feel that a major part of teaching poetry to younger learners is the introduction
of figurative and symbolic language. I use catalogue poetry as an introduction
this type of language.
1 - Read and view a few examples of catalogue poems.
2 - Explain that the purpose of this type of poetry is to build up a 'verbal
collage' of what a concept means to you.
3 - Break the students into groups of 3 with a pencil and a piece of blank
paper between them.
- I do my first catalogue poems as a whole class activity as it focuses the mindset
of the class on the language of poetry.
4 - Write on the board ' White is a/an (object)(where)'
invite each group to fill in the blanks and write their responses on their paper. -
ask each group to read their response to the group and ask them to decide on the
one that 'sounds the most like poetry' - I find that if you do this step after
each line you soon move from 'My cat is white!' to 'White is my cat that stares
at me with contemptuous eyes'. :) - Write the line selected onto a large sheet
of paper to make a joint construction.
5 - Repeat Step 4 for the following lines:
'White is (animal)(doing an activity)' - 'White is (something
from nature)(exotic location)' - 'White was (a toy) when
I was (age)' - 'White is the innocence of a small child (describe
a place or situation)' - 'White is (a food or drink) that (a
person) eats or drinks frequently. - 'White is the colour of (something
'big picture' 'Life the Universe & Everything') all ___________ &
_____________ - 'White is (something that you feel is sad)' - 'White
is (something that you feel is happy)' - 'White is (killer last line
that sounds REALLY poetic)'
6 - Arrows and crossing out are good :)
adverbs - using mime point out the difference between walking, walking briskly
& walking slowly. Find a spot in the joint construction to add some adverbs
and then invite the children to do the same with their poems.
repetition - poets often use repetition as a way to add emphasis. Re-visit 'The
White' poem above to see where repetition is used. Find a place to add repetition
in the joint construction. Invite the children to add an element of repetitions
to their poem.
7 - Most Affective
Decide which line on the joint construction is the 'most poetic' and place the
number one beside it. Close the poem with the second 'most poetic' line and number
the rest of the lines in the order that you feel has the greatest affect on the
reader. - The children do the same for their poem.
8 - Celebrate your work!
Publish the poems - in the school newsletter, on your blog, as an animation or
digital movie, put them on noticeboards for all to see.