The English Teacher

Teaching Sounds in Poetry

The Sound of Poetry:
Teaching the beginnings of a 'listening ear.'

1.) Divide the class into pairs and have them write three consecutive 'sound lists.' The sound lists should be easy to read. Each 'pair' of lists should be identical.

Suggested sound lists:

A.) List of animal sounds [8 min.] such as, meow, moo, slug= slurk, slurk, slurk [sound made when eating]
B.) Sounds of mechanical things [6 1/2 min.] such as, automobile accelerating 'vrrooomm.'
C.) [6 min.] Sounds of weather and things outdoors such as, big waves on the rocks go 'Booooooommmm.'

2. ) After the students have written the first list, one student [volunteer] reads the list, everyone listens, then the next student reads, etc. Eventually, the students may only wish to read the words that haven't been mentioned before.

3.) After all three lists have been read, collect them for grading. Have the students turn them in by pairs. This practice helps insure cooperation and listening between the pairs. If you are comparatively grading, total the three shortest lists from the pair, [if there is a shortest list] and divide by three. [If there are six groups perhaps you might give 2 A's, 2 B's, 2 C's based on the totals. The competitive grades create involvement and comparative quietness. Having no grade lower than a 'C' prevents any real negative competition and lessens negative feelings toward future poetry writing that you may be planning.]

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