WEEK : 4, 5 &6 (D)
TOPIC : LITERACY APPRECIATION (POETRY)
a) To appreciate poetry is to perform it
b) Fun and light-hearted poems are effective means to install the love for poetry
c) Cruelty justifies nothing
d) Teachers and students alike need entertainment to alleviate the boredom of day-to-day classroom routines
Materials: 4 poems
1) My Baby Sister (Bruce Lansky)
2) Where My Clothes Are (Bruce Lansky)
3) How to Torture Your Students (Jane Pomazal and Bruce Lansky)
4) How to Torture Your Teacher (Bruce Lansky)
Stage 1 Preparation and Practice (50 – 60 minutes)
Focus: To create awareness of the importance of varying the pitch, rate and volume of students’
voices in performing poetry to achieve good impacts.
a) Teacher writes this short poem on the board.
MY BABY SISTER
My baby sister’s
I love her smile,
but not her smell.
b) Students take turns reading this poem emphasising one word over the other i.e. the first
student reads it emphasising “My” and the second student reads the poem emphasising
“baby” and so on until the last student has read the poem emphasising the last word
c) Reading with emphasis means to say it louder, slower and more dramatically than the other
words in the poem. If you emphasise “My”, it means ‘my baby sister as opposed to yours’. If
you emphasise “baby” it may mean ‘your baby sister as opposed to your older sister’.
d) Teacher discusses how the meaning of the poem changes as different words are
e) Students are reminded to decide which words to emphasise when they are practising other
poems. They can underline these words for easier reference when performing a poem.
f) Teacher writes another poem on the board:
WHERE MY CLOTHES ARE
Dirty clothes should be put in the basket.
Clean clothing belongs in the drawer.
But it takes too much time and it takes too much work –
so I throw them all over the floor.
g) Teacher selects one student to read this poem SLOWLY – much slower than he/she normally
h) Then, teacher selects another student to read this poem FAST – as quickly as he/she possibly
i) Teacher discusses the effectiveness of both readings. Depending on the nature of the poem,
reading fast may increase the tempo thus create a picture of abruptness (in this poem the
poet is very impulsive to actually decide to simply throw all the clothes on the floor).
[Reading slow may correspond to the idea of carefulness, thoughtfulness, deliberation – in
which – this does not work in this poem].
j) Lastly, teacher asks students (in groups of four) to read the poem at a rate between fast and
slow – quick enough to enunciate each word clearly and at a pace which enables them to
add emphasis through their pitch (high / low) and volume.
k) Teacher writes these words on the board “WHAT’S SO FUNNY”.
l) In their own groups of four, students say the words using the following emotions:
HAPPY ANGRY AFRAID SURPRISED
SAD JEALOUS APOLOGETIC SHY
m) Teacher then selects a few groups at random and asks them to say the words in front of the
n) Teacher highlights the importance of using emotion through voice to create impactful poetry
o) As a closure for this stage, teacher gives some tips on how to prepare and practise
1. Read through the poem silently
2. Think about the characters
3. Ask yourself these questions:
- What is the character feeling?
- What meaning is this character trying to get across?
- What do you think this character looks like?
- What do you think this character sounds like?
- How do you think this character moves (slowly, quickly, proudly, etc?)
4. Think about how you can best portray this character through your:
- Facial Expression
5. You may want to underline key words that need emphasising or write instructions on the
poem (if it’s your own copy) such as “slow down”, “louder”, “whisper”, “stomp foot”, etc.
6. Practise it a few times without and with audience.
Stage 2 Production (50 – 60 minutes)
Focus: To provide a platform for students to show their understanding of performing poetry (based
on what they have learnt namely the importance of pitch, rate and volume) via performing the given
a) Teacher distributes a poem entitled “How to Torture your Teacher” to every student.
b) Students (in groups of NINE; or THREE – each reading 3 stanzas) are asked to perform the
poem in front of the class. Students have to act out the different lines while reading them.
c) Students may want to use props available in class such as chair / desks / pencil / books /
d) Students are reminded to read the poem with poetic rhythm with varying pitch, rate and
e) They are given 20 minutes to prepare.
f) After 20 minutes, students are asked to present their Performing poetry in front of the class.
g) Once every group has finished performing, teacher conducts a whole-group-discussion of
the students’ strengths and weaknesses and how to improve them in future (CLOSURE).
h) * If time permits and the students are very enthusiastic, teacher may want to distribute
another poem entitled “How to Torture your Students” to every student. Steps (b) – (g) are
HOW TO TORTURE YOUR TEACHER
Student 1: Student 6:
Only raise your hand when Hmm.
you want to sharpen your pencil Get all your friends to join in.
or go to the bathroom.
Repeat every ten minutes.
Student 2: Hold your nose,
Never raise your hand make a face, and say, “P.U.!”
when you want to answer a question; Fan the air away from your face,
instead, yell, “Oooh! Oooh! Oooh!” and point to the kid in front of you.
and then, when the teacher calls on you,
say, “I forgot what I was going to say.”
Student 3: On the last day of school,
Lean your chair back, lead your classmates in chanting:
take off your shoes, and “No more pencils!
put your feet up on your desk. No more books!
Act surprised when the teacher No more teachers’
puts all four legs of your chair back on the dirty looks!”
Student 4: Student 9:
Drop the eraser end of your pencil Then, on your way out
on your desk. the door, tell the teacher,
See how high it will bounce. “Bet you’re looking forward
to summer vacation this year.
Student 5: But I’ll sure miss you.
Drop your books on the floor. You’re the best teacher
See how loud a noise you can make. I’ve ever had.
Thank you, you
for being my teacher!”
HOW TO TORTURE YOUR STUDENTS
Start each day with a surprise quiz. Teacher 6:
Don’t dismiss the class for recess When it’s time for the students to
until you’ve finished the lesson read, call on someone who doesn’t
you’re working on. have a book.
At the end of the day, hand out a huge
assignment that’s due the next day. Teacher 7:
When you hand out pencils, make sure
Teacher 2: they’re dull and don’t have erasers.
When a student says, “I have to go to When you hand out books, make
the bathroom,” say, “You should have sure they’re torn and tattered.
gone this morning before you left
home” or “You’ll have to hold it in; Teacher 8:
it’s time for the kindergarten to use When preparing the students for
the bathrooms.” a test, write all the information
they’ll need to know on the board.
Teacher 3: Then stand in front of the board so
Never call on students who have they can’t see what you’ve written.
their hands up. As soon as you’ve finished discussing
Only call on students who have the test information, turn quickly and
no idea what’s going on. erase the board.
Teacher 4: Teacher 9:
When a student asks you a question, On the last day of school, hand
say, “Look up the answer in a book.” out a surprise final exam.
Don’t bother to mention the name Tell your students if they flunk it, they’ll
of the book in which the answer have to attend summer school—and
can be found. if they flunk summer school, they’ll
have to repeat the grade in your class!
Teacher 5: Tell them you hope they don’t flunk
When you read, go as fast as you can. because although you like them so much and
Skip a line or two, then ask questions you wish they could be your students
about the passage to see if the again next year,
students were listening. Deep inside, you know your students
are nevertheless a smart bunch!
(Bruce Lansky & Jane Pamazal)