WHEN EMOTIONS FIND THEIR WORDS

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Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.

Robert Frost

Poetry is timeless.

Poetry is on the timelines.

It isn’t the first time the numerous “finest people on Planet Earth” aka English teachers have engaged in challenging each other to post their favorite poems on Facebook, and, based on the fun they appear to be having, it won’t be the last.

Poetry is a great resource for the classroom.  It may help throw in some emotion, get creative juices flowing and give students a chance to experiment with language and vocabulary.

Poetry is a fragile ‘handle with care’ resource as it keeps its emotion as long as it is relevant and experiential rather than an intellectual “what-is-the-message-and-how-is-it-achieved” exercise for learners.

In today’s post, I’ll share a few favourites of mine – real gems blending poetry, images, music and drama that would leave no one indifferent – and accompanying activities that I have designed for my classes.

I.

London by Emma Bennallick

Step 1. Before students watch the video, split them into teams and have them read the poem and guess the place described. Ask the teams to justify their guesses by giving “clues” from the poem. Could it be their place?

London by Emma Bennallick

Step 2. The students watch the video and check if they guessed correctly.

Step 3. Writing a diamante poem. Tell the students that they will try to compare their place with London in a poetic “diamond” form.

London vs. …. (your place name)

A diamante is an unrhymed seven-line poem. The beginning and ending lines are the shortest, while the lines in the middle are longer, giving diamante poems a diamond shape.

Noun
Adjective, Adjective
Verb, Verb, Verb
Noun, Noun, Noun, Noun
Verb, Verb, Verb
Adjective, Adjective
Noun

In this diamante, we’ll try to compare London and Podgorica /ˈpɔdɡɔˌriːtsa/ – a fantastic “under the little mountain” (the literal meaning) place.

London
Adjective, Adjective
Verb, Verb, Verb
Noun, Noun, Noun, Noun
Verb, Verb, Verb
Adjective, Adjective
Podgorica

Have the students brainstorm their associations with each place and fill in the two columns with 3-5 adjectives describing both places. Don’t worry if you have more words than you need. It’s better to have too many words to choose from than not enough.

For example:

London Podgorica
Busy Quiet
Crowded Unique
Striking Bijou
Impressive  Picturesque

You can also play the WOW game with your students to master the art of a nicer way to say “nice”:)

Alternatively, you can play the Association game to get the students to think about their associations with the places:

Ask all the students to stand up. The first player says any word that they associate with the chosen word (e.g. London). The next player must then do the same with the first player’s word. This continues from player to player. If a player says a disassociated word, repeats a word or is too slow to answer, they are out and have to sit down. The winner is the last person left standing.

Now get the students to think of some buildings and landmarks in London (e.g. Tower Bridge or Trafalgar Square and Nelson’s Column in London) and Podgorica (Millennium Bridge). Ask them to imagine that they are actually these buildings/landmarks and have them describe/write about what they see.

People passing by

The sun is shining so bright

Trees are gently swinging

Darkness is falling and shadows are growing long

Couples are kissing

The city sky is lit by lights

(*This exercise could be used to write a catalogue poem in which students will start each line with their place name)

Now the teams are ready to arrange their diamante, putting the capital names at the top and bottom, the adjectives next, on lines 2 and 6, the verbs after that on lines 3 and 5, and lastly their additional nouns on the middle line.

In the top half of the poem adjectives and verbs should be ones from the first brainstorming column – words that have to do with London, like this:

London
Busy, Stirring
Bustling, Roaring, Exploring

In the bottom half of the poem – lines 5 and 6 – your adjectives and verbs should be related to Podgorica, like this:

Dreaming,  Melting, Meditating
Quiet, Pleasing
Podgorica

On line 4, the line in the middle of the poem, the first two nouns should be related to London (line 1), and the last two nouns should be related to Podgorica (line 7), like this:

London

Busy, Stirring

Bustling, Roaring, Exploring

People, Energy, Peace, Tranquility

Dreaming, Melting, Meditating

Quiet, Pleasing

Podgorica

II.

Planet Earth by Michael Jackson

See the accompanying activities here NeuroELT activities based on the poem Planet Earth by Michael Jackson

III.

Sonnet 29 by William Shakespeare

See the activities for the classroom here Reading Shakespeare: Making it a Living Experience

If you  would like to try some other poetry related activities, check out my other posts:

Writing Poetry: an Acroustic for Teenagers

How to Teach Shakespeare: What does the Bard Say?

Happy teaching!

(Image: © Svetlana Kandybovich)

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10 thoughts on “WHEN EMOTIONS FIND THEIR WORDS

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  6. I’m so inspired by a couple of your posts that I’ve read so far but this one really got my emotions when I read the name of my hometown! ^_^ All in all, great work! ^_^

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for taking the time to comment and your kind words, Andela! So glad you find the posts interesting. I’m training teachers and teaching in Podgorica at the moment, and this is one of the activities that I tried with my Montenegrin students.

      Greetings from your hometown:) Lana

      Like

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