How Poetry Ties In With Teaching EAL

April 3, 2019
Posted in Learning
April 3, 2019 Sara Ellen Tye

There is a secret ingredient to the EAL curriculum which makes students expand their vocabulary and helps them learn how to use figurative language.

The poetry unit starts with lessons in the classroom. We spend time learning multiple types of poems such as haiku, cinquain, acrostic, and free verse. The trick is that whenever we are learning a new poem structure, we also learn a new figurative language skill. These include similes, onomatopoeia, alliteration, rhyming words, and idioms. The students’ favorite idioms are ‘It’s a piece of cake!’ and ‘When pigs fly!’.

It is important that the students also expand their vocabulary by researching synonyms and stretching for precise words. For example, instead of using the word ‘pink’ to describe the cherry blossoms, they might look at a dozen synonyms for the word pink and write something like magenta, fuchsia or flamingo pink!

After weeks of learning, we always celebrate by spending an entire week writing poems. We take Poetry Picnics where we sit outside and use nature to inspire our poetry, or have a Poetry Cafe session, where we go to the AISB cafe and have a snack while writing.

To close the poetry unit, each student will choose their favorite poem, and paint it on a canvas.