Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Poetry in Motion

Another fun-filled day in teacherland. Jamie’s typhoid is refusing to leave without a major struggle and so for now I’m still Miss Lockard, English Teacher. Today I had two sections of 6th graders for 80 minutes each. I was looking forward to it because the sixth graders are legendary for being fantastic – they answer questions without prompting, love to read aloud and actually request to do extra projects. Dream children. And my hopes were not dashed, although I still felt like a bit of an overworked sheep-dog by the end of the afternoon. No matter how lovely the children are, by the end of an 80 minute period just before school lets out, they get squirmy to say the least.

Currently the sixth graders are doing a unit on poetry so we started the class by reading several poems aloud. I was looking down into my teacher’s manual while talking – “Okay, I’m going to need a couple volunteers to….” And as I looked up, I realized that every hand in the class was already raised. Wow. Although I have to confess that I wasn’t a huge fan of the poetry they were reading :

See the kitten on the wall
sporting with the leaves that fall.

Really, I expect more from Wordsworth.

The assignment for the day was an exercise on poetic imagery, particularly as it relates to the senses. I gave them all a piece of candy and they had to fill out a poetic chart creating similes, metaphors and rhymes and picking out “vivid” adjectives with which to describe their sweets. They all cheerfully furrowed their brows, buried their noses in thesauruses and set to work. The results were pretty funny.

Miss Lockard, what rhymes with oval? (ummm….)

Is it a simile if I say my candy is like sweet? (no, try again)

Miss Lockard, is ‘bananish’ a word? (no, but use it anyways—points for creativity)

Does anything rhyme with sugar other than booger? (not that I can think of)

Miss Lockard, people with jaundice are yellow, right? So can I describe my candy as ‘jaundiced?’ (absolutely)

I ate my candy and now I don’t know what it tasted like, can I have another? (no, you weasel. I told you not to eat them until you were done.)

At the end of class, as a reward for hard work, we played a rhyming game. The kids all sat on their desks (a treat in and of itself) and one person said a word which the others then had to rhyme to, around the circle, until someone faltered. So I would say “cat” and then it’d be “sat!” “fat!” “at!” “mat!” “ummm…snat?” OUT! On to the next word.

It was pretty fun and very amusing to see what interesting new words were created as the list of possible rhymes dwindled. I particularly enjoyed the rhymes for “easy” like “greasy” “sleezy” “cheesey” etc. We bent the rules a little on that one and also admitted “peasy” because it sounded cool. This is what I like about teaching English. Silly games like that are actually educational. I pity the math teachers. "Okay, time to play Name That Math Term!" Poor dears.


At 7:25 PM, Blogger Emily said...

'Peasy' is SO a word! not only is it slightly more than half of 'easy-peasy', it is also a good description of something made of pease. Such as pease porridge hot...


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