Group Poem

This is a a group poem put together by me and my Teens 1 class (12/13 year olds). The idea was taken from the book by Michael Rosen: Did I hear you write? who says 'in order to alert a class to the fact that what they say and do is the valid stuff of writing, I might do a group poem with them.' He also states that having students imagine the situation in the present tense releases more immediate emotions, dialogues and moments.'

I wrote the title I am ill on the whiteboard and asked them how they feel when they are ill, what they can see and hear, what people say and what they think - all the while noting down things they came up with on the whiteboard and every 3 lines I wrote the chorus line I am ill, I am ill. I tried to make sure every student said at least one line, pushed them to really imagine the situation at home and together we translated anything they couldn't say in English. Afterwards we read the poem aloud; all of us saying the chorus line. This was the result:

I'm ill, I'm ill
The T.V is on
I'm doing my homework
in my bedroom.
I'm ill, I'm ill
my mother's shouting
the dog is barking
the phone is vibrating
I'm ill, I'm ill
my sister is singing
'You should be at school!'
'Do you have exams?' asks my Mother
I'm ill, I'm ill
I'm not at school
I miss my friends
I wish it was summer
I'm ill, I'm ill
I feel bad
I am in pain

As an extension Rosen suggests students copy the poem, change the poem, cut it up or expand it. I put mine on my classroom wall and encourage other classes to read them and question them.

More group poems we've done here.

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