Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Serving Poetry 6 Ways

This post is a long time coming. I actually wrote the title and left the post blank over a year ago. I took the pictures a year ago too. That's how long this post has taken for me to write it.

It's not that the post itself has been insanely hard, just that life, especially the way that I live it, tends to get busy, because I tend to be a passionate teacher who takes on a lot of things that I believe need to be taken on--I honestly do all the things I do because I believe in them, care about them, and want everyone and everything I'm involved with to be successful, so I can't just halfway do them. And sometimes something slips. Like this blog post.

So I'll #failforward and write it now, over a year later.

We read a little Catullus, a fun poet, especially for teenagers, because he's extremely #relatable (I hope my son sees that) and I wanted to help students delve a little deeper into his mindset, but approach him in their own ways and comfort zones. The poem is Catullus 70, and if you are not a Latinist, it expresses doubt about how much his girlfriend truly feels about him.

What is cool about this activity is it is a chance for students to self-select their approach based on their own strengths, and it is very independent, so it is a break for you, the teacher, so you get to mostly overview but don't have to be the focus the entire time--a great thing to bring out on a day when you might not have the energy to lead the class but you still want meaningful engagement with the language and text!

I set up six stations around the room and set up signs directing students to choose a station based on their interests. Here are the focuses I came up with:
  • Art: Pingite Carmen! Illustrate the poem in enough detail that it will be clear. The final form needs to be in color. Choose one butcher paper sheet.
  • Music: Cantate Carmen! Set the poem to music--it has to be recognizable as actual music and flow well with the words. Be ready to demonstrate the song.
  • Acting: Carmen Agite! Act out the poem--must be practiced and ready to perform. Should make the poem crystal clear.
  • Poetry: Scribite Carmen--Anglice! Translate the poem into poetic English--must clearly represent the same themes. Choose one butcher paper sheet to write the poem on.
  • Analyze: Componite Carmen! Compare the poem to two other poems or songs. Explain the connections between the poems and songs. Choose one butcher paper sheet to write the comparisons on.
  • Emote: Scribite de Carmine! Write a reaction to the poem that explains the thoughts it connects to or inspires. Any connections are fine. Choose one butcher paper sheet to write your reactions on.
Afterwards students presented their takes on Catullus' angst to the class and I got to hang up some great interpretations. One of my favorites was a poem that felt like it was straight out of So, I Married an Axe Murderer.

Fun, easy, and full of repetitions and automatically required us to delve deeper into the reading. This is something I had even forgotten I had done and will probably be using soon with my Latin I and II classes!

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