Saturday, 24 June 2017

Ella Mcstumping: capitalising on different intelligences

It is summertime, and the mind races. The heat can push people to do incredible things that they would have summarily dismissed in the sobriety of cooler weather. Or at least this is how it feels in this part of the world at the moment.

So I will focus on a children’s poem this time, which is about attempting the impossible repeatedly only to come down to earth with a bump in the long run.

The poem is called Ella McStumping and comes from the book People Poems (Jill Bennett and Nick Sharratt). It is suitable for all children as long as they have attained the required level of English.

Ella is an incorrigible leaper. She is a dreamer at heart and wants to reach for the sky. She only gives up jumping when she nearly falls to her death.

What I did with the poem, which is essentially narrative, is that I cranked up the mystery in it by removing words at the end of several lines and then asked my students to fill the gaps by relying on rhyme for clues. This way they had to read the poem aloud several times so as to guess the words that rhyme. (musical intelligence)

You can also use visual stimuli to help them fill the gaps though in my experience this was not really necessary and it could detract from the suspense and the guessing fun.

When the students have successfully completed the task, you could ask them to mime the actions without looking in the text. (kinesthetic intelligence)

I discovered that they enjoyed telling the story by heart, too.  (linguistic intelligence)

Here is the poem as a gapped exercise:

And here with the answers highlighted:

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