teaching performing poetry
Skip this Video
Download Presentation
Teaching & Performing Poetry

Loading in 2 Seconds...

play fullscreen
1 / 86

Teaching Performing Poetry - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

  • Uploaded on

Professional Development Activity for “Enhancing the Interface between the Junior Secondary and the Three-year Senior Secondary Curricula through Promoting the Learning and Teaching of Language Arts”. Teaching & Performing Poetry. February 25, 2005. What is POETRY? How do you define it?

I am the owner, or an agent authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of the copyrighted work described.
Download Presentation

PowerPoint Slideshow about 'Teaching Performing Poetry' - jana

An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation

Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author.While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Presentation Transcript
teaching performing poetry

Professional Development Activity for “Enhancing the Interface between the Junior Secondary and the Three-year Senior Secondary Curricula through Promoting the Learning and Teaching of Language Arts”

Teaching & Performing Poetry

February 25, 2005

before we start workshop activity 1

What is POETRY?

How do you define it?

What do you think of teaching

and learning poetry?

Before We Start: Workshop activity 1

Word music, the dance of language

The spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings


of life

A.D. Hope

William Wordsworth

Matthew Arnold

Poetry is the lava of the imagination

Lord Byron

Blood, imagination and intellect running together

W.B. Yeats

What is Poetry?

understanding the poem
Understanding the poem

Whatis happening in the poem?

  • What idea and theme does the poet want to deliver?

Howis it presented by the poet?

  • Techniques : language, sound, imageries, punctuation, pattern on the page

Whydid the poet write this poem?

  • What is his message or purpose?
  • Why do I teach this poem?
poetic language

Poetic Language

Visual imagery

Mental pictures created with words


Explicit comparison, using ‘like’, ‘as’, ‘similar to’, ‘resembles’




Implied comparison

Giving human qualities to an animal, object or abstract idea


The Wind Is Angry

The wind is angry ---

He’s been in a rage all night,

Stamping his feet, bellowing

and finally breaking out.

… … …



The Sea

The sea is a hungry dog,

Giant and grey.

He rolls on the beach all day.

With his clashing teeth and shaggy jaws

The rumbling, tumbling stones,

And ‘Bones, bones, bones, bones!’

The giant sea-dog moans,

Licking his greasy paws.

… … … James Reeves



The Laundry Basket

My shirtsleeve hangs

Over the rim of the laundry basket

Like a limp human arm

From the jaws of a crocodile.

Chris Hereward


poetic language1

Poetic Language

Sound imagery

Feelings and moods created by sounds


Repetition of initial consonant sounds in words


Use of words that sound like

the objects or actions they describe

Around the rugged rock, theragged rascal ran

Glass Breaking

I flung out my arms





Now a broom






I rose and told him of my woe


Repetition of vowel sounds


Repetition of consonant sounds anywhere in the lines

He gives his harness bells a shake To ask if there issome mistake.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

(Robert Frost)


Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woodsthese are I think I know. His house is in the village though; He will not see me stopping here To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer To stop without a farmhouse near Between the woodsand frozen lake The darkest evening of the year.

He giveshisharness bellsa shake To ask if there is some mistake. The only other sound\'s the sweep Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep. And miles to go before I sleep.

Robert Frost


S (32 times)

H (10 times)

W (8 times)


long vowels


Effect: soft hissing sound

have a go
Have a Go!

Workshop Activity 2


Study the quotations and

identify the visual and

sound imageries

visual imagery key
Visual Imagery: Key
  • Metaphor(world = stage; men & women = players)
  • Personification(night = person creeping)
  • Metaphor(life = dream; soul = sleeping man)
  • Simile (soldiers = wolf; spears = stars)
  • Personification(Autumn and Sun areconspiring friends)
  • Personification(sea = laughing man; cliff = frowning man)
sound imagery key
Sound Imagery: Key

1. Onomatopoeia (choo-choo puff-puff Pull, pull, pull)

2. Consonance([s] sound)

3. Onomatopoeia(boom, crash)

Consonance([r] sound in second line)

  • Alliteration([b] sound)
  • Assonance([ai] sound)
  • Alliteration([r] sound)


    • Regular recurrence of stressed and unstressed sounds in the lines

The attributes of rhythm

  • Meaning
  • Metrical patterns (regular alternation of stressed and unstressed syllables)
  • Grammatical structure
  • Punctuation
  • Pitch
  • Pace
  • E.g.
  • Iambic --- x / (about)
  • Trochaic --- /x (poem)


Austin Dobson

How it sings, sings, sings,

Blowing sharply from the sea-line,

With an edge of salt that stings;

How it laughs aloud, and passes,

As it cuts the close cliff-grasses;

How it sings again, and whistles

As it shakes the stout sea-thistles --–

How it sings!

How it shrieks, shrieks, shrieks,

In the crannies of the headlands

In the gashes of the creeks;

How it shrieks once more, and catches

Up the yellow foam in patches:

How it whirls it out and over

To the corn-field and the clover –--

How it shrieks!

How it roars, roars, roars,

In the iron under-caverns,

In the hollows of the shores;

How it roars anew, and thunders,

As the strong hull splits and sunders:

And the spent ship, tempest driven,

On the reef lies rent and riven –--

How it roars!

How it wails, wails, wails,

In the tangle of the wreckage,

In the flapping of the sails;

How it sobs away, subsiding,

Like a tired child after chiding;

Sit back and

listen to the rhythm


RhymeThe matching of final vowel or consonant sounds in two or more words

Rhyming / Rhyme scheme

A pattern of the end rhymes within the poem

what s the rhyming scheme
What’s the rhyming scheme?

Life is real! Life is earnest!

And the grave is not its goal;

Dust thou art, to dust returnest,

Was not spoken of the soul.





Rain, rain, go away

Come again another day

Little children want to play

So rain, rain, go away.





Write a poem

About a lion they said,

So from memories

Of lions in my head

I wrote about

Tawny eyes and slashing claws,

Lashing tail and sabred jaws

Twinkle, twinkle little star

How I wonder who you are

Up above the world so high

Like a diamond in the sky.












types of poems

Types of poems

Traditional classification


Blank verse

Unrhymed ten-syllable lines


A narrative poem written in four-line stanzas, with swift action and direct style

The Highwayman

Free verse

A poem without a regular pattern of metre or rhyme


A long stately poem in stanzas of varied length, meter and form


A five-lined rhymed poem that makes fun

Ode to Autumn


A fourteen-lined lyrical poem that conforms to a set rhyme scheme


A poem expressing grief, of subjective or meditative nature

Shall I Compare Thee

to a Summer’s Day?

types of poem

Types of poem

Modern classification


Diamond poem

A seven-lined diamond-shaped poem that specifies the part of speech in each line, sometimes with contrasting ideas

Acrostic poem

A poem in which the first letter of each line, when read vertically, spell out a word, which is usually the subject of the poem.


A Japanese-style poem of three lines, each with a fixed number of syllables (5,7,5 or 4,8,4) -- mainly about nature and feelings

Shape poem

Words are placed to make the shape of an object or ideas described







































shape poem


Smelly Tofu


Spicy, savoury

Delicious, heavenly, mouth-watering

A brown crispy square of deep-fried bean curd

Disgusting, unpleasant, repulsive

Stinky, greasy


Diamond poem

have a go1
Have a Go!

Workshop Activity 3


Read and identify the form

of poem in each item.

types of poems key
Types of Poems (Key)

A: Shape poem

B: Free verse

C: Diamond poem

D: Acrostic poem

E: Limerick

F: Haiku

G: Prose

consider the following
Consider the following…
  • Is the poem thematically related to the lesson?
  • How can you help your students to understand the poem?
  • How can you help students to appreciate some important poetic devices?
  • How can you help students to respond to the poem? What kind of response will you aim for?
teaching strategies
Teaching strategies
  • Use pictures, realia, situations, context etc to help students visualise the meaning of the poem.
  • Use different strategies and activities to
    • encourage students to respond to the poem
        • Commenting on the ideas, themes and events
        • Relating these to their own experience
        • Acting out or writing something related to the poem
    • extend their language learning experience
    • teach about features of poetry
  • Let students hear the poem and follow it
    • Familiarize them with the intonation, stress and inflection patterns
lesson examples
Lesson Examples
  • “The Sound Collector” by Roger McGough
    • onomatopoeia,
    • vocabulary development
    • support understanding
  • “My Friend Through My Eyes” by Amy Poon
    • teaching about metaphor
    • framework for students’ own writing
  • “Dreams” by Langston Hughes(for reference)

The Sound Collector

A stranger called this morning

Dressed all in black and grey

Put every sound into a bag

And carried them away

The whistling of the kettle

The turning of the lock

The purring of the kitten

The ticking of the clock

The popping of the toaster

The crunching of the flakes

When you spread the marmalade

The scraping noise it makes

The hissing of the frying pan

The ticking of the grill

The bubbling of the bathtub

As it starts to fill

The drumming of the raindrops

On the window-pane

When you do the washing up

The gurgling of the drain

The crying of the baby

The squeaking of the chair

The swishing of the curtain

The creaking of the chair

A stranger called this morning

He didn’t leave his name

Left us only silence

Life will never be the same.

Step One:
    • Students match words and pictures
  • Step Two
    • Students listen to sounds and match them with the pictures.
    • They then match the item that makes the sound with the word for that sound
  • Objective:
    • To pre-teach vocabulary


  • Sound 1
  • Sound 2
  • Sound 3
  • Sound 4
Step Four:
    • Students make poems listing the sounds which they hear in particular locations.
    • They may use the sounds to tell a story if they wish.


You are a star in the sky,

Bright and shining,

Guiding me with your light,

With you, I know the way.

You are an umbrella in the rain,

Loving and protecting,

You help me so much,

With you, I know I am safe.

You are a candle on a dark night,

Warm and comforting,

You make me strong,

With you, I am never alone.

You are a rainbow after a storm,

Beautiful and colourful,

You always give me hope,

A promise that will last

Friendship is a precious gift

A gift to treasure and keep forever.


Step One: students see pictures, some of which are related to the poem. They write down words which they associate with the pictures, including sounds, smells, feelings – not only names of objects

Objectives of this activity

to prepare students for reading the poem by pre-teaching some vocabulary

to introduce the concept of metaphors as “word pictures”

to generate some ideas for students to use in their own writing

Step Two:
    • Students match the verses of the poem with some of the pictures from the first worksheet
  • Objectives:
    • Check comprehension
    • Show how words can also create pictures
Step Three: students write “word pictures” based on the pictures from the powerpoint but not in the poem
step four students create poems using their own word pictures or metaphors
Step Four: students create poems using their own “word pictures” or metaphors

Weaker classes made badges with

metaphors on them as gifts for their friends

dreams langston hughes

An alternative poem for teaching about metaphors

DreamsLangston Hughes

Hold fast to dreams

For if dreams die,

Life is a broken-winged bird

That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams

For when dreams go,

Life is a barren field

Frozen with snow.

Please refer to lesson plan

your turn
Your Turn!

Mini workshop




  • Refer to the poems “The Headmonster” and “Ghosts” (yellow sheets).
  • Listen to the poems.
  • Work in pairs.
  • Complete the checklist (beige sheet) for one of the poems.


A haunted house?

looking at the subject matter
The Headmonster

A light-hearted poem about the arrival of a new headmaster at the school

The speaker is probably a student or group of students.

The students are afraid of the new headmaster, and a lot of rumours are circulating about him

Another meaning of the poem is about rumours --- Can we always believe what we hear?


Also light-hearted, descriptive poem about a ghosts’ party

The speaker is a narrator, not a ghost

The poem describes how the ghosts enjoy themselves at a party

They are supposed to be scary ghosts – but why do they eat sweets and dance a jig?

Looking at the subject matter
looking at the language and structure
The Headmonster

Different senses are used,

Hearing “stomp, werewolf’s howl”

Touch “icicle stare, razor-sharp”

Images are of scary monsters, supernatural evil creatures. The visual element is very strong

The poem rhymes, and has a strong rhythm, which adds to the light-hearted mood

There is some alliteration eg “growls like a grizzly bear”


Mainly visual and sound images

Many contrasts feature in the poem, e.g. spooky images at the beginning, but the middle part is quite funny (e.g. a baby sucking its thumb), noise vs. silence at different points, dark outside and noisy action inside the haunted house

The poem rhymes, and there is a change in the rhythmic pattern which divides description of the setting from the action of the party.

Alliteration, e.g. “bone all bare”

Abrupt ending as the ghosts vanish

Looking at the language and structure
teaching implications the headmonster
Teaching implications: The Headmonster
  • Curriculum link: Halloween or the beginning of term
  • Preparation: brainstorming Halloween context, matching pictures and vocabulary
  • Vocabulary: names of monsters, strong visual element makes it not so difficult to put across new vocabulary by using pictures and actions
  • Language: Introducing reported speech “We’ve heard that…”, “It’s rumoured that…..” in the context of passing on rumours
  • Activities: Matching pictures with verses of the poem, drawing pictures of the “Headmonster”, act out his first lesson or assembly. A parent writes a letter of complaint, etc
teaching implications ghosts
Teaching implications: Ghosts
  • Curriculum link
    • Halloween / Mystery and fantasy
    • Narrative or descriptive writing
  • Preparation
    • Use of sound effects and pictures to create the scene
  • Vocabulary and Language:
    • Many different verbs for movement and sounds
    • Descriptive vocabulary setting the spooky scene
    • A narrative in the present tense
  • Activities:
    • Act out the scene or draw a storyboard
    • Create some spooky food for the ghosts’ party
    • Choral speaking performance
    • Read some scary stories for extensive reading
you are going to watch the performance of two students during their rehearsal
You are going to watch the performance of two students during their rehearsal
  • While you watch, note the strengths and weaknesses of each performance.
  • As a teacher, what comments / suggestions for improvement would you give to the students?
  • First poem: “One That Got Away”
  • Second poem: “A Psalm of Life”
solo choral verse speaking

Solo & Choral Verse-speaking

Getting ready for the rehearsal

teacher s preparation
Teacher’s preparation
  • Read the poem aloud to yourself ---
    • How would you read it to put across the meaning?
    • Experiment different ways of saying it
    • Decide how you want the students to say it
  • Check pronunciation and meaning of words in context
  • Note
    • any emphasis, stress & intonation pattern
    • the mood of the poem. Which words convey the mood?
teacher s preparation 2
Teacher’s preparation (2)
  • Identify and mark in the rhythmic stress pattern ---

Put special emphasis on:

    • words / phrases that carry special meaning
    • Words that convey the mood
  • Note the end of lines, where to pause and where one line runs on to the next
rehearsing with the students
Rehearsing with the students
  • Analyse the poem to identify potential problems to the students
  • Ensure students’ good comprehension and visualization of the poem
  • Model the reading
  • Let students experiment reading --- focus on correct and clear pronunciation first
  • Achieve emphasis by varying the
    • volume / pitch / pauses / pace
rehearsing with the students 2
Rehearsing with the students (2)
  • Ensure that students have mastered the pronunciation before working on the rhythm and intonation
  • Train students to highlight the following through their voice and facial expressions :
    • significant words that need special treatment (sense words, onomatopoeia)
    • the climax / punch line
    • the contrast (fast & slow, hard & soft, staccato & smooth, heavy & light)
useful tips
Useful tips
  • Teach and ensure understanding of the whole poem, but rehearse section by section
  • Do not use explanation only ---

Students must visualise and appreciate the poem before they can speak it meaningfully.

  • Never allow premature memorisation ---
    • Memorization of the words without feeling is disastrous
    • It’s difficult to undo any mistakes
what poems to choose for verse speaking
What poems to choose for verse-speaking
  • Poems that you like and have confidence in
  • Poems that students understand and appreciate --- relevant to their experience

(For choral work)

  • Poems with variety and contrasts
  • Avoid ‘static’ and abstract poems
  • Narrative poems are good as a start
  • Not poems with ‘I’ as the subject
techniques 1
Techniques (1)
  • Orchestration – Use different voices for special effect:

Divide poem into

      • choral passages,
      • small groups,
      • solo lines or phrases

Refer to the examples of

“The Freight Train”

& “Ghost”:

  • Use gestures to conduct the speech
  • Listen to the voices ---
          • High or low
          • Rough or smooth
          • Light or dark
          • Melodious or monotonous
techniques 2
Techniques (2)
  • Achieve extra effects with judicious use of
    • gestures
    • movements
    • sound effects
    • costumes or props
  • All speakers using simultaneous gestures;
  • Individuals / small groups gesticulating on certain words / lines
  • Percussion
      • Vocal effects
      • Use of music
techniques 3
Techniques (3)
  • Make pleasant grouping for better vocal and visual effects
  • Group according to quality of voices (dark / light)
  • Students speaking together stand together
  • Change grouping to fit changes of mood
  • Shapes can be related to topic
  • All speakers should be seen
useful tips1
Useful tips
  • It is essential for every speaker to know the whole poem.
    • Never divide the class into groups and give each group different parts of the poem to learn.
  • It is important for learners to show their involvement and enjoyment through facial expressions and eye contact
  • A good blend of voicesandsynchronized movements show good co-ordination
  • Maintain good discipline at all times.
let s watch and appreciate

Let’s watch and appreciate

What do you think of the group’s performance?



  • Clear speech and accurate pronunciation are of paramount importance
  • A touch of drama is essential
  • Never overdo any extra effects --- they should add to and not distract from the poem
  • It is important that students enjoy the choral work --- know when to stop.
  • Aim not at perfection, but spontaneity. Adapt your expectation and treatment to bring out the best in the students
anthologies of poems
Anthologies of Poems
  • Brian Pattern (ed.) (1998) The Puffin Book of Utterly Brilliant Poetry. London, Puffin Books
  • Michael Harrison & Christopher Stuart-Clark (Eds.)(1999) The New Oxford Treasury of Children’s Poems. Oxford, Oxford University Press
  • Sadler, Hayllar, Powell (1981) Enjoying Poetry. South Yarra, Macmillan Education Australia Pty Ltd
  • Michael Rosen (ed.) (1985) The Kingfisher Book of Children’s Poetry. London, Kingfisher Publications Plc
  • Helen Ferris (ed.) (1965) Favorite Poems Old and New. USA, Doubleday & Company, Inc.
  • Pappas, Lewis & Middenway (ed.) (1979) Images. Melbourne, Longman Cheshire

Poetry isfun and enjoyable !

Happy teaching

andrehearsal !