The Poetry Man goes Back to Nature
So half-term came to quite an abrupt end last week, and the return to school was spearheaded by a truly scintillating training day, which left less than adequate time to sort out today’s lessons. I did, however, find the time to prepare for the third outing of the famous Poetry Man, due for this morning.
Now, if you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know that the last two Poetry Man outings have been pretty frenetic. Kids, in my experience, get used to routine fairly quickly, no matter how mental, so I was keen to slow up the pace and try something a bit more sedate. But I still wanted to keep Poetry Man out of the classroom, so out into the wild was my starting point.
The lesson started with a note on my door instructing the class (whose names I still haven’t worked out by the way) to ‘come find me’ on the lawn. It wasn’t long before they arrived, greeting me as I sat, plucking on a guitar, in trademark trilby and mac. Thank god it wasn’t raining.
The session was all about autumn. We sit in a circle and after s few harmonica-accompanied impromptu poetry recitals, I produce a stack of 28 numbered envelopes. One for each kid. They get passed round and the kids retrieve a slip of paper featuring one line from Keats’ ‘To Autumn’ which they have to read as theatrically as possible. While this is happening a flustered and lost TA turns up and open my brolley at her, making her the official theatrics judge. Anyway, long story short, this turns into a little chat about the Romantics and some really bad guitar playing from one of the girls.
Back to the envelopes, out of which each kid pulls a copy of the original ‘To Autumn’. It was cool to see them searching for their lines and the genuine excitement when they found it in Keats’ scrawl. At one point I actually had a few shouts of “I’ve found it, Poetry Man!” See below:
So the final thing to come out of the envelopes is a ‘Senses sheet’, with blank boxes for sight, sound, and touch. We fill them in by a) playing eye spy, b) closing our eyes and listening, and c) running around.
And that’s about it. We took our sheets and marched back to the classroom (stopping along the way to shout “Boo!” at a member of SLT of course). A far calmer Poetry Man adventure than the balloons and biscuit zombies, but no less refreshing.
Two weeks will see it happen all over and I’m tempted to bring Christmas early (but we’ll see…)
(Update – the English department is still receiving emails asking what Biscuit Zombies are.)