Sunday, February 22, 2015

Lesson Share - 'At the Playground' by Brian Moses (Poem)

I would like to share another lesson for Year 4. This lesson was inspired by a lesson plan that was featured in EMSE's 'Teaching Poetry' newsletter last year. I had conducted this lesson in my previous school in Kunak, and posted some photos on EMSE's Facebook group. I used the same lesson plan in my new school recently, but with some modifications.

The lesson was based on the poem 'At the Playground' by Brian Moses (page 3 of the book 'Anthology of Poems for Year 4,5 and 6').


I wrote the word 'poem' on the board and asked the students if they know the meaning. Someone came up with the Malay word 'sajak', and I told the class that 'poem' is just like 'sajak' or 'puisi' in Malay language. I told the class that today we were going to read a poem in English, and I showed them this picture:

**Go here if you'd like to view or download the picture

I tried to elicit the word 'playground' from the students. I told the students that the poem that we were about to read was about the playground. I let the students talk about playgrounds that they had been to. I asked the students to share their experiences with their friends. What did they do at the playground? What did they see? How did they feel? 

Before we read the poem, I introduced the word 'poet.' I told the students that a poet is someone who writes a poem. I told the class that the poem we were about to read is written by the poet Brian Moses.

**That's the picture of Brian Moses that I showed to my students (got it from Google image). I have made a pdf file of the image - you can download it from here if you like.

Pre-Listening Activity

I put the pictures from page 3 of the 'Anthology of Poem' book up on the board, and asked the students to predict what the poem was about. The students talked about what they could see in the pictures - what is the girl doing, what is she feeling, why is she laughing / crying etc. I also tried to elicit some vocabulary from the students (swing, slide, rings) and the verbs that go with them (swing, slide, hang).

**I have made a pdf file of the scanned images. You can download it here.

Listening Activity

I recited the poem once, and the students listened. I asked the students whether their predictions were correct. Then, I got the students to sit in groups of four or five, and distributed jumbled strips of verses from the poem. I read the poem again, the students listened and tried to arrange the strips in the correct order.

**Yes, this is available for download too. Get it here. :)

An alternative to arranging: My students in Kunak used some glue to paste the strips on a piece of coloured paper.

The final product.

Then, we checked the answers together. I put some bigger jumbled strips on the board, reread the poem and invited several volunteers to help put the strips in the correct order while the rest of the class monitored.

Speaking Activity

I let the students talk about what the poem was about. Who was telling the story? (A girl). We talked about the word 'tone.' We discussed the mood and the feelings of the girl in the poem. Was she happy? Was she sad? What happened and why? I highlighted the word 'but' in the poem. We discuss how the mood changes after the word 'but.'

Reciting the Poem
We tried to come up with actions that could go with certain words e.g. 'swung', 'slid', 'hung', 'kiss', 'cuddle' and 'fell.' Then, we recited the poem together. The students practiced reciting the poem in different ways, e.g. group recital, boys and girls take turns saying different lines, using different voices (loud, soft, quiet, strong etc.). Here's a video clip of my students in Kunak reciting the poem:

'Disappearing text' Activity
To make it more interesting (and to help the students memorise the poem), we did the disappearing text activity. I asked the students to repeat lines of the poem, filling in missing words as I deleted the words one by one. In the end, the students were able to recite the whole poem without having to refer to the text. My students (in both schools) loved this activity.


I asked the students whether they think the story in the poem was something that's happening now, or was it something that happened in the past? (In the past, because the girl can tell about it). I asked the students to identify the verbs (actions) in the poem. Then, we talked about past tense and present tense.

**Download the word cards here.

I let the students match the past tense verbs to their present tense forms. I intended to follow this up with more activities, probably a writing activity in a worksheet, but we didn't have enough time. Maybe in the next lesson. 

Cursive Writing

I gave this exercise to my students as a homework. The students copied the lines of the poem in cursive writing. 

Go here to download the worksheet.

I found this really cool website where you can create worksheets for cursive writing practice - for free! It was the site I used to create the worksheet above. Check it out:

Okay, I think that's it for now. Till the next post! -ccj

Update (24 February 2015)
**I forgot to copy the poem here. Here's a scanned image from the book. You can download it here

Some photos from the recent lesson in my SK Gudon Year 4 class, taken by my Head of Panel, Ms Konnie Chew

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  1. thank you for sharing...the materials are so helpful

  2. this really helps me. Thanks for your ideas. Good luck

  3. This is great & inspiring!

  4. omg, thank you so muchhhh. this really helps me


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