During my spring 2010 teaching internship at the International School of Tianjin, it was my pleasure to plan and offer the first lesson of a mini-unit on poetic imagery to one of the Grade 5 classes.
While I could have taken this opportunity to dive directly into a vigorous exploration of metaphors and similes, I chose instead to pursue a rather minimalist introduction to the concept of poetic imagery, by using Antonio Carlos Jobim's song, Waters of March, as the object of study, and providing an assessment that gave students an opportunity to write their own new verse to the song to demonstrate their understanding of how imagery works.
I was very pleased with how engaged all of the students seemed to be with the lesson and in their work on the assessment, which I produced in the form of a CLOZE exercise. This made for a "built in" differentiation, in that more advanced students could plug advanced nouns into their versions of a new verse to the song, optionally adding rhymes and potentially things like a play on words, while beginning ESL students could stick with simpler nouns, yet still have the potential of creating some beautiful imagery. After all, many of the words in Jobim's original song are very simple, yet evoke very powerful images.
Please click here to download the brief lesson plan and the worksheet that served as the lesson's assessment.