You have now developed the student interest in poetry and confidence in reading poems aloud. The next step is to develop the students' tone. Each poem's emotional theme is different depending on the message in the poem; however some poems can be expressed using different tones. The purpose of this activity is to get students to practice projecting different emotions through their voice. This activity will help students become more aware of a characters' feelings through role-play which will allow them to read and write with expression.
You will first need a copy of the expression cards that are located in the appendix. Pictures can be added to the cards as a visual for each expression. You will want to make a set of cards for small groups of students depending on the set up of your classroom. Start with one expression such as happy. You will model by reading the poem with the expression "happy." Show the students with your voice what it sounds like. Your face will express this emotion as well. Once you have modeled this activity with the class the students can then work in small groups reading sentences of poetry. After they have had practice with the sentences and phrases, they can choose poems of their choice. Their expression cards can be placed faced down on a table. The students can choose the cards one at a time as if they were playing a game. Poems can also be placed on chart paper. Each stanza can be assigned an expression
After having had a chance to explore with the expression cards, the students can discuss their voice, tone, expression and body language. Questions can include but are not limited to: how is the character feeling? What is happening in the poem? What would happen if we heard the poem in a different expression? How does our body language change to fit the expression? How is expression used to convey the message in the poem? Here you are beginning to use poetry to build comprehension skills.