, Longman Cheshire
Poetry is fun and enjoyable !
and rehearsal !