Saturday, 2 June 2012

new poetry teaching

Devising new poetry strategies for teaching children

I'm set a challenge about this time each year when I head north for a two week residency teaching poetry across the primary school from Transition to Year 6.

The teachers often ask for specific subject content like:

  • wet and dry environments
  • sports poetry
  • symbols of Australia
  • First Fleet

Now how can the First Fleet be made poetic in content and relevant? This echoed through my working days for quite awhile until I researched and read much about the First Fleet- for example the list of goods packed for arrival at the other side of the world in an unknown country.

Words such as tierces, firkins and puncheons... what are they? The uniqueness and pathos of the expedition to settle a new world began to work its magic- it's the emotion, the contrasts that matter and details make that emotion in poetry even more poignant.

So here's a sneak preview:

A poem of contrasts

is when the stars are Southern
not Northern back home.
is the bush all around
just tents, no brick houses.
is the waves at night
no cobble stones or sooty fires.
Alone in a new other- world country.

© Lorraine Marwood

And what of tierces, firkins and puncheons..well I have a warm up writing activity to define these- should be fun.

What subject matter do you use for poetry making?

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