Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Poetry Morning

After yesterday's super-full day, today was much less busy.  It had to be really as the boys had friends round to play this afternoon!  So we had a little Bible reading, then for English we wrote winter poetry.  I had written out some guidelines in my preparation phase a couple of weeks ago, and added some examples of winter poetry to add inspiration  (if you're interested, the pdf file can be downloaded for free here).

So following the sheet, first we had a brief discussion about poetry, talking about using language to inspire feelings in the reader, especially using descriptive language, rhyme and rhythm (or not). Then the boys wrote down some word banks, guided by some questions helping them to think about the topic.  Finally I read out the pre-chosen poems before sending the boys off to separate rooms to help them think without distraction.

Youngest obviously needed a lot of help.  He did manage to write down his own wordbank and then read it to me (I totally love emergent writing but I admit it's not always easy to interpret!), after which he dictated his poem to me to write down, with just a couple of prompts.  For someone who said he didn't think he could do it, he was really happy with the result (as am I of course)...

Youngest's wordbank (from what I remember he said it was, "freezy night; forest; yes there is trees; it feels cold; it looks beautiful; birds")

"One Freezy Night" by Youngest

Meanwhile Middle had started writing a SNOW acrostic but only got two lines written and was completely stuck on the others.  I gave him a couple of prompts but he wasn't inspired, so he went back to square one (the word bank) and started again.  Inspiration hit while he was gazing out of the window into our garden, and he very quickly had his poem finished (he wanted to type it up at the end) - I love it...

Middle's Word bank

"The Robin and the Snow", by Middle

Eldest reappeared while this was going on, with his finished effort.  He had no input from me at all after going through the initial guidelines, and he also did really well.  He was a bit concerned that he hadn't used all of the words in his wordbnk, but I reassured him that it was just there for inspiration, not as a tick-list...

Eldest's word bank

"Winter", by Eldest, with illustration 
(apologies for the poor quality photo - poem written out in full at the end of the post)

So that whole exercise took quite a long time all in all, but poetry does often require considerable thinking/ mulling over time, so that was our morning happily complete.  All that was left was for Mummy to choose some TV to go with our picnic lunch, and today it was the first part of Neil Oliver's "Vikings" series.  It was great - the boys seeing things that they had already read about in one of their books, and then getting to share something that none of the rest of us knew.  Individual and collaborative learning in action: fantastic!

"Winter" by Eldest
Leaves falling off the trees, gently falling down.

Children making snowmen dressed as a funny clown.
Big dark clouds dropping cold wet diamonds onto the ground.
People caught in the snow marching and running, shouting "Homeward bound!"
Sitting round a fire having a hot chocolate treat.
Snacking on candy canes and marshmallows, everything so sweet.
One thing's for sure: winter is here.

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