Thursday 9 October 2008


Working in a Year 5 class (8-9 year olds: the BEST age to be with in the edbiz) today, I hijacked a lesson by offering a performance poetry workshop inhonour of National Poetry Day. I knocked out an Alan Ahlberg ripoff style poem, comPLETEly sans irony, which was a new experience. Trite as hell, but casting my mind back to that age group I remembered that the thing that got me and my classmates really riled up was kids who always push in, and being a 'pusher' was about as morally egregious as, well, being a pusher in the more adult sense! Hence:

Polly Pusher
Poor little Polly Pusher
Some people say she's cursed:
She never can be happy
Unless she's always first.

She pushes in the dinner queue,
She pushes in P.E.
She'll push in front of everyone
Oh, why can't Polly see?

She's first to eat her dinner
And first into the yard;
But no-one wants to play with her:
She's pushed them all too hard!

Oh little Polly Pusher,
When will you ever learn?
You never will be happy
Until you can WAIT YOUR TURN!

Yeah, I know.
The kids liked it at least, and after a quick Q and A on what we could do to make listening to a poem more interesting (voices showing emotion, actions, showing the characters etc) I split them into groups and had them rehearse a performance of the poem. They were actually very cute. most involved one kid knocking all the others flying while another of them burbled out the verse while facing in the wrong direction, but there were a few slices of gold, like the kid pulling a full on melodrama/soapstar renditon "WHEN will you learn, Polly, WHEN!!!???" and ...What I guess was a modern dance piece based on queueing. the best part was the way they all clamoured and pushed to be first to show their work. That moral lesson went in, then!
Almost makes me want to teach.

1 comment:

Geraldine Moorkens Byrne said...

that's great! you're doing your bit to encourage the next generation of poets. I love the soap star rendition :) I hope you did "eastenders duhn duhn duhn" at the end :)