What is poetry but life condensed? This week, the Virtual Curriculum Fair’s topic is Seeking Beauty. And, as Edgar Allen Poe said, “Poetry is the rhythmic creation of beauty in words.
It’s like a juice machine, squeezing out the essence of an idea, an emotion, an experience and then ejecting the pulp. In this condensed form, every word is significant.
In this form, literary devices become more obvious and more meaningful. And easier to teach.
I have taught two semesters of poetry in a co-op setting now. That’s two semesters of children, not yet able to read, who can discuss and create examples of such literary devices as allliteration, onomatopoeia, metaphor and imagery.. But we never open a textbook. We never fill out a worksheet. Because the trick to teaching poetry to children is to keep it playful.
So for onomatopoeia (always the favorite), I might introduce a poem like The Bells, by Edgar Allan Poe.
Hear the sledges with the bells –
What a world of merriment their melody foretells!
How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle,
In the icy air of night!
While the stars that oversprinkle
All the heavens seem to twinkle
With a crystalline delight;
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells
From the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells –
From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells.
For added effect, you could even ring a small jingle bell along with every example (in bold) of onomatopoeia. Then I have the children come up with their own examples. Sometimes they need a little help to get started (suggesting an animal noise or two starts a flood of ideas) and then we begin research for our own sound poem. At home, we go outside. At co-op, we just go out in the hall. We then sit quietly, eyes shut, concentrating on all the sounds we hear.
After we are back to our seats, we talk about the sounds we heard and come up with our own “sound words” for our “sound poem.” Each child adds their sound word to the poem and I usually come up with some concluding line to tie it together.
And the continued practice to retain these new concepts is not a worksheet or a drill, but the continued reading of great books. Because literary devices are all around us, in poetry, in song and in prose. Whether it is the “jingle” of Jingle Bells or the “click, clack” of the typewriter in Click Clack, Moo, oppotunities to notice them and what they add to a text abound.
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Now I invite you to visit my fellow homeschool bloggers who are talking about seeking beauty in their homeschools:
Links will all be live by Monday at 12 noon EST.
Living & Loving Art by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds
Putting the Fun in School by Michele @ Family, Faith and Fridays
Art Fun In Our Homeschool by Amanda @Hopkins Homeschool
Fine Arts Is The Fun Part by Laura @ Four Little Penguins
Washing Dust Off Our Souls by Lisa @ Golden Grasses
Bringing Beauty Into Your Homeschool Through Poetry by Dana @ Roscommon Acres
Seeking out the beauty… by Kim @ Good Sweet Love
Joy in Home Education by Sarah @ Delivering Grace
Teaching Drawing (When You Can’t Draw) by Lizzy @ Peaches At Home
Homeschool Art for the Artistically Challenged by Brittney @ Mom’s Heart
Jesus, Peace, Freedom & Our Homeshool by Meghan W @ Quiet In The Chaos
Fine Arts Options in High School by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool
Reluctant Artist? What do you do? by Annette @ A Net in Time
Making Fine Arts a Priority by Lisa @ McClanahan 7
Creative Pursuits by Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break
Arts and Crafts in Our Homeschool by Shecki @ Greatly Blessed
Where Do You Find Beauty? by Lori H @ At Home: where life happens
Looping our Beauty Topics Saved our Homeschool by HillaryM @ Walking Fruitfully