Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Trying Everything! Poetry in the Creative Writing Class

I forgot to post about the other week when I got the students to write poems, using the web site. It's a very useful site designed for teachers. I've used it in the past to get my class to break down their persuasive essays, but one of the other staff used it with her Year 7 students, who had to write poetry for English, and it's very good. It has some templates for different types of poems, such as acrostic, haiku and theme.

Most of the problem my students have is producing something finished. Oh, they can all do it, eventually, but I thought that doing this as an exercise would make them feel good about themselves, that would be fun and would mean that everyone could do at least one piece of finished written work by the end of the session.

Really, all I had in mind was about twenty minutes early in the class, that would get the juices flowing and help them focus on their works in progress. But somehow, after we'd read a short story together, discussed what had to be done and they had got stuck into the poems, it ended up taking most of the session. And all of them did at least two or three pieces, which we read aloud before we left. And that was fine. Sometimes you can't do everything you planned and just have to go with the flow.

I wrote some samples, myself, to show them before they started(exemplar work, to give them an idea what they had to do).
For example, my diamante poem:

                                     Thick, thin,
                            Exciting, amusing, expressing,
                                 Read them and rejoice,
                                  Brooding, thinking, amazing,
                                      Sad, funny,

Okay, not brilliant, but it followed the template and gave them some idea. I did a theme poem on the sun(they give you a theme and a shape to use with it.

I did an acrostic with the letters for BOOK;

Old, smelling of leather,
Open with a rustle of cool pages,
Keeping joy for me.

When the Year 10 students were watching Romeo And Juliet in the library, I wrote this haiku:

Darkness, Romeo,
Nightingale or lark? The lark!
Lovers say farewell.

I know, it's supposed to be on nature and I did one of those too, but this worked well enough to show my students as an example. None of them ended up writing a haiku anyway. They did acrostics, theme and diamante. And they had fun! And they all learned that they could write something. They were happy to take away their poems with them.

I don't think this is something you can use more than once in class, but I did suggest to them that if they had a bit of writer's block this might be a way to shake up the brain cells.

Anyway, this worked, though I doubt if any of them has used it to fix writer's block.

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