For anyone new to this blog, the idea is simple - each day my boys (Joshua - 9 and Archie - 8) choose a stimulus that drives the learning. We hope that you enjoy the blog and can take some inspiration from what we love doing - making learning as engaging as possible!
Having been blessed with glorious weather recently, the arrival of the rain was a welcome stimulus. There is nothing more powerful than real-life experience, especially when it comes to creative writing. Today's blog is all in celebration of the wonder that is rain.
We hope you enjoy!
Simile, metaphor, personification, onomatopoeia
Drawing upon the senses
Fact and opinion
Today's English work comes from Pie Corbett's book, Jumpstart! Poetry. Again, it is encouraging the boys to engage in the world around them and look at with open eyes.
Teaching two children with such a different flair for language has been fascinating. Joshua is very precise and accurate in his description, liking to state the factual concrete content rather than the abstract ideology. Archie is the reverse, open to wild interpretation and creation. I absolutely love working with them both in totally different ways. I find that we have created a bond through writing poetry that has helped us understand each other at a far deeper level. It is an absolute joy and one I will always treasure.
The model for the lesson is as follows:
Take something that you want to explore (e.g. rain)
Make a list of possible lines you could write about it, providing a sentence frame.
Brainstorm ideas and then construct.
The importance is not to overthink it. To paraphrase Ted Hughes, look at the thing closely and become it as the words will then take care of themselves - like magic.
The frame we used was as follows (I have included the potential grammar in context in brackets):
The rain looks like... (simile)
It reminds me of... (personal memory/connection)
It makes me feel... (senses)
It sounds like... (senses)
It feels like... (senses)
It tastes of... (senses)
It seems to...but... (opinion)
It can... (personification)
It will... (personification)
It is... (metaphor)
I showed the boys how rain could be seen as both a positive and negative thing. Through description and word choice, we discussed the impact these poems had on us, the reader. Then, using the frame, the boys created their own poems, being truthful to themselves and their own feelings. Below are the poems, as well as recorded readings.
The rain looks like stars, falling from the sky.
It reminds me of Cornish holidays and coastal walks.
It makes me feel alive.
It sounds like the applause of an appreciative audience.
It feels like being set free, escaping the world.
It tastes of purity.
It seems to last forever but eventually fades.
It can quench the earth's thirst.
It will give birth to new life.
It is survival.
© Jamie Thomas 2020
The rain looks like polished tears, tumbling to the ground.
It reminds me of broken promises and hearts, torn.
It makes me feel sad.
It sounds like perpetual tapping.
It feels like Winter's grasp, soaking to the soul.
It tastes of...nothing.
It seems to water but occasionally drowns.
It can burn and belittle.
It will take no prisoners.
It obeys none.
It is almighty.
© Jamie Thomas 2020
Rain by Archie
The rain looks like Sky Giants' slobber.
It reminds me of being drenched when I rode my bike.
It makes me feel frustrated.
It sounds like a drum pit pat pit pat.
It feels like iIm soaking wet.
It seems to bounce like a bouncy ball.
It can scare rabbits into their burrow.
It will spray like a sprinkler.
It is wet play.
Rain by Joshua
Rain rain looks like glass eyeballs, tumbling to the ground.
It reminds me of God’s tears.
It makes me feel angry.
It sounds like splitter splatter.
It feels like wet spiderwebs.
It seems to fall like a waterfall.
It can soak people’s clothes.
It will fall to the ground and never harm you again.
It is God’s sprinkler.
Here are the recordings of us reading our poems. I am so passionate that poetry needs to be heard read out loud. I love seeing the boys grow in confidence as we continue to read and perform.
Number bonds to 100
The boys are constantly asking about the weather, mainly so they can know whether they will be able to play outside or not. To help them understand the weather, we looked at the weather apps and discussed percentages and probability. We also played a quick mental arithmetic game, calculating the % chance of their not being rain.
e.g. If there is a 78% chance of their being rain on Tuesday, what is the % chance of there not being rain?
This is something we saw on Pinterest and had fun replicating:
If you are enjoying this blog, please do share it and spread the word. Thank you to all of you who have got in touch and shared some of the outcomes from what you have tried - we love to hear from you.
Do tune in tomorrow where we will be celebrating:
Empathy Day 2020
There is an amazing line-up announced - follow this link if you are interested: https://www.empathylab.uk/empathy-day-20204bde2d62
My thanks to Pie Corbett, Julia Strong and the Talk for Writing team for inspiring many of the ideas explored in this blog.