Another one of my favorite activities is to use poetry to teach visualization. Since I teach this during testing, I try to add in some interesting hands on element to the lesson.
I project this poem by Rachel Fields.
Grandmother tells me about a brook
She used to pass on her way to school;
A quick, brown brook with a rushing sound,
And moss-green edges, thick and cool.
When she was the age I am now
She would cross over it, stone by stone.
I like to think how she must have looked
Under the greenery, all alone.
Sometimes I ask her: “Is it there,
That brook you played by--- the same, today?”
And she says she hasn’t a doubt it is-
It’s children who change and go away.
First I talk about how to make friends and understand a poem. I read the poem two times. Then I read it line by line and talk about what I notice in the poem. Some of the things we discuss are:
· What is a brook? What would it look like or sound like? I have students close their eyes and visualize.
· Who is the speaker? How do we know?
· How old is the speaker?
· How did she cross the brook? What does stone-by stone mean? I have even had kids act it out if they are especially antsy.
· What is greenery? What would it look? I have students close their eyes and visualize.
· I have students close their eyes again and visualize what the brook would look like now after all the information the speaker has given us.
· What is the purpose of the hyphen? Why would a pause be important in how it is read?
· What does it mean when the Grandmother says, “It’s the children who change and go away?”
Students go back to their seats and use pencil to draw in the brook as the background of the poem. I have them use the entire page- even over the words. Students illustrate what they visualize when we read the poem. I encourage students to use the details that we learned from the poem. For example we know the color of the brook, the trees around it, there is a school house, the stones across the brook and so on.
Then I pull out the big guns. I give students water color paints and have them paint what they visualize. Once again, it is a great way too cool sown after a long say of testing and is still academic.