Working with poetry is unfortunately seen as a risk by many teachers since a) it can be difficult to choose a poem/poet that appeals to students and b) more and more young people nowadays don’t read books, let alone poems. I truly believe though that exposing students to poetry can be one of the most powerful and moving learning experiences. I’m always amazed by my students’ insights, imagination and creativity every time I work on poems with my classes.
This year I decided to combine the best of the 2 worlds (fiction + poetry) and have a Reading Club with my B2-level class. The rules were very simple. There was one “contributor” every week who was chosen randomly. I provided a list of websites which they could visit to find their short story (up to 8 pages long) or poem – however, they were free to choose a short story or poem of their choice as well. Upon selecting the poem/story, they gave it out to their classmates who had to read it for a week. During the “reading” week, the contributor and myself (I was the mini-teacher in this case:) had to design a set of activities for the rest of the class to do.
There were lots of great stories and poems we worked on, but if I had to choose one poem that meant the most to them, I think that would be “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”. The poem itself lends to people’s imagination, so I felt their work was awesome. You can find all the work we’ve done as part of our Reading Club here: Reading Club
Apart from our Reading Club, we also worked on poem writing through Grammar and we had a special section on Modals. I asked them to think of the different usages modals have and write their own poems.
Read their poems and creative stories here: Stories and poems
If you’re still in two minds about using poetry in your class, hesitate no more! You’re about to experience unique moments of creativity and inspiration, especially if you let your kids lead the way!