Christmas Shape Poetry for French, German and Spanish Lessons
Poetry is part of a country’s culture, but poems are not often embedded well or easily into language lessons.
I’ll be honest, I don’t enjoy teaching poetry to my language students. I find that it’s tricky for them to understand. I believe they feel disconnected from the poetry they have encountered so far and therefore find reading poems inherently difficult. Particularly since, by their very nature poetry makes meaning by hiding meaning.
Okay, so, reading and analysing the language and meanings in poems isn’t for me. However, I don’t see why I can’t use a form of poetry in my French and German lessons which students can relate to…
Have you encountered ‘shape poetry’, otherwise known as ‘concrete poetry’ before? According to my very good friend, Wikipedia, “Concrete poetry is an arrangement of linguistic elements in which the typographical effect is more important in conveying meaning than verbal significance. It is sometimes referred to as visual poetry”. I think you can picture it well with Brian Bilston’s Christmas poem, ‘Needles’, illustrated here.
I tend to use ‘Shape Poetry’ in my French and German lessons around festival periods or special occasions, including Christmas and Easter. You could also use it around Oktoberfest, Martinstag, l’Epiphanie etc.
How to implement a Christmas shape poem in your language lessons?
This Christmas period, I will provide my beginner and intermediate French and German language students lots of topic related vocabulary and phrases via reading, listening and translation activities. I will even create my own Christmas shape poem which my students can use as modelled language. This will be combined with prior language knowledge for students to create a poem in French and German in a Christmas related shape. I am quite looking forward to it!
Has anyone tried this before? Please do share some of your Christmas shape poems if you have!
p.s. A couple of years ago, I wrote a post entitled: Helpful Last Language Lesson Ideas for Tired Teachers Before Christmas . Do check it out if you start flagging in the lead up to the Christmas holidays!
Kaufman, S., The Way of The Linguist. (2005), Author House, Canada
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