I think I finally had this class humming today. There was a moment when I looked up from running around to each group and gently nudging them even just a little more and though, "This is actually working..."
The kids started off annotating sibilance and repetition in John Legend's 'Glory' which is in the new film 'Selma'. I don't quite know what the combination was... having told off a group of kids yesterday afternoon for continual disruption and their seemingly changed ways - one student said straight away after one warning name call.. saying "I'm going to be good today!" Or whether it was because we'd been going over language techniques steadily now for about two weeks and poem analysis the last four lessons... or whether it was because I'd given them song lyrics that are much easier to decode... and perhaps the simple choice of using song lyrics is enough of a hook (music and english pun intended)...
I chose 711 by Beyonce initially - and for extension students completed that small excerpt before the bell. But the Glory song took a while and there was just so much to it! Am stoked that my HOD talked me through her plan with that song. Might even ask if I can have a copy of her picture prompts too.
By the end of the lesson, not only had we understood a range of different language techniques but they'd even taken on the challenge of learning what rhyme scheme was and were hunting those a's and b's themselves in the verses and to top it all off... I had one student who was even wanting to use textbooks from his class to add into his reading log... and the poems and his new phone manual. We're slowly making progress towards intrinsic motivation...
After a bit of a kerfuffle and slight jealousy over the fact I only had 6 cupcakes for prizes and positive behaviour yesterday - one student commented (after eating his cupcake by the way...) "It's all about knowledge aye Miss. Not about the reward." Needless to say... pretty impressed with this kid right now :) I suppose he could say yhat though... having just eaten a cupcake!
Since this lesson we've worked on analysis structure.
I used the MAPIT analysis and wrote the key questions for them to copy down. There are a few students who were capable of completing the task without any further help of scaffolding by me but the rest needed further help. One of my senior students took a photo of the board so will put it up here when I get it.
Message - What was the message that the author was trying to portray in the poem?
Audience - Who is the target audience?
Purpose - What was the reason this poem was created?
Impact - What feelings or emotions are created in this poem and how does it impact on you/the audience?
Techniques - What techniques were included in the poem? Give an example from the poem for each one.
With this basic structure - kids begin to create a strong analysis of the poems they read from the get go. It begins to open up that critical analysis and they start to initiate a discussion around the influence of the poem to them and the audience. They begin to see the reasons behind poetry being created and more importantly the messages that come through to them usually are different and individual to each student. Because poetry is subjective.
Yesterday I saw one of the girls' analysis of Rain by Hone Tuwhare. Even though I'd written a MAPIT analysis on the board - she chose to write her own one. Pretty impressive actually. She and her bf - one of my form class kids - came back at lunch with some hot chips to celebrate my birthday the previous day. After eating we had a look through some poetry books - collections of NZ authors, Glen Colquhouns poetry and a Witi Ihimaera selection too. It was absolutely adorable seeing them read poetry to each other, critically analysing the poems and finding connections with themselves. So so proud of those two. They took a couple books home with them and they were just so stoked. I got both C and D to read 'Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night' and C's analysis was absolutely beautiful. About the need for positivity and that everyone has a darkside and a lightside and it's up to you where you head. He got the internal struggle and I suppose at different times I've even had different interpretations of that poem in regards to my own life and struggles. C even left going, "Whoops - the bell went and I've been in here reading a book." So so cute. :)
Today - while I'm down in Wellington for PPTA's Issues and Organising conference's Delegates Training - they'll be doing their own analysis on some poetry they've already annotated and then getting started on their own poetry. I'm hoping they'll just get on with the work but depending on the reliever they may or may not get it all or any of it done. I wish that they would do the work regardless but as I've said before - it doesn't often happen. It takes a really special reliever to get a class working, let alone enjoying what they've been set to do.
Regardless - am really enjoying this poetry unit with this class. Am so incredibly indebted to the students I've had over the past five years because they're the ones that have finely tuned this unit. They helped to create the assessment - continuously changing and adapting as time went on. Co-constructed and texts that are relevant and appropriate. Mainly texts are student chosen or selected and a small range are teacher driven.
One of my students - K - who has finished his first sheet of his reading log - asked to read poetry books during the reading room on Tuesday. He chose a Coleridge and Wordsworth collection. He even gave me a couple that he thinks the class might like. So proud of him too.