This section will be utilized to get the students used to the idea of poetry. Since some special ed. students have difficulty with changes or with learning new concepts, an introduction to poetry will be most helpful. Once they have familiarized themselves with poetry, successfully written some of their own poetry and have learned some terms, then they will be more prepared to investigate others’ poetry.
In order to begin understanding poetry or the components of poetry, the student must first know what a poem is. A working definition I have come up with from my knowledge is as follows;
A poem is a group of words which expresses a specific emotion or a myriad of emotions through particular and sharp images. It recreates a single moment or experience with only a few well-chosen, exact words.
A list of questions of identifying what a poem is
will be available in the lesson plans. It may be easier for a student to answer questions concerning why a poem is not a paragraph, or a long story, and doesn’t always have capitals, complete sentences, or a period at the end of each train of thought. At this point it will be helpful to have the student visually dissect the poem. Then the number of words, verses or stanzas can be pointed out. Any poem in Koch’s
WISHES LIES AND DREAMS
can be used as examples of this. Poems such as
by Ted Jones and Countee Cullen’s
The Wise are two poems filled with
rhyme which can be used with students for recognition of rhyme. Visually,
and Gwendolyn Brooks’
The Tapestry Rug
are good clear examples of recognizing stanzas. Lucy Smith’s
Face of Poverty
has both analogies and similes that can be observed and examined by the student. This introduction, which touches on some different aspects of poetry will have fostered a better knowledge of poetry and will have prepared the students to look at black poetry from twentieth century America. Once the definition and visual recognition has been identified by the student, you can pose the important question of why people write poetry. Stress the creative expression of feelings, the playing with words and the means used to get the point across of what you are trying to say; this poetry allows. Then move the students towards thinking about the mood of the poem or the picture it creates. Since poems are basically feelings or events expressed through images, the students can now draw pictures or designs reflecting the moods of poems, and therefore reinforce this idea.