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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

Teaching & Performing

February 25, 2005

Before We Start:
Workshop activity 1

What is POETRY? How do you define it? What do you think of teaching and learning poetry?

Getting started
Understanding poetry

Word music, the dance of language A.D. Hope

Criticism of life

The spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings

Matthew Arnold
William Wordsworth

What is Poetry?
Poetry is the lava of the imagination W.B. Yeats Lord Byron Blood, imagination and intellect running together

Getting ready to teach

Understanding poetry

Understanding the poem

What 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 Language
Visual imagery
Mental pictures created with words

Explicit comparison, using like, as, similar to, resembles

Implied comparison

Giving human qualities to an animal, object or abstract idea

The Wind Is Angry

The wind is angry --Hes been in a rage all night, Stamping his feet, bellowing and finally breaking out.


The Sea
The sea is a hungry dog, Metaphor Giant and grey. He rolls on the beach all day. With his clashing teeth and shaggy jaws The rumbling, tumbling stones, And Bones, bones, bones, bones! The giant sea-dog moans, Licking his greasy paws. James Reeves

The Laundry Basket

My shirtsleeve hangs Over the rim of the laundry basket Like a limp human arm From the jaws of a crocodile.
Chris Hereward


Poetic Language
Sound imagery
Feelings and moods created by sounds


Repetition of initial consonant sounds in words

Use of words that sound like the objects or actions they describe


Repetition of vowel sounds

Repetition of consonant sounds anywhere in the lines


Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Robert Frost

S (32 times) H (10 times) W (8 times)

long vowels

Alliteration Effect:
soft hissing sound

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.

Have a Go!
Workshop Activity 2


Study the quotations and identify the visual and sound imageries


Visual Imagery: Key

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Metaphor (world = stage; men & women = players) Personification (night = person creeping) Metaphor (life = dream; soul = sleeping man) Simile (soldiers = wolf; spears = stars) Personification (Autumn and Sun are conspiring

6. Personification (sea = laughing man; cliff =

frowning man)


Sound Imagery: Key

1. 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 Language


Regular recurrence of stressed and unstressed sounds in the lines The attributes of rhythm
Meaning Metrical patterns (regular alternation of stressed and unstressed syllables) Grammatical structure Punctuation Pitch Pace



Sit back and listen to the rhythm

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 whistles As it shakes the stout sea-thistles -- How it sings! How it shrieks, shrieks, shrieks, In the crannies of the headlands In the gashes of the creeks; How it shrieks once more, and catches Up the yellow foam in patches: How it whirls it out and over To 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;


Poetic Language


The matching of final vowel or consonant sounds in two or more words

Rhyming / Rhyme scheme A pattern of the end rhymes within the poem


Whats the rhyming scheme?

Rain, rain, go away Come again another day Little children want to play So rain, rain, go away.

a a a a
a b c b d e e

Life is real! Life is earnest! a And the grave is not its goal; b Dust thou art, to dust returnest,a Was not spoken of the soul. b

Write a poem About a lion they said, So from memories Of lions in my head I wrote about Tawny eyes and slashing claws, Lashing tail and sabred jaws

Twinkle, twinkle little star How I wonder who you are Up above the world so high Like a diamond in the sky.

a a b b


Types of poems
Traditional classification


A narrative poem written in four-line stanzas, with swift action and direct style

Blank verse
Unrhymed ten-syllable lines

Free verse
A poem without a regular pattern of metre or rhyme

A long stately poem in stanzas of varied length, meter and form

A five-lined rhymed poem that makes fun

A fourteen-lined lyrical poem that conforms to a set rhyme scheme

A poem expressing grief, of subjective or meditative nature

Types of poem
Modern classification


Acrostic poem
A poem in which the first letter of each line, when read vertically, spell out a word, which is usually the subject of the poem.

Diamond poem
A seven-lined diamondshaped poem that specifies the part of speech in each line, sometimes with contrasting ideas

A Japanese-style poem of three lines, each with a fixed number of syllables (5,7,5 or 4,8,4) -mainly about nature and feelings

Shape poem
Words are placed to make the shape of an object or ideas described

Acrostic poem










Smelly Tofu

Yummy! Spicy, savoury Delicious, heavenly, mouth-watering A brown crispy square of deep-fried bean curd Disgusting, unpleasant, repulsive Stinky, greasy Yucky!


Have a Go!
Workshop Activity 3


Read and identify the form of poem in each item.


Types of Poems (Key)

A: B: C: D: E: F: G: Shape poem Free verse Diamond poem Acrostic poem Limerick Haiku Prose

Teaching the Poem in Class


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 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 inflection patterns

Lesson 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 morning Dressed all in black and grey Put every sound into a bag And carried them away The whistling of the kettle The turning of the lock The purring of the kitten The ticking of the clock The popping of the toaster The crunching of the flakes When you spread the marmalade The scraping noise it makes

The hissing of the frying pan The ticking of the grill The bubbling of the bathtub As it starts to fill
The drumming of the raindrops On the window-pane When you do the washing up The gurgling of the drain The crying of the baby The squeaking of the chair The swishing of the curtain The creaking of the chair A stranger called this morning He didnt leave his name Left us only silence Life 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

To pre-teach vocabulary


Sound 1 Sound 2 Sound 3 Sound 4


Step three: students identify vocabulary in the 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 gift A gift to treasure and keep forever.


Step One: students see pictures, some of which are related to the poem. They write down words which they associate with the pictures, including sounds, smells, feelings not only names of objects


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

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


An alternative poem for teaching about metaphors

Langston Hughes

Hold fast to dreams For if dreams die, Life is a broken-winged bird That cannot fly. Hold fast to dreams For when dreams go, Life is a barren field Frozen with snow.

Please refer to lesson plan


Your Turn!
Mini workshop


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 A haunted house? the Ghosts poems.

Mini book display


Sharing and Discussion


Looking at the subject matter

The 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 Ghosts 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

Another meaning of the poem is about rumours --- Can we always believe what we hear?

They are supposed to be scary ghosts but why do they eat sweets and dance a jig?

Looking at the language and structure

The Headmonster Different senses are used, Hearing stomp, werewolfs 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 lighthearted mood There is some alliteration eg growls like a grizzly bear Ghosts 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 vanish

Teaching 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 Weve heard that, Its 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: 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 poetry


View and Discuss


You are going to watch the performance of two students during their rehearsal
First poem: One That Got Away Second poem: A Psalm of Life
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?

Solo & Choral Verse-speaking

Getting ready for the rehearsal


Teachers 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?


Teachers 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


Rehearsing with the students

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 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 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 Its difficult to undo any mistakes

Choral Speaking


What poems to choose for versespeaking

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 Choral Speaking


Techniques (1)
Orchestration Use different voices for special effect: Divide poem into choral passages, small groups, solo lines or phrases

Use gestures to conduct the speech

Listen to the voices --High or low Rough or smooth Light or dark Melodious or monotonous

Techniques (2)
Achieve extra effects with judicious use of
All speakers using simultaneous gestures; Individuals / small groups gesticulating on certain words / lines

movements sound effects

Percussion Vocal effects Use of costumes or music


Techniques (3)
Make pleasant grouping for better vocal and visual effects 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 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.

Lets watch and appreciate

What do you think of the groups performance?


Key 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

Questioning time


Anthologies 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 Childrens 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 Childrens 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



Thank you!


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