Write the word poem on the board. Ask your students, in small groups, to define it.
Write up their suggestions around the word. Hopefully someone will have mentioned rhyme and metre, both features of more “traditional” or “older” poetry.
Display or hand out copies of this verse from Jonathan Swift. Ask students to decide how it should be read and then ask for some performances.
If students need some help, explain that there are four beats/stresses per line which should fall on the syllables in blue shown here. Point out the rhyming pattern of AA, BB i.e. the first line rhymes with the second, and the third line rhymes with the fourth.
Tell students that they’re going to work with another poem which has the same metre and rhyming pattern. If you have a larger class, divide them into nine groups and make them responsible for a verse each. If your class is smaller, three groups responsible for three verses each. However, all students should have all nine verses even though they may be working on one (or three) at the moment. Give out the poem.
Tell them that their task is to fill in the missing words so that the poem follows the AABB rhyming pattern. They can try to guess the missing word, but the most important thing is to find a word that rhymes even if it doesn’t make sense! Write up their suggestions, one for each gap.
Now tell them to focus again on their section of the poem. They should underline or highlight the four beats in each line and practise reading it – one line per person for a group of four, for example. They can use their mobiles or a dictionary for any problems with meaning or pronunciation.
Get the class to read out the poem in order (verse A to I) and then have a vote on which verse was best in two different categories – the best words in the gaps and the one that was read the best.
Ask them to agree on what the message of the poem is and then show them the video.
Tell them that they have to watch without taking notes. They’ll hear their verses at the end and they should listen out for the missing words. (You can find the whole poem here.)
Ask them to compare his delivery of the lines to their own. Better? Just different?
Now tell them that you’re going to ask them for their reactions. Display these questions and discuss them, either as a whole group or in smaller groups, who then feed back to the class.
In the next class, tell students that they’re going to revisit some of the vocabulary from Look Up, but they’re going to look at second meanings or different collocations. Display these questions for students to discuss.
In 1994 to promote the film “Il Postino” Miramax released The Postman (Il Postino): Music From The Miramax Motion Picture, which, besides the film’s score, includes Pablo Neruda’s poems recited by many celebrities. Today’s lesson is based on the beautiful reading of Love Poem No. 20 by Andy García. It’s a translation exercise and, although the example here is from the original Spanish, I’ve included links to versions of the poem in other languages. It appears to be very easy to find in almost any language on the web as it’s so famous. What I like about using poetry is that it makes people think about how to express themselves in a much more creative way. And of course, there isn’t necessarily a correct answer…