29 October 2010

Teaching poetry and folktales

An interesting opportunity has come my way recently. Although I've never, ever, ever wanted to be a teacher (seems like one of the hardest jobs in the world to me), I have accepted the invitation to be a guest teacher (of sorts) for the Extended Day program with Millington Elementary School. I was asked to talk about two of my great loves--poetry and folk/fairy tales--for an hour two Monday afternoons in a row. How could I say no? I'm actually pretty excited about it. I had a hard time, at first, trying to develop a lesson plan. But once I decided on the poem I would talk to them about, it all sort of fell into place. "Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf" by Roald Dahl is such a fun and surprising retelling of the traditional tale and I'm sure the 8-10 year olds that I'll be working with will not be too shocked and appalled by the pistol in Little Red's knickers. Maybe they will understand how much fun both poetry and folktales can be--that, of course, is my aim. So here's my basic lesson plan:

1. What do you think poetry is? What makes a poem a poem?
  • Terms: line, stanza, rhyme, meter.
  • Description: metaphors, similes.
2. Poetry is just another form of storytelling.
  • Similar to folktales because both were meant to be read aloud.
  • In poetry, the sounds of the words are just as important as the story itself (the music of words).
3. Pass out copies of "Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf" by Roald Dahl.
  • Read it aloud to class once.
  • Then, read it aloud again with the class. Go around the room, each student reading 2 lines at a time.
Creative Writing Assignment
Pick a folktale that you know really well (you can pick "Little Red Riding Hood" if you want) and tell it again as a poem. Feel free to change the traditional story as you retell it. The poem does not have to rhyme, but it certainly can if you want.

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