Legbourne East Wold Primary School – Mr Watson's Blog

A place where we can share what we are doing in class, find out more and reflect on our learning!

Performance Poetry

Posted by eastwoldblog on January 13, 2010

One of the things that we have agreed on this week is that Michael Rosen creates poems that are better when performed.

Here are some tips for you to practice Performance Poetry for yourself.

Here is some information to try  to help them understand how they can use their voice to create different effects – we will be doing some of this in school too!

Have fun – that is what this kind of Poem is all about!

Performing Poetry: A Study Guide for Teachers, Parents and Children!
by Kathy Norris (adapted by Mr Watson)

Voice Emphasis Exercises
Purpose: To have students learn the importance of varying the pitch, rate and volume of their voices. Emphasizing different words will alter the meaning of the poem that the students are reading.

Exercise 1:
1. Use the following poem by Bruce Lansky for this exercise.

My Baby Sister
My baby sister’s
really swell.
I love her smile,
but not her smell.

(Note: All poems used in this study guide are copyright by Bruce Lansky.)

2. Have students take turns reading the poem emphasizing one word over the others. For example the first student reads it emphasizing “My” and the second student reads the poem emphasizing “baby,” and so on until the last student has read the poem emphasizing the last word “smell.”
3. Reading the selected word with emphasis means to say it louder, slower and more dramatically than the other words in the poem. If you emphasize “My” it means my baby sister as opposed to yours. If you emphasize “baby” it may mean your baby sister as opposed to your older sister.
4. Discuss how the meaning of the poem changes as different words are emphasized.
5. Teach your students that as they practice other poems to present in class that they can decide which words to emphasize. They can underline these words so that they can identify these words as they practice their poems.

Exercise 2:
Many students speak too quickly when presenting poems in front of the class or an audience. Your pitch and volume can vary more when you slow down your rate of speech.

1. Use the following poem by Bruce Lansky for this exercise:

I’d Rather
I’d rather wash the dishes
I’d rather kiss a frog.
I’d rather get an F in math
or run a ten-mile jog.
I’d rather do my homework.
I’d rather mow the lawn.
I’d rather take the garbage out.
I’d rather wake at dawn.
I’d rather dine on Brussels sprouts
or catch the chicken pox.
I’d rather do most anything
than clean the litter box.

2. Have a student volunteer to read the poem slowly, much slower than she/he would if they were actually presenting to the class.
3. Now have a student volunteer to read the poem quickly. Tell then to read it as quick as she/he possibly can.
4. Discuss the effectiveness of both readings.
5. Lastly, have a student read the poem at a rate between fast and slow. Quick enough to maintain an interest of the listeners yet slow enough to enunciate each word clearly and at a pace which enables the reader to ad emphasis through his/her pitch, volume, and rate.
6. You can have students read the poem in pairs. The reading should take approximately seconds.

Feeling confident? Try some of these Giggle Poetry – Poetry Theatre

Mr W.

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