I sat in the back of the hall for assembly, seated next to a colleague at the school, the Reception teacher. The Literacy Coordinator and Deputy Head announced that she was going to share some excellent examples of Poetry written for a competition at the local library.
“I can’t stand Poetry! Bores me to death,” came the comment from next to me. “Great,” I thought, for next week I would be starting a 3 week unit of Poetry, and I was only in the first week of my 3rd Year Placement. What a confidence booster ;).
Things did not improve after the first few lessons. We began looking as a class at a particular poem and the features of poem writing. I always encourage the children to self-assess themselves at the end of the lesson. So, when I got a book back at the end of the 3rd lesson off a child who had put a sad face and ‘This was boring’ I had to sit up. Now, this was a very vocal child who was certainly the most ‘disruptive’child I’ve taught to date, but her opinion was just as valid as any child’s.
I needed to do something or run the risk of losing the children’s engagement and probably the result I wanted from my entire placement as first impressions always count!
So, that night, I looked around, desperately looking for some inspiration…
And it came in the form of this poem:
I actually introduced this poem by reading it myself, in the dullest way possible. The children recognised immediately I was making a point. Then we listened to the performance of Brian Moses, the poet, found on the link.
The effect was amazing. Suddenly, the children were discussing if they had an unusual animal, what would it be and why? What would they do with this animal? How could they describe it? This then led to using features of poems to describe their animal and how they do what they do. They then, after some preparation lessons, wrote their own poems and performed it. Not only that but the children decided to share some for the school’s 50th Anniversary Celebrations.
I would share a couple of performance audio clips but refrain from doing so as I no longer am at the school (it being one of my placement schools) and I don’t have permission of the parents to share anything online, even if it is only their voice.
This was an important learning experience for me but also, I’m sharing this because it is a great poem. I am aware, like my poem-deriding colleague from earlier, that poetry can be dull – but only if it is made dull. And this is the same with any topic/theme/skill I think…although fractions I’m still working on! 😉
So please, if you’re struggling to find poetic inspiration, feel free to use this amazing poem by Brian Moses, or indeed any others you may find on the Poetry Archive.
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/bobaubuchon/5411945096/”>Bob AuBuchon</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/tambako/4328398526/”>Tambako the Jaguar</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>