many times in my career I've seen teachers add sections to a 'language
contract' that say 'write a poem'. Often this section of the 'contract'
is done with little or no scaffolding and oh so often that poetry
falls into the 'dancing/prancing' realm where rhyme exists soley
for the sake of rhyme and the poem is pretty much trite.
like to see students exposed to many different types of poetry
forms so they can experiment and play with words to construct
texts outside their comfort zone. The added advantage of this
is that they have a much greater range of possibilities to ignore
the next time they have to 'write a poem'. :-)
of the poetry types I have had a lot of success with over the
last few years has been ekphrastic poetry.
means 'writing inspired by art' and it offers the opportunity
to explore 'deeper' issues. It enabels students to respond emotionally
and intellectually to concepts presented in paintings, photography
and Tricks for Writing Ekphrastic Poetry with Students
is a collection of teaching prompts I use to guide the students
in creating their initial poems. By choosing one or a combination
of the following prompts it is possible to create many, many
different poems. Especially when you combine these ideas with
those of a classroom teacher and a variety of students.
tend to guide the students through about ten of these ideas
and then get them to work with friends to choose a collection
of lines that 'sound' the most 'insightful' and 'poetic'. I've
have been most surprised over the years with the quality of
what children can produce.
Hint - Pick only a couple of these ideas that you feel will
give the children a different experience of poetry.
Students ask questions of an artwork and simply list these questions
to produce the poem.
What is the 'big picture' meaning?
Imagine yourself entering the artwork - look around - describe
what your senses experience - pay special attention to:
- what can be seen
- what can be heard
- what aromas are present
- what looks like it has an interesting tactile sensations
- what tastes could be described
- what emotions are present & their effect on mood
Use words that have your poem reflect the mood of the artwork.
How will you explore alternative words?
Notice the little things - Ask questions about the little things
- State what they are for. Inquire why they are there?
Ask questions of each character in an artwork, list their responses
and this list becomes the poem.
Describe the actions of each character in the artwork - this
becomes the poem
Describe the colours, techniques used, mood and use of light.
Ask questions of the artist regarding colours, techniques, mood
and use of light.
Speak to the artist. What do you want to ask? - these questions
become the poem