Found Poems

I recently did a course about writing poems with FutureLearn. I have never really enjoyed poetry and I know that I tend to neglect it when I teach, so I was hoping that the course would give me some new ideas for helping me to enjoy teaching poetry and for helping my pupils develop their poetry writing skills.

One of the types of poetry mentioned on the course was “found poems” and I found this very interesting. The idea is to write a poem using only words and phrases that you can hear or see at the time of writing. The words don’t have to be used in the order that they are overheard or seen so you have to play around a bit to find an order that makes sense, but I liked the idea that pupils could be creative without having come up with their own ideas which many people find difficult.

An example of a found poem is written below. This was written using words I could see while sitting at my desk – from snack packets, various items pinned to a corkboard, German post-it notes and a framed picture. The only addition to this poem were the words “No inspiration.”

Lo-fat yoghurt,
Salt and Vinegar,
Paracetamol.
No inspiration.

Pay credit card,
Write to Rachel,
Email Emma.
No inspiration.

Thank you for booking….
You are cordially invited…
Next day guaranteed.
No inspiration.

Plötzlich….I’m begeistert!
No inspiration ursprünglich
but im Augenblick
I’m away with the fairy lights…
and it’s gruselig!

I shall definitely try this out with some of my tuition pupils in the coming year. If anybody wants more ideas of how to write a poem I can recommend the FutureLearn course “How to Make a Poem“.

Related post: The 10 Step Cheat’s Guide to Writing a Poem

U is for Urdu

Urdu is one of the official languages of Pakistan, jointly with English, and it is also spoken in India, Bangladesh and Nepal. It has about 100 million speakers altogether, but for most people this is as a second or even third language. Despite its official status in Pakistan, only about 8% of the population speak it is as their native language, meaning it is not the most widely spoken language. In fact it only comes in at 5th place!

A descendant from Proto-Indo-European, it is very closely related to Hindi, and the two spoken languages are mutually intelligible. The main differences between them are the ways in which they are written: Hindi is written with the Devangari script, and reads left to right, whereas Urdu is written using the Persian-Arabic script, and like Arabic it reads from right to left.

Related posts:  T is for Tok-Pisin    V is for……

Teaching Column Addition and Column Subtraction

This is my lovely place value teaching tool. It was custom-made for me by my brother at Sen Clock and my dad. Prior to this I’d been using a paper sheet and laminated tokens, but I was fed up with them sticking together and getting lost. This magnetic version is much more practical.

I find this really useful because we if stick the tokens to the board, children have visual proof that once there are 9 tokens in a column there is no room for any more, so if they wanted to add another One in, it’s time to exchange 10 Ones, which won’t fit, for 1 Ten, which will. Physically clearing out the column, exchanging 10 One tokens for 1 Ten token really helps them to understand what happens when I want to add 1 to 109.

It’s great for subtraction too. When presented with – calculation lots of children will try to do 3-1. With this place value board, they can see that we only have one counter so we can’t take away 3. Then we can physically exchange 1 Ten for 10 Ones. I’ve made the column wide enough to accommodate them and the children can then see that they have enough in the column now to subtract 3, and that the tens column has one less token than it had before. I find this works really well side by side with a written column subtraction to iron out any misconceptions and to understand how the written method works.

T is for Tok Pisin

Tok Pisin is an English Creole – that is, it is based on English but with an influence from a variety of other languages. It started out as a pidgin, but it has now become a language in its own right. It is a relatively new language, only dating back to the 1800s.

Tok Pisin is one of the official languages of Papua New Guinea, jointly with English. It has only about 50 thousand native speakers, but about 4 million people speak it as a second language and it is already replaced many minority languages.

Tok Pisin means “talk business” and it is seen as the language of economic development in the countries where it is spoken, which perhaps helps to explain its growth in popularity.

If you’d like to learn some words in Tok Pisin, take a look at this online dictionary: www.tok-pisin.com

Related posts: S is for Spanish     U is for…..

Good Practice in Autism Education

I recently completed the FutureLearn Good Practice in Autism Education course, and this is a website they recommended for as a place to find and share examples of good practice from all over Europe:

Project Amuse

I haven’t had chance to check it out properly yet, but it looks as though it could be useful.