Different poems lend themselves to different approaches. Depending on the students’ age and personality some approaches work better than others. However, anything that addresses the students’ kinesthetic intelligence seems to have a special appeal even among adults.
The following poem is ideal for miming. It can be used both for checking understanding and producing language. This is why, rather than miming the whole poem myself, I prefer to assign each verse to a different group of students. This means that they will all look up words they don’t understand so that they can mime their verse and they will watch the other group carefully so that they will translate their miming into words. An amount of competition is to be expected but also plenty of fun and conviviality.
One might need a combination of drawing and miming. For instance, some of my students drew the tap and mimed turning it on. It would be useful to bring in some realia so that they can be used for miming. A card could be stuck on the board to indicate the time of the incident: “This morning”.
The poem is simple enough and provides good practice for Past Simple. As a follow-up activity the students can be invited to give a brief account of similar home disasters. At this level they are not expected to come up with anything complicated but most are very keen to share “calamities” they suffered.
This morning my dad shouted
This morning my dad shouted.
This morning my dad swore.
There was water through the ceiling.
There was water on the floor.
There was water on the carpets.
There was water down the stairs.
The kitchen stools were floating
So were the dining chairs.
This morning I’ve been crying.
Dad made me so upset.
He shouted and he swore at me
Just ‘cause things got so wet.
I only turned the tap on
To get myself a drink.
The trouble is I didn’t see
The plug was in the sink.
By John Foster