Wednesday this week marked a a big improvement in things generally. Not only was I able to drive myself to WedEd or the first time since having Ben but he was also manageable enough for me to be able to get on with being part of the educational offerings again.So this week I brought “Daffodils” along with me which marked a change in itself since I don’t think I’ve been able to read that poem for the last 19 years, never mind the last 2 years.
We started off by discussing the inspiration for the poem, which comes from a walk Wordsworth took with his sister, who then wrote about the day. We discussed the female influences on his life, the fat that his wife wrote two lines of the poem (rather enlightened really, for a man to accept literary assistance from a wife in those days) and that the death of his brother affected him deeply. We touched briefly on the English Romantic period and how that altered the nature of poetry to be more personal and emotional and to have more basis in nature and mentioned the idea of pastoral poetry rather than story telling poetry.
I’m planning to get them to start doing poetry appreciations soon, so one thing I want to do is create a timeline together of all the poems we’ve read so get a feel for how poetry changes and start to categorise poetry too. We’ll make a start on working at that next time and some of the older ones may start trying to work at poems in a way that will help them if they want to do a GCSE in literature soon. So this session was an exercise in looking critically at a poem while still hopefully enjoying it.
After reading the poem through to them I asked for first impressions. One group noticed the mood of the poet very quickly and that towards the end he was reflecting on something and feeling sad. The other focused more on him being happy at the time of the event. We spent some time getting them to think of odd memories of particular, trivial evnts that have stuck in their minds for some reason and the things that call them to mind; light, temperature, smells or other triggers and explored the fact that this memory is something positive for the author in darker days.
Next we looked at the language of the poem and the words used to describe the daffodils. One group picked up on the idea of precious treasure in the words golden, shines and twinkles, while the other saw a link between daffodils coming and going but being ever present as bulbs under the ground and the stars of the milky way being there but not always visible. We looked at the idea of the shape of the milky way describing the shape of the belt of flowers and found other words describing the nature and scene he portrays.
Next came a look at personification. I read the poem again and got them to listen for words that described the daffodils movement and they found their way to the idea of them as dancers. One child picked up on the poet also referring to himself as a lonely cloud so we talked about the idea in reverse, how a crowd of daffodils are portrayed as happy dancers while he, a human, is reduced to a lonely cloud. We linked this to the end of the poem and looked at how the emotions of the poem change from bleak to joyful and them back to a pensive but peaceful mood at the end. This led naturally into briefly looking at rhyming pattern and how it is similar in pattern to some love poetry and the shortened lines of the last verse adding mood after the flowing lines of the earlier verses.
For a bit of light relief, I took my iPad and showed them some Fimo daffodils and then let them loose to make some. I thought it might fix the poem in their minds
I’m never very good at describing the rest of WedEd, though it is always excellent but a lot of it goes over my head. I’m so unscience-y it is untrue However, Zoe organised them through Sketch Tuesday and Em did more fabulous animation things with them and Helen made batteries using foil, salt water and 2p pieces. They LOVED that.
And Ben did this for a lot of the day…
…making up for it when he got home by feeding for 8 solid hours and then sleeping through the night for the first time. (Thereby terrifying the life out of me when I woke at 6.15am and he was still asleep.)
And excellent day. They are always great, my kids love them more than anything else; I must remember to blog them more often!