SIX STAGES OF TEACHING HOW TO WRITE POEMS


TOPIC’S INFORMATION
Topic: WRITING CREATIVE WORKS (General Topic)
Estimated Instruction Time: 80 per class lesson (or it depends on the level of students)
Classes: I, II, III, and IV.



INTRODUCTION
Creative writing is the writing that focuses on expressing thoughts, feelings, and emotions rather than to simply convey information. Creative writing is based on fiction or imagination. Usually, the writer uses an object, a person or an event in the real world and builds an imagined story, a poem, or a play around.

Writing creatively is to write using literary techniques. Most of these techniques are covered in the topic Theory of Literature: An Introduction to Literature that is taught in English Language subject and in Literature in English as well. However, this literary technique can be taught in any class in both 'O' Level and 'A' Level Secondary Schools. Even Form One student can be taught this topic in simple ways. The important thing for a teacher is to consider the class and the degree of simplicity and complexity for a particular class.


(Also: For Literature in English Subject, Check out my Literature in English Blog. Also check out My Diary for Diary Writing Inspiration and More! )

In this sub topic, students will be introduced to the art of composing or writing short stories, poems and short plays. They will now apply the techniques they learnt in Theory of Literature: An Introduction to Literature as well.

SPECIFIC OBJECTIVE
The student should be able to write a literary work using literary devices and skills. They will be able to use literary techniques, devices, and skills they learnt in Theory of Literature: An Introduction to Literature  to create literary works of their own.

For Form One and Form Two Students who have no deep knowledge of Theory of Literature: An Introduction to Literature can be briefly introduced to the important elements when writing any literary work such as:
Plot - organization of events from beginning, middle to the end.
Characters - people in the story.
Setting - place where events of the story takes place.
Point of view - the point where story's events are observed.
Conflict - the problem that drives the story's events.
Theme - the idea the writer wants to convey.

Six Stages of Teaching How to Write Poems.

1.     Start with Students’ Names.
I begin a lesson by asking students this question:

Which name do you like between your first name and surname?

Just as expected, answer from grown up students like Form III, IV, V or VI, most of them prefer surnames to first names, only few students can opt differently. Then I tell them to use surnames in this lesson. You can't believe I keep them in the dark (i.e. I don't tell them what I am trying to teach them ) for a purpose and the surprise of the lesson make them even thrilled very much. The other reason I don't tell them what I am trying to teach is to remove the belief that poems are difficult. I prove this by merely using their names and at the end they will wonder that their names are the assets to poetry writing.

2.      Apply Your Name.
After choosing their surnames, I also choose mine and write it on the blackboard horizontally as normal. I also ask them to write their surnames horizontally in their exercise books as I have done.

I write my name horizontally as well.

KACHELE

Then I asked them to write their surnames vertically as I have written my name below starting from the left margin:
K
A
C
H
E
L
E

3.      Give them the Mode of Writing.
After writing this, I tell them that for each letter of the name from first letter to the last in vertical way, they should write a sentence of four to five words for each line. The sound (rarely a letter) that begins a sentence should also finish the sentence or there should be the same sound like the first one.

4.      Show them the Way.
I ask them to write as I have instructed and I begin to work on my surname as well. As a teacher you should show an example or prepare it in advance if it is not easy for you to prepare it while teaching. My surname when finished can look as follow, and I write very slowly just to be together with the students. Tell them that the titles of their poems are their names: See my example here:

          Kachele

K-achele hates picnic
A-mateur diarist and teacher
C-urious and charismatic
H-e jokes and laughs.
E-nglish teacher with degree.
L-atest in content and liberal.
E-ducated and hates decree.

Or another version of the poem, but with different content and title and the same name:

             The Peak

K - achele likes one landmark
A - nd it illuminates Tanzania
C - ome flying during picnic
H - eight is so high
E - njoyment is always free
L - and, climb the 'Peak'
E - njoy, drink and sightsee

Or yet another version like this below:

           The Peak

Kachele likes one landmark
And it illuminates Tanzania
Come flying during picnic
Height is so high
Enjoyment is always free
Land, climb the 'Peak'
Enjoy, drink and sightsee

Note: For beginning poets, punctuations if used improperly can distort the whole meaning of the poem. Thus, you should not entirely emphasize using punctuations, until they master poetry writing skills.

And of course, as a teacher I finish early. As I supervise I tell them that their sentences should be grammatically correct and tell the real story of a person in question or invent another story but using the same letters of the surname. Here also you may be teaching them the way stories are invented fictitiously.

5.      Supervise them and Respond to their Questions.
I supervise them until they finish. Make sure you don't leave them. In case they ask you a question respond to them. Also give them guidance on finding words that rhyme as you pass through their desks. It's OK to help them or check their works because you have not told them what you are trying to teach them.

6.      Surprise them with your Lesson’s Intention.
Make sure you pass an eye to every student. After finishing their works, now you can tell them what you are trying to teach them. I assure you, when you tell them that you are teaching them how to write poems, they will be surprised and wonder at what they have done already. They will be asking themselves, after doing this activity, that the poems are composed just simple like that. As a foundation or beginning of the lesson of teaching how to write poems, teaching these acrostic or bio poems, it is the very best step to introduce the students to writing poems.

On how to Compose Creative Short Story, check writing Imaginary Events in Form Three

As you finish the lesson, discuss with them the following aspects they have learnt.
1. Rhythm. It's the concept of patterns of stressed and unstressed syllables. Because you have guided them to have four to five words in each line, it'll be easy to tell them to identify syllables in the lines, hence easily identifying the beats in the line.
2. Rhyme. You have introduced them to rhymes already when you told them to make sure each line ends with the first sound of the line.
3.  Writing stories within poems. In this way, students can learn that they can tell stories in the poems they compose.
For most of the techniques of Creative writing, check Theory of Literature: An Introduction to Literature

In conclusion
In the next lesson, you can have them write the same poem or change the same poem they wrote by making sure they choose perfect rhymes, that is, a student may now choose that his or her all lines are going to end with sound –‘n’ etc. Also, you can tell them to write a free verse poem; the poems that do not follow rhymes.


WHAT IS YOUR OPINION?
This article is about how to study and teach "Creative Writing: Writing Poems" in for all Secondary School Students. As a student or teacher, you may have your opinion on how to study and teach "Creative Writing: Writing Poems"
Your opinion is worth and I believe that it can make these materials better for our own consumption.

You are Welcome!

Stay Updated. Next, we will share how to compose other poems.

For those who want to see how poems are analysed, click 15 Valuable Steps of Analysing Poems and How to Teach Interpreting Poems


Check out how to Study & Teach other Form Three Sub Topics in this Blog!

Related Topics:

Also check out:
Form I Sub topics, at FORM I SYLLABUS TOPICS REVIEW
Form II Sub topics, at FORM II SYLLABUS TOPICS REVIEW
Form IV Sub topics, at FORM IV SYLLABUS TOPICS REVIEW  

For more on Literature Topics, check out Literature in English Blog
For how to be professional keeper of your Diary in Kiswahili or English, check out My Diary

For Form IV NECTA Examination Sections, check out ELABORATED CSEE NECTA EXAMINATION SECTIONS


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