Thursday, 22 June 2017

Assembly Item

Each year classes take turns in presenting an assembly item. This performance is usually a mixture of skills students are learning in class and topics students are currently exploring. Students can have a lot of help from the teacher or it can be mainly student driven, both of which are important.

This year 5B will be reading out a poem to the audience while being accompanied with a slide show. This may seem like a small thing, however, students have been working all term to get to this point.

Some background information:

  • English topic on poetry - Students have been learning about poetry this term. We have been exploring the poetic features of poems as well as the purpose of why poets write certain poems. 
  • My Country - In particular, we have spent some time exploring Dorothea Mackellar's poem 'My Country'. We have decided as a class to write a poem about Mount Annan Christian College using a similar structure to 'My Country'. Just like Mackellar, we have written about things we 'love' about our school
  • Voice techniques - Some of our reading strategies are 'Read with expression' and 'Read the way the author would'. We have been focusing on these for part of this term as well as exploring volume, pitch, pace and pause when speaking.
Students have also taken many steps in order to produce a poem that they are proud of. After the structure and main topic of the poem was decided, students still needed to take part in a large collaborative venture:
  1. Brainstorm topics - We started with brainstorming potential topics for our poem. This was done individually, then as small groups, and finally as a whole class.
  2. First draft stanzas - Students then picked topics that they would like to write about and started constructing a stanza based on that topic. Each stanza needed to follow the same syllable and rhyming structure as the poem 'My Country'. Students either worked by themselves or in a small group.
  3. Peer edit - Students then submitted their work to me so that I could collate them and print them out. Students then got into small groups, each with a copy of all the poems, and edited each others poems. This was an exciting and vocal lesson as students discussed and argued what they should add or keep for each stanza.
  4. Class edit - Armed with all their amendments, we got together as a class and went through each stanza. This was a lively discussion and it resulted in our finished poem.
  5. Practice make progress - We are now up to the practice stage. This is where students will experiment with volume, pitch, pace and emphasis in order to produce an entertaining performance.
So, although some students might only be reading out two lines from a stanza, each individual has contributed immensely behind the scenes to produce something that they would be proud of. I know I am proud of them and I hope you will be too.

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