Friday, 6 April 2012

Letter from teacher re poetry teaching

Dear Michael
I follow you on Twitter and ....

I teach a primary 6 class, in a Belfast school, in a large council estate. Every morning I start the day with a poem taken a "poem for every day of the year" type of anthology. I read it aloud and then ask the children for a show of hands as to how many points out of 10 they would give it. Every class I have taught love this. They love poems that rhyme or those that make them laugh but many have also voted for poems they haven't understood but which they "just like the sound of". Throughout the year we cover a wide variety of poetry, some of which would sometimes be considered to be adult fayre, such as Shakespeare or Tennyson or Wordsworth. The children carefully listen and are really keen to offer their opinion on the poem of that day. On Friday I remind them of the week's poems and we vote again, this time for poem of the week. The winning poem is photocopied and is put on a small display area on the classroom wall. When the previous winning poem is taken down the children all argue about who can take and keep the previous week's poem.

It is such a small thing to do each day but I have found that it has triggered a love for poetry in many of the children. They very often get poetry books of their own from the class library and bring me their favourites to add to the Friday poem of the week.

I just thought I would share this small thing with you to let you know that many times in school we do things which cannot be measured and which might seem inconsequential, but which might enrich the lives of another generation of children.