Presenting poems does not follow rules; on the contrary, I would say that it all depends on the poem of course, on your class and on your strengths or weaknesses as a teacher or as a person.
I am not the world’s most extroverted person, but when it comes to reading stories and poems to children I have had so much practice with my own children that I am a natural! I will change voices, I will exaggerate movements, I will bring the poem alive, I will do all I can to draw the students into it.
One of my favourites is a short poem called Silverly:
Over the Deep in her
The moon drifts, A little girl
By on a Dreams with the Runaway Moon in her
There is a mesmerizing quality about it not just in the images it evokes but also in its enunciation. So here is how I go about it:
I ask my pupils, young ones normally, to rest their heads on the desk and close their eyes. I switch off the light, I put on my soft mellow voice and read dragging the words out and maintaining a tempo throughout the reading.
Then I ask the pupils to draw an image of what they make of the poem. It is not essential that they know all the words so they can do so. They will want to hear it again so that they can draw the picture, which reinforces listening skills.
I get some original pictures in response to the poem – often of a disproportionately large moon hovering in the sky with a little girl lying in bed far below and her long orange hair loose all over the bed.
I then show them a powerpoint slideshow, which you can see below and I focus on “drift”. As my pupils are quite young, I only elicit the literal use of the word by drawing
· some food cooking, the smell of which drifts down the stairs
· a boat drifting in the sea
· a woman whose perfume drifts all over the room
and asking them to write a sentence for each picture using the word “drift”.
Methodological choices must be made all the time and they all depend on what one’s aims are. Mine was to provide a Friday evening break from the routine while exposing my pupils to spoken language and exciting their imagination as well as presenting the lexical item “drift” through the motion of the slideshow.