Thursday 23 October 2014

Autumn poem performances

Year 5 and I have been exploring sentence construction (word order, adjectival agreement) through the theme of Autumn leaves. They wrote some great sentences to describe leaves and turned these into beautiful posters.

Next I shared a poem with them, all about Autumn leaves. Here it is...

Petite feuille verte bouge dans l'arbre
Petite feuille jaune vole dans l'air
Petite feuille orange dort dans l'herbe
Chut! Voici l'automne.

This poem was almost exactly what they had been writing in their sentences to describe leaves (using grande / petite) before feuille and a colour word after it. We had also come across 'vole' when describing the actions of woodland creatures. We discussed the meaning of the unfamiliar words, using cognates and near cognates to help us, and discussed their pronunciation.
After reading the poem together it was then time to turn it into a performance, which Year 5 did brilliantly today.

I was fortunate enough to see the marvellous Janet Lloyd last weekend and picked her brains. Following her suggestions as best I could (and adding a little bit of my own) this is what we did...

We discussed the personality of Autumn. I said that I wasn't sure what Autumn would be like as a person whereas Summer and Winter are more obvious. We tend to imagine the sun with a happy face and the north wind as mean but what is Autumn like? We also thought about the last line of the poem and why we were being told to be quiet. The children had lots of suggestions, such as Autumn being a bit scary but most thought it was because it is a quiet time with leaves dying and animals hibernating.
The children then worked in groups of 4. They each took on the role of one item from the poem - the green leaf, the yellow leaf, the orange leaf and Autumn. They started by standing in a tight circle representing the tree trunk. Then it was up to each group to decide how to move and how to deliver the lines (changing speed and volume etc). One group even decided to repeat the last line several times, getting quieter and quieter.
Each group then shared their performance with the class and we had as many different versions as there were groups. The endings were especially creative and the way they chose to portray Autumn. Sometimes he (she?) would sneak up, or whizz in, or go to sleep, take a bow, etc. we saw Autumn as sleepy, playful and creepy. In one version he even captured one of the flying leaves.

The children amazed me at how creative they were, especially in such a short time and they absolutely loved this. I haven't done much drama in my lessons but have definitely been inspired to do more now.
Thank you Janet Lloyd!

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