Put the following words on the board: kayak, level, madam and ask your students what they have in common. See if they can come up with any more examples of words that can be read both ways (in English or in their own language).
Ask them to complete the sentence below:
‘30 years from now, I’ll be celebrating the 10th anniversary of ….’. Then listen to their ideas, help with language if needed, and appreciate the variations they come up with.
‘True AND False’
Put the following on the board: ‘Happiness comes from within.’ Ask half of the class (Team A) to come up with reasons that back up the statement, and the other half (Team B) to come up with reasons to show that the statement is not true. Then listen to the ideas ping-pong style: each group taking turns giving a reason, as in a ping-pong match.
Check understanding of key vocabulary, language chunks. E.g. priority, have my priorities straight, apathetic, lethargic, quick-fix society, concede, a country of my own making, celebrate your X anniversary, expert
After the first viewing, ask your students to come up with an alternative title individually or in pairs. Listen and appreciate their ideas.
Check understanding of key vocabulary, language chunks. E.g. priority, have my priorities straight, apathetic, lethargic, quick-fix society, concede, a country of my own making, celebrate your X anniversary, expert.
‘Watch and listen’
There are many variations on youtube of the original poem. Ask your students if they’d like to ‘listen & watch’, and reflect on how the voice and the image changes the effect.
Note: listening/reading the poem several times, will help learners to pick up the language.
- One person reading + image: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ynzPgcQ7CAU
- Several people chain-reading: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWSYPDh7O5Q
‘In my own voice’
Ask your students to make the poem their own, by making one or two changes to it while keeping its reversibility. They then make a recording and listen to one another’s in groups, or just read out their poem while the others in the group have to spot the changes.
Note: It is important to appreciate everyone’s effort. ‘Voting on the best one’, for example, can undermine people’s confidence.
‘Write your own’
Ask your students to come up with their own ‘reverse poems.’ Invite them to make a recording with their chosen image/images and present it in the following class, or put it up on the group’s e-learning platform.
This is a great activity! The poem is very effective, and I really like the true and false pre-viewing activity. I’ve done a global issues based poetry activity with a few different classes, and this poem will be a good addition.
Here’s a link to the materials I used in my activity: http://www.esletc.com/?p=968
Thanks for sharing this!
This is powerful stuff! I’m sure students will be intrigued and inspired by the poem. I’ve never seen anything quite like it before. The pre activities are so relevant and engaging! Can’t wait to try it!
This is a very good, thought-provoking video and poem. I chose it because it is so original and I haven’t seen anything quite like it, and I’m sure that students would feel the same way about it. It gives great opportunity to discuss the mentioned issues in pair work, group work, and/or debate. I can even picture them arguing about which half of the poem is true for today’s society. Such activities would improve students’ speaking proficiency. I think that this poem can also be used to illustrate the parts of a sentence (clause, phrase, words), and the importance of punctuation marks.