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Poetry in the Classroom
Transcript of Poetry in the Classroom
Lesson One: Introduction to Poetry
Lesson 2: Forms and Structure of Poetry
What are we doing and WHY?
For this topic on Poetry, and based on this week's focus on Oral English, and in adherence to the Australian Curriculum (ACARA) we will focus on the three integrated strands of:
In particular these three strands
relate to -
With these ideas in mind we have broken our lessons up into 4
sessions so that we can adequately cover
LANGUAGE, LITERATURE and LITERACY.
Lesson One will focus specifically on Poetry in its makeup and its purpose.
Aus Vels: Language variation and change ACELA1550
Lesson two will focus on the different form and structure of poetry and its function and contexualisation in society.
Aus Vels: ACELT 1636, ACELT 1772
Lesson three will focus on introductory poetry writing, free association and small bursts of creativity with no limits or graded expectations.
Aus Vels: ACELT1773 & ACELT1638
Lesson four will focus on performance poetry and persuasive techniques in oral presentations.
Aus Vels: Speaking and LIstening - ACELY 1811 & ACELY 1741
Task 2 -
Black out Poetry
Romeo & Juliet
Lesson Three: Introduction to Writing Poetry
Contextualisation of Poetry within the Curriculum
For all young Australians to become successful learners, confident and creative young individuals and active informed citizens"
To examine a range of poetry forms, structures and functions including closed verse, sonnet, free verse, nonsense verse, blank verse, and ode.
Aus VELS: Examining Literature:
Analyse text STRUCTURES and LANGUAGE FEATURES of literary texts, and make relevant comparisons with other texts (ACELT1772)
Analyse texts from familiar and unfamiliar CONTEXT, discuss and evaulate their content and the appeal of an individual author's LITERARY STYLE (ACEL 1636)
Lesson 6 & 7:
Lesson Plan 6
Focus: poetry as strong, expressive, persuasive and responsive with an emotional connection to identity.
'Poetry needs to be seen as something hardy and strong rather than something delicate and effete.' (McFarlane 1994, p. 12)
In groups, students are to receive a topic from the following list and brainstorm different ways this performance technique can be used. They will use the video examples and the Nick Cave extract to provide some examples when the class collaborates on the lists.
Poems to choose from for performances
In groups, students are to choose a poem for their performance. Here is a sample list and attachments including a range of poems from diverse locations, histories and topics but any can be used. The poems are varied in difficulty so groups should be different sizes. Texts can also be adapted or edited to fit group sizes or time limits to make the performances of equal difficulty.
Once students have got their texts to perform, they are to use it to complete the character profile handout. In groups or separately.
Lesson Plan 7
Students are to answer at least 5 of the questions individually as a reflection homework task. The questions are to be written on the whiteboard beore the presentations commence so students can think about or write down their reflections as the performances are taking place.
Character Profile Activity
Over lessons 6 and 7 students will be introduced to poetry as performance, learning performance techniques and using their knowledge to construct and present their own performance.
NOTE: Lessons 6 and 7 are the ones I have outlined but they may have to be accompanied by another lesson, allowing adequate time for students to create and rehearse performances.
Speaking Listening Literacy 2: Use interaction skills to present and discuss an idea and to influence and engage an audience by selecting persuasive language, varying voice tone, pitch, and pace, and using elements such as music and sound effects.
Speaking & Listening Literacy 3: Plan, rehearse and deliver presentations, selecting and sequencing appropriate content and multimodal elements for aesthetic and playful purposes.
‘Unforgettable’ written and performed by Elizabeth Acevedo, Pages Matam, G. Yamazawa at National Poetry Slam Finals 2014
Dublin – spoken poetry in reaction to failing economy. (Examples 2 & 3)
Lingo: Spoken Word Festival in Dublin
‘Children of Dublin’ written and
performed by Bitter Rocc
The Youth Have Come to Murder Art
written and performed by Stephen Clare
"Widely endorsed is the power of poetry as a means towards
, emphasising the responsibility of schools to lead children to an
of those works of literature that have been widely regards as amongst the finest in LANGUAGE."
(Hennessy, J., 2010 p. 178)
(Melbourne Declaration of Educational Goals for Young Australians, 2008, p. 8)
Lesson 2: Key Teaching Resource
Slam Poetry- America
Context: Ireland entered a major recession in 2008, which impacted the Irish in multiple devastating ways. Unemployment, poverty, homelessness, crime and student fees all increased. Lingo: Spoken Word Festival was organised by a small group of Irish creatives to give expression to the strong emotions the Irish felt at their government.
'Try introducing poetry through the study of lyrics [...] as the language of song is often key to unlock students' reluctance to give poetry a closer look.'
-Louise Wakeling 'Facing Down the Fear: Teaching Poetry in the Classroom' in Charged with Meaning, p. 119.
6. Body language & eye contact
8. Props ad music
Extract from 'There She Goes, My Beautiful World' by Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds.
Each group receives a different verse to use when explaining examples.
Scans of samples:
'Hunger': a Nigerian folk poem
'Africa' by David Diop and
'Honeybees' by Paul Fleishman.
Students start annotating their sections of the poem and gather any props or multi-modal elements (e.g. music, slideshows, photos) that they may want to use.
Example of a text that has started being annotated if students are unsure of what is expected:
What did you learn about your developing performance today?
What did you find challenging? Why?
What did you find satisfying? Why?
What did you feel was significant in each group’s performance?
What did you learn about yourself as a performer?
Describe any problems or issues that arose. What solutions might help you solve these?
What adjustments might you have to make in the future?
What motivates you to perform?
What sounds, thoughts, images, and/or emotions inspired you during today’s rehearsal?
What might make you lose interest in participating in class or in performing?
List of questions adapted from: http://www.state.nj.us/education/cccs/21cu/1/Guide%20to%20Student%20Reflection.doc
There are more extensive exercises, which some elements of these are adapted from at: http://www.poetryteachers.com/poetclass/performpoetry.htm
If we are to expect young students to write poetry we must ultimately demystify the relationship between poetry as a form and the reality of the student. It is thus imperative to free the students from restraint, allowing them to express themselves truly within the poetic form.
literary heritage is part of everything we read and write, it should be considered a representation of its time. Students should know they are part of a new heritage, they should see themselves as creators and critics of it.
(QCA, 2005, p.19)
Writing poetry is all bout self expression and turning life experiences into memorable images.
(Smallwood et al, 2012, p.25
Poetry helps us travel beyond ourselves.
(Duke & Jacobsen, 1983, p.7)
The most successful teachers are apt to be those who are best able to adapt to the texts their students write and accept the roles their students negotiate. They are those who play various roles in the classroom, who can adopt numerous personas, and who willingly experiment with authority, both in commenting on student texts and in classroom interaction,
(Bizzaro, 1993, p.220)
was the werewolf
in his evil forest.
We took him
to the carnival
and he started
when he saw
the Ferris wheel.
green and red tears
his furry cheeks.
like a boat
out on the dark
Richard Brautigan, 1965
This Is Just To Say
I have eaten
that were in
you were probably
they were delicious
and so cold
William Carlos Williams, 1934
Start your poem with one of the following statements:
I remember . . .
I'll shouldn't say this but . . .
The last time I . . .
My favorite . . .
Imagine you are an object, describe yourself in detail, beginning each line with the words 'I am . . .'
Here's a list to get you started:
an item of furniture
an item of clothing
a time of day (be precise)
an aspect of the weather (e.g. hurricane, mist)
a public building (anywhere in the world - name it)
an ordinary building (anywhere in the world)
1. Do not write to the edge of the page
2. When you write, let things spill out, even
if they seem wild or unrelated.
3. Let each thought catch onto another.
4. Go on your hunches.
5. For the time being forget about spelling
6. Don't cross out. (Later you can always
choose what you want to keep)
7. Write what you really feel, not what you think you should feel.
8. Stick to the truth - the truth of your perceptions, the truth of
9. Consider the work you are doing as a kind of exploration, so
that when you get there you will know where you have been.
Rules For Writing Poetry Today!
Making art from news
Poetry is often about recreation of previous art, as shown in Baz Luhrmann's Romeo and Juliet.
Create literary texts, including hybrid texts that innovate on aspects of other texts, for example by using parody, allusion & appropriation (ACELT1773).
Experiment with the ways that language features, image & sound can be adapted in literary texts, for example the effects of stereotypical characters and settings, the playfulness of humour & pun & the use of hyperlink (ACELT1638).
Adams, P 2009, ‘Imaginative recreation of literature’, in Gannon, S, Howie, M & Sawyer, W (eds), Charged with meaning: re-viewing English, 3rd edn, Phoenix Education, Putney, NSW.
Manuel J., 2012, 'Teenagers and Reading: Factors that shape the quality of teenager's reading lives', English in Australia, Vol. 2, pp. 45-55
McFarlane, P 1994, ‘Teaching poetry: the fearful art?’, Idiom, vol. xxix, no. 2, pp. 7-13.
Mclean R., 2006, 'The Balanced Model of LIeracy Teaching', Faculty of Education, Deakin University, Geelong, Australia
Ministrial Council on Education Employment, Training Youth Affaris, 2008, "The Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australian's", Carlton, Melbourne
Rigs B., 2012, '(Re)Incorporating Poetry into the Secondary English Curriculum', Western Kentucky University, TOP Scholar, Spring, 2012, Source:
Wakeling, L 2009, ‘Facing down the fear: teaching poetry in the classroom’, in Gannon, S, Howie, M & Sawyer, W (eds), Charged with meaning: re-viewing English, 3rd edn, Phoenix Education, Putney, NSW, pp. 113-122.
How can poetry say the unspeakable?
Example Focus questions for students/teachers
Why did this poet choose to speak this poem and not write it down?
What are the effects of a spoken poem?
What poetic devices can you identify?
What is the message of the poem?
Bennett, T., 2008, 'Red Room Company', Source: http://redroomcompany.org/media/uploads/primary_english_article_scans.pdf, Retrieved, 14/4/2015
“Why do we value form? Perhaps the answer lies in the secrets of our musculature, in our dark roots. Why do we live in square rooms? Why do we draw mechanical doodles when we are bored? Why do we tap our feet to music? Perhaps there is a profound link between the meter of verse and the human pulse, the rhythm of life itself.”
- Rigs B., 2012, p. 5
"Good poetry does undoubtedly tend to form the soul and character; it tends to beget a love of beauty and truth in alliance together, it suggests, however indirectly, high and noble principles of action, and it inspires the emotion so helpful in making principles operative"
Bizzaro P, 1993,
Responding to Student Poems:
Application of Critical Theory, National Council of Teahers of English
Duke R & Jacobsen S, 1983,
Reading & Writing Poetry: Successful Approaches for the Student Teacher
, Onyx Press, Phoenix.
Dymoke et al, 2015,
Making Poetry Happen: Transforming the Poetry Classroo
m, Bloomsbury Publishing, London.
Qualifications & Curriculum Authority, 2005,
English 21: A National Conversation on the Future of English
, QCA, London.
Smallwood et al, 2012,
Women on Poetry: Writing, Revising, Publishing & Teaching
, McFarland & Company Inc Publishing, NC.
This activity helps to create an environment for 'interpretation by recreation and re-creation by interpretation';
Students' understanding of a text is both being consolidated and displayed by imaginative re-creation; and
'...the relationship between the original text and the student's re-creation is a reciprocal one: each serves to illuminate the other, both in terms of form and meaning'.
(Adams 2010, p. 53-66)