Teaching strategies that kids love. How delicious! Kids really love poetry especially when it is by one of the greatest of all story tellers, Andrew “Banjo” Paterson. Ok. I admit it. I love Australian poetry so I am not totally unbiased. This is one of my favourite relief teaching strategies.
Teaching Strategies – Reading Poetry
If you haven’t read The GEEBUNG POLO CLUB you should.
What makes this one of my favourite teaching strategies is the age of old story of ”country versus city”. This is one of the storied that kids love.
- Privilege V Not,
- Posh V Not-posh,
- Wealth V Poor.
- The age-old battle of country V city.
And I love to perform and I really do perform for this lesson.
Teaching Strategies that work – One.
This teaching strategy is about allowing the kids the chance to MEMORISE & PERFORM parts of the play to each other, their friends, the class, other classes.
I start off by giving the kids the words to the Geebung Polo Club – but turned over.
On a signal they turn the sheet over, read the two first two lines and turn it back.
“It was somewhere up the country, in a land of rock and scrub,
That they formed an institution called the Geebung Polo Club.”
Here’s where the fun starts and where your mastery of effective teaching strategies comes to play.
The kids have to “eat” the poetry. Unpack these two lines. Build the visual cues.
- Describe the country. (dusty, dry, steep – what makes you think that?)
- Where did theY form the Geebung Polo Club. (the pub, round the fireplace, dinner table.)
- How did they form the club. (I mimic pub chatter)
- as a class,
- as individuals,
- with partners.
The teaching strategies are all about loving these two lines and knowing them off by heart. For some kids this is the first time they have ever been asked to learn any poem off by heart.
“They were long and wiry natives of the rugged mountainside,
And the horse was never saddled that the Geebungs couldn’t ride;”
- What does long and wiry mean?
- Why were they good horsemen?
- What do you think they did for a job?
- “You have 5 minutes to draw the mountain”
- “you have 3 minutes to draw a Geebung on his horse”
- “Draw a stick figure. Now dress him like a Geebung. 2 minutes. Go!”
Teaching Strategies that work – Two.
Learning the poem takes a few lessons but knowing the poem takes longer. Poetry is the product of the poet so you can’t really know The Geebung Polo Club until you know the life of A B Paterson.
Little Country boy moves to the city. So while we work through his life story, I relate the tale to the poem.
As a writing exercise the kids have to rewrite his story as a biography.
Kids often complain about this after having so much fun with the poem – but hey!
Life isn’t all beer and skittles, is it?
Suck it up and get over it!
Teaching Strategies that work – Three.
I have to say this is one of the teaching strategies I hate but the kids love. I’m not a fan of art but I am prepared to suck it up and get over it.
I give the kids plenty of notice so they can get prepared.
With heaps of junks and small props they make a diorama of a scene from the poem.
Good luck using these teaching strategies is your next relief teaching gig.