What will your verse be?

Robin Williams died yesterday. I really loved most of his work. He was first introduced to me in “Dead Poets Society” and then I became a fan. I’ve watched Mork and Mindy, Patch Adams, Good Will Hunting, and a ton of other movies because he was in the movie. In honor of his death, we are spending today’s lesson reading poetry and talking about it. In fact, we have made our own “Dead Poet’s Society” in our house.

We built a fort.

Then we watched this fabulous clip where Robin Williams is asking the students what heir verse will be.

Now we are reading poetry and talking about it.

Here are the poems we are reading today:

Walt Whitman: Oh Me! Oh Life!

Robert Frost: The Road Not Taken 

Rudyard Kipling: If

We then talked about which poem was our favorite. Each of us got to draw a picture representing our favorite poem, then tell everyone else about the picture.

Was there talking and reading in this lesson? Yes. Was there presentations and public speaking? Yes. Did each of us have to decide on a favorite and articulate a reason why? Yes. We practiced all these skills in a simple poetry lesson. And we also got to have a lot of fun huddling in a fort and doing class in a place that wasn’t a table, classroom, or desk.

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Literature for the week: The Swing.

The image of a girl swinging - which is what my children like to do at the park. So I thought that a lesson based around a poem about swinging would be great.

The image of a girl swinging – which is what my children like to do at the park. So I thought that a lesson based around a poem about swinging would be great.

Our literature lesson for this week is based on “The Swing,” a poem by Robert Louis Stevenson.

To find the poem, visit this link: http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/the-swing/

I printed the poem out so that each child would have a copy of the poem. Then we did a differentiated lesson.

Nicholas got to read the poem to Abby. Then he had to help her point out the word up – and he wrote the word “up” at the side of her paper. Abby then got a highlighter and had to highlight all the “up” she could find.

While Abby was highlighting, Nicholas got to answer the following questions – in writing:

1. What colors does the poem mention?

2. What does the child see when they go up in the swing?

3. What does the child see when they go down in the swing?

4. Does this poem make you want to go swing? Why or why not?

5. What do you see when you swing?

Then, when we were all finished (Abby also got a highlighter to highlight all letter E’s in the poem – since E is the letter for today), I had them each write their own poem.

Except they decided not to write them and to perform them instead. Which is also okay. Nicholas and Abby ended up doing a joint performance where Nicholas told Abby what to say. They dressed up in outfits from the dress up box so that they could put on the performance. Nicholas grabbed a paper towel roll and used it as a microphone. Then they performed for me. I did record it for future reference – they were super cute.

I’m always happy when lessons take on a life of their own. To see them engaged in creating their own lesson and poem and performance is amazing. I love watching the kids grow as they learn to do things like this.

What came next? Well, a walk to the park and a ride on the swings of course!

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