A lesson I recently conducted with younger learners (13-14) to help with engagement with text and manipulating language. This is based on printer/Academy artist Tom Phillips (some of whose work is exhibited herein), and was inspired by an art teacher friend. The project was really successful with amazing results from 14year old kids.

1. Take some old books. In my case I used The Sound and the Fury and One Hundred Years of Solitude. In fact, it would be great to see results from other texts: like medical encyclopedias, or old instruction manuals, etc

2. Start severing pages from the book. This is the best bit. The reaction from the kids as you hack apart the books is priceless.

3. Distribute the pages, along with heavy ink pens and/or crayons. The students could be shown the attached images to inspire their approach and end-results.

4. Students are to circle the words that attract them on the page. It’s well worth giving them a brief, such as a theme, or emotion, or to make results based on alliteration. It’s also worth directing them to include some connectives and prepositions.

5. The isolated words can be read aloud: the results are often lucid imagery-based poems. I also used an animation video of Jabberwocky by Lewis Caroll to enhance their impression that poetry is often detached from concrete, rational based meaning. It is really effective for so-called ‘visual learners’, as they are able to create William Blake style productions from the torn out pages.

N.B. This is not something I can imagine working effectively with a Kindle. Thank God for printed books.

N.B 2 It may well be worth checking on the contents of printed artifacts before distributing to ensure pages with any inflammatory language do not end up in the hands of some nutty kid who gets excitable about political correctness in literature

Image

Image  http://www.tomphillips.co.uk/

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5 Comments

May 13, 2012 · 9:58 am

5 responses to “Poetry emerging from the depths of old sources

  1. Love that idea! It’s brilliant how kids really engage with art. I’ve taken mine to lots of galleries that have action packs & it really works. I’ll store that in creative ideas memory – thanks for sharing 🙂

  2. Thanks Natalie! It inspired me too, but must admit I adapted it from a friends idea who is an art teacher. Nevertheless, it worked really well and some of the results were really impressive. Maybe it depends on the type of text you have, as much as the type of learner.

  3. what a great idea. My students are 17 and 18 but they still love cutting and sticking!

  4. A fantastic idea! I teach “Jabberwocky” in my Year 8 scheme of work on sound poetry. My Deputy Head will love this idea – she is a very creative bod! Perhaps I should share it with the Art Department too? I wonder how many other subjects could use it?

  5. thanks everyone! do you want to give me a job? i can do this and get paid!

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