The Magic of Poetry for English Language Learners Dr. Barbara Tramonte Dr. Donna Mahar State University of New York Empire State College
What is poetry? Uses words with precision, charm Makes pictures out of words (snapshot of a larger world) Uses all of the senses Makes comparisons Crystallized, condensed form of language Uses language in a fresh and vigorous way Walt Whitman–about the sound of horses on stone: “The blab of the pave The crank of the shod horses on the floor.”
Poetry and magic The Dancing Hippopotami in opulent array, performed with great agility an intricate ballet. The Dancing Hippopotami Then flew into a rage, For on their final pirouette, They crashed right through the stage . -Jack Prelutsky
Poetic Language, “The Eagle” He clasps the crag with crooked hands; Close to the sun in lonely lands. Ringed with the azure world, he stands. The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls; He watches from his mountain walls, And like a thunderbolt he falls. -Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)
The EagleScientific Description The eagle has legs of medium length, a hooked bill, the hind toe inserted on a level with the three front ones, and the claws roundly curved and sharp; the extent of the wing is seven feet. Sea fishing eagles have feathers halfway to their toes.
Powerful Language in Poetry W.H. Auden writing about the loss of someone he loved in “Funeral Blues”: He was my North, my South, my East and West My working week and my Sunday rest, My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song; I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong. Writing about or telling a friend about the loss of a loved one: I miss him so much. I don’t know what to do.
Oral, Reading and Writing Skills for ELLs Children with well developed oral skills are more likely to have higher achievement in reading and writing (Cazden, C., 1988; Chall, J., 2000: Block, C., 2001) Oral language development through reading, writing, performing poetry acknowledges sound is meaning (Hughes, J., 2007) Vocabulary development one of greatest challenges Reading fluency increased by guided repeated oral reading Writing poetry exposes children to powerful language (Lockward, D., English Journal, 1994)
Literacy and Academic Literacy Literacy can be informal - may not use articles or prepositions - colorful, inventive - social Academic Literacy - language of prestige and power - precise, formal, avoids repetition - more easily mastered when student has academic literacy in native language
What does the classroom look like?Word walls, School halls, Offices
Translation (Neruda) Ode to Hope Oceanic dawn At the center of my life. Waves like grapes, The sky’s solitude, You fill me And flood The complete sea… The orange earth, The sun’s fiery waist In agony… Ode a la Esperanza Crepusculomarino, En medio De mi vida, Las olascomouvas, La soledad del cielo, Me llenas Y desbordas, Todo el mar… La tierraanaranjada, La cintura Incendiada Del sol en agonia
Writing Poetry Ekphrasis: Using Art to Inspire Poetry
Reading Difficult Poetryfor English Language Learners Stay the course Solve the puzzle Avoid the critics Increase vocabulary Build academic confidence in L2 There is no frigate like a book To take us lands away, Nor any coursers like a page Of prancing poetry: This traverse may the poorest take Without oppress of toll: How frugal is the chariot That bears the human soul. - Emily Dickinson
Writing Activities“I Saw Myself” When I was a child I played by myself in a corner of the schoolyard all alone. I hated dolls and I hated games, animals were not friendly and birds flew away. If anyone was looking for me I hid behind a tree and cried out, “I am an orphan.” And here I am, the center of all beauty! writing these poems! Imagine! - Frank O’Hara I was walking down the street when I met me For the first time. A small, little blonde-haired girl. A girl who tries her best but Never thinks it is enough. A girl with green eyes. A slender girl. An active girl. A girl who feels left out at times. A girl who needs a real friend to Share good times and feelings. A girl who needs more meaning To her life. - Rachel Noll, 5th Grade
I Saw Myself Again Who was that cocoa-colored girl Smiling at all? She, sometimes happy, sometimes sad Roams alone. Who was that girl? She drifted through me As if I weren’t there. -Erica Wallace, 8th Grade For the first time I saw myself I saw beneath my outer layer I saw beneath my eyes I saw a swirling turning mass Of feelings. Feelings of anguish Of happiness Of pride Of confusion. I saw me. - Ian Synott, 7th Grade
Writing Activities I used to, But now If, Then Wish poems Trade poems First Lines (supply them) Personification Apologies This is Just to Say I have eaten the plums That were in The icebox And which You were probably Saving for breakfast Forgive me They were delicious So sweet And so cold. -William Carlos Williams
Apology and Warning Poems Batman- watch out! They’re burgling the city, Using G-trills as weapons, Holding the locksmith hostage in the back of an old piano Batman-watch out! - Miriam Lahage, 8th grade
Increase VocabularyPlay with Language Extend Learning – Post-writing and reading activities In pairs: Circle strong language – explain Peer response Questions about content Notice theme or mood – write about it
Resources A bilingual site for families and educators of English Language Learners: http://www.colorincolorado.org/webcasts/academiclanguage Teachers and Writers Collaborative: www.twc.org Find all poems: www.poemhunter.com Caedmon Audio Tapes: www.harpercollins.com
We Leave You With These Words From a poem called “Poetry” by Pablo Neruda… And it was at that age Poetry arrived in search of me… With arrows, fire and flowers, The winding night, The universe… And something started in my soul, Fever or forgotten wings… Deciphering that fire I wrote the first faint line… And I, infinitesimal being… I wheeled with the stars My heart broke loose on the wind.