Josie June 2016.jpg

TEACHING  POETRY

By Josie Whitehead

GETTING THE CHILDREN ACTIVELY INVOLVED WITH THE POEM

I'LL WALK ALONG THIS BEACH AGAIN

Well before they get to the point where they are reading this poem, let them love my poem by listening to me reciting it a few times, and then reading it themselves, putting lots of expression into their voices and then let them RECITE the poem, or part of it, throwing their voices clearly across the classroom and making sure that everyone can hear every word clearly.  Many teachers omit this important thing sadly.

1    Give the children things to watch out for: eg in the poem 'I'll Walk Along This Beach Again,' get them to write down some of the words which speak about the beach, eg - beach, shore, golden sand, wavelets, rocks. Check that they have written these words.

2   Tell them how poets sometimes 'personify' a poem with words connected with human movements or human actions, eg - The wavelets 'dance' across the sand.  Listen carefully for others.  See if they hear the word 'caress'.  Perhaps this needs explaining.  Also 'teasing wavelets'.  I say this because, in a playful way, the wavelets creep in to touch your toes and then they just as quickly run away again in a playful manner.  There is one other word that personifies their movement in a fun way:  dancing.

3   Listen for the name of the bird in the third verse.  What is he doing?  Explain what the word 'scout' means.

4   Three words which describe movement of the feet: walk, scuff the feet; clamber (over rocks).

5   Some things which the writer feels or tastes: the salty air; the breeze upon the cheek; the sand beneath the feet; the hard rocks.  Things which she sees: the cormorants; sea treasures; sea anenomes; limpets; the waves/wavelets; golden sand; trails of footprints etc.

6     You can ask them to talk about the difference between walking over sand compared to walking over pebbles.  What can you do with sand according to the poet?  (Scuff the feet, make footprints, watch the sea go into the footprints etc).

7    Read the poem to them again, stopping at the rhyming words to give them the chance to think of them.  Then ask one person to supply the word.

8   You can also ask them what other words describe actions: eg Clamber over rocks.  You could say 'climb'.  Read the line, substituting the word in the poem.  Why hasn't the writer used this word?  Perhaps it is because it upsets the rhythm/metre.  Here is a good opportunity to go over metre and get the children to clap in time with the metre of the poem.

 

I'll WALK aLONG this BEACH aGAIN

    Where WAVES carESS the SHORE

 

Two rhyming lines with four heavy beats on each line = iambic HEPTAMETER.

i AM i AM i AM i AM - 4 on one line and 3 on the next, twice in each verse.

Lastly:  Invite this poet to your classroom for the children to meet me:  HERE

                                                                                               Josie