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The magic of poetry for english language learners
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The magic of poetry for english language learners


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  • 1. The Magic of Poetry for English Language Learners
    Dr. Barbara Tramonte
    Dr. Donna Mahar
    State University of New York
    Empire State College
  • 2. 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.”
  • 3. 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
    • Charming incantations
    • 4. Invokes supernatural
    • 5. Overrides natural laws
    • 6. Conjures…
  • The Eagle
  • 7. 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)
  • 8. 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.
  • 9. 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.
  • 10. 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)
  • 11. 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
  • 12. What does the classroom look like?Word walls, School halls, Offices
  • 20. 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
    En medio
    De mi vida,
    Las olascomouvas,
    La soledad del cielo,
    Me llenas
    Y desbordas,
    Todo el mar…
    La tierraanaranjada,
    La cintura
    Del sol en agonia
  • 21. Writing Poetry
    Ekphrasis: Using Art to Inspire Poetry
    • What do you see?
    • 22. Who is this man?
    • 23. His art not accepted
    • 24. Can you use metaphors in writing about his work?
    • 25. Can you use similes?
    • 26. Vivid writing?
    • 27. Brainstorm a list.
  • 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
  • 28. 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!
    - 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
  • 29. 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
  • 30. Writing Activities
    I used to, But now
    If, Then
    Wish poems
    Trade poems
    First Lines (supply them)
    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
  • 31. Apology and Warning Poems
    Batman- watch out!
    They’re burgling the city,
    Using G-trills as
    Holding the locksmith
    hostage in the
    back of an old
    Batman-watch out!
    - Miriam Lahage, 8th grade
  • 32. Poetry Café
  • 33. Poetry Café
  • 34. Come up to the café
  • 35. 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
  • 36. Resources
    A bilingual site for families and educators of English Language Learners:
    Teachers and Writers Collaborative:
    Find all poems:
    Caedmon Audio Tapes:
  • 37. 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.