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Showing posts from 2008

Try Writing a LUNE

Lunes are poems in a package. They are not limited to specific subject which makes then different to haiku. They have no necessary association with nature or seasons.

Their structure is :

Three lines
First line – 3 words
Second line – 5 words
Third line – 3 words

Example:

Think of me
As a ballerina quietly twirling
Around the neighborhood


From the clifftop
I sang silly love songs
To the moon

When I laugh
No sound  leaves my mouth
Is that sad?

Your Lunes become more interesting if you can provide a surprise ending in the final line.

Children enjoy writing Lunes because the structure makes it easy for them to participate in writing poetry and there is a high degree of success.

Rhyme Within Reason

Poetry is an extremely flexible writing form. It is easily weaved into our writing programs across the year as opposed to just being pigeon holed into a specific unit of work. Poetry offers a unique response to literature -fiction or non fiction. Such is the flexible nature of poetry.

That our classrooms are filled with poetry that is enjoyable to listen to or fun to read is important, but it may not necessarily provide the best models for writing. From an early age children have much exposure to a significant amount of rhyming verse. However, when young writers attempt to create their own rhyming verses it often sounds forced or clunky to the ear. They begin to suffer ‘ the moon in June with a spoon ‘ syndrome!

The writer becomes more focused on findings words that rhyme rather than attending to meaning. The end result often has little or nothing to say. It’s ho hum. We need to direct them towards an understanding that word choice is critical to being an effective writer.

As an alte…

Killing Off Poetry

Somewhere between kindergarten and high school we lose all those potential poetry fans, and the answer to this seems simple. It happens because teachers stop writing, reading and performing poetry and begin to merely focus on dissecting and analysing it. They chop it into tiny pieces. So tiny are those pieces that one can no longer hear the rhythm and the rhyme. It concerns me greatly that in too many classrooms the teaching of poetry has been reduced to a clinical examination- The poem as autopsy. This dissecting of wondrous words is undertaken by teachers who lack a basic understanding of the poet’s simple desire to be shared.

The pleasure that previously took place with poetry performance evaporates. Disenchanted students are asked to search for hidden meanings and obscure symbolism. It takes little time before poetry becomes dull and tarnished. Those once eager young fans gradually drift away. The essential fact that we learn to write by actually writing is lost in the process.

Moi…

The Poet's Suitcase

If we want students to view poetry books with a sense of enthusiastic anticipation we need to alert them to its potential. If we want students to have an answer to the question “ And tell me, who is your favorite poet?” then we must expose them to the world of poetry and its various forms.

In exposing our students to poetry we need to let them hear poetry, see poetry and feel the impact that poetry can have on the reader and listener. When we take this approach, students will begin to develop personal tastes in poetry. They will speak with authority about their preferred poets; their preferred styles. They will begin to truly know poetry.

In The Beginning…
When beginning this journey I frequently conduct a workshop where I provide a poetry taste test for students to sample a range of poetic forms. I present a feast of favorites, a smorgasbord of stanzas from which curious readers may select.

The Poet’s Suitcase

To facilitate this poetry tasting I bring my poet’s suitcase into the classroom…

I Remember Poem

This type of poem provides vivid, personal, insights into the writer’s world.
It allows students to understand that poetry can be constructed using their own speech patterns .

To begin, provide a model –maybe your own, that presents DETAIL and then discuss what ‘detail’ means. Young poets need to be encouraged to ‘flesh’ out their memories with detail that was a part of the original experience. Encourage them to pretend that they are recalling a one minute story and they need to retell it clearly.

Apart from creating a list poem of reclaimed memories, your students have also created a ‘topic list’ for use at another time.



REMEMBERANCES
I remember slicing the side of my hand on my Grandfather’s axe on his 80th birthday
I remember thinking there were crocodiles in the creek and being afraid to go there
I remember my father’s face covered in blood after the car knocked him from his bike –and then drove away
I remember my aunts warning me about the home for naughty boys with its ten feet high …

List Poems Are Easy To Like

A list poem is one of the easiest kinds of poems to write because it doesn't require a set rhythm or rhyme. But that doesn't mean you should write anything down helter- skelter.

Consider the inclusion of the following elements to make a list poem a poem instead of just a list:

• The writer is telling you something--pointing something out--saying, "Look at this," or, "Think about this."
• There's a beginning and end to it, like in a story.
• In other words, the poem needs to make sense and have some kind of flow to it.

List poems provide an easy and successful structure to get children feeling more comfortable with poetry. They are to be found in the poetry of many cultures and have been employed successfully by many contemporary poets.

Poetry is full of surprises. List also need to be full of surprises. Without the occasional surprise your list poems will have all the appeal of a supermarket shopping list on a day when you don't want to go shopping!

Here …

Some Considerations for Poets...

Consider Fragments

One way to approach poetry is to think in terms of ‘fragments’ Because a poem is an impressionistic form of writing, we need to view it as a chance to paint with words. We need to capture a single moment, an image. Fragments work like a small dab of colour applied to a canvas. When words are used in this way, they bring the writing to life.- they inject energy into the writing.

Michael, a fourth grade student wrote

The Subway
People everywhere
Pushing, shoving
Packed in like sardines
Can hardly breathe-

How different the poem would have sounded if Michael had written his poem in complete sentences:

There are people everywhere,
Pushing and shoving
We are packed in like sardines.
We can hardly breathe

It is therefore important to teach young poets how to pare back their thoughts so that they are capturing ‘fragments’ that will convey the energy that poetry requires.

Consider Shape

When you’re writing a narrative you don’t need to think quite as much about how it looks on the page.…

Some Ways to Respond to a Poem

POETRY AS A PERFORMANCE

The next time you invite your students to perform poetry you might consider some of the following ideas to spark their thoughts:


Combining poetry and music to add to the atmosphere the words convey.

Adding artwork or designing props to accompany the presentation.

Adding sound effects.

Adding movements, gestures to the performance.

Use a choral reading technique where multiple and solo voices are used to present different parts of the poem.

Presenting poems that require several individual voices.

Video the reading of the poem against an artistic backdrop or series of drawings and paintings created by students.

Record using an app like Soundcloud (free!)


Poetry In Emotion

I tried this approach to poetry at Heany Park  Primary School with some Grade 5 students and thought I would share it with you.
When it comes to emotions it’s better to write it out than act it out!
To be able to write about emotions, we first have to acknowledge that we have them. We have to adopt a show don’t tell approach when we look inside to find physical descriptions for the emotions we wish to describe.




Procedure:

• Share the poems provided (below) as models of ‘emotion poems’

• Ask students what they notice about the structure of the poems.

• You may need to point out the noun- verb pattern used extensively in the poems.

• Brainstorm some emotional states such as being happy, lazy, nervous, anxious, crazy etc.

• Invite students to write a poem using the structure of the emotion poems and an emotion of their choice.

• Remind students that their poems should reflect the noun –verb pattern of the earlier poems

• Ask the students to share their poems with a partner without giving the emot…

Some ways to enliven your instruction

• Ask students to substitute their own words, (adjectives, verbs) in a given passage that you have presented them. Then ask them to do the same in a passage of their own writing.

• Ask your students to rewrite a sentence in a number of different ways, such as rearranging word order, altering vocabulary, adding details, replacing generalizations with specific details, etc.

• You may simply ask students to imitate the style of known writers and poets and then innovate on the given text, using the ideas mentioned previously. These altered poems provide children with the opportunity to substitute words and phrases within a given framework.

• Expanding simple sentences. Give your students opportunities to expand a simple sentence into a whole story or poem.

• Encourage your children to scan the dictionary looking for words that could be the idea or spark for a poem.

• Create tongue twisting lists of alliterative speech.

• Try going chopping! Prose chopping that is; Provide your students with …

The Point About POETRY

As educators we should draw attention to the shape and sound of poetry, encouraging children to be active listeners and observers.

They need to be aware that poetry exists all around them; - a living thing that can be found in the very words they speak, the games they play, the rhymes and chants they themselves create.

Whilst today's teachers are generally more at ease with the position of poetry in the English curriculum and the desirability of exposing students to the reading and presentation of poetry, closer examination reveals that anxiety still exists when it comes to the writing of poetry.

This is not a new phenomenon. Many of us maintain hang- ups about writing poetry. The writing of poetry continues to be something that other people do -an elite form of communication. Students often receive such messages from their teachers. It has become part of the hidden curriculum.

Children should be more than passive receivers of poetry, they should be given the opportunity to partici…

What We Do To Poetry

During that journey from kindergarten through high school we lose all those fans of poetry, and the answer is simple. It happens because we stop writing, reading and performing poetry and just focus on dissecting and analyzing it. We chop it up into pieces.It is reading by autopsy! We can no longer hear the rhythm and rhyme. We lose the pleasure that comes with performance. We seek only hidden meaning and obscure symbolism. Poetry in such an environment becomes dull and tarnished. The fans begin to drop off…
We have lost sight of the fact that we learn to write by writing –and by writing we arrive at understanding.”