Today with my students I wanted to do something they had never tried before: acrostic poems. When I told them that they were expected to write poems, their first reaction was a discouraging smile – worse, sort of smirk. When I added that the poems would be acrostic poems they looked quite puzzled: what the hell is an acrostic poem? This is what their eyes were telling me. Then I wrote an example on the blackboard: ANT Animals are Not Tolerated here. An easy one but above all short. Reaction: how are we supposed to be able to do it? Using pen and paper, was my answer and they felt the challenge. I told them they had to use the word SCHOOL and I must say they started working at once. They formed small groups – they are 32, quite a large group – and started exchanging ideas.
They way they approached the task was different: some started with great enthusiasm and created the first poem after few minutes, others could not manage with vocabulary very well and took out the glossary in their texbook, but they all worked and the results really are unexpected. Here are some examples: self-analysis Students are Creative, Happy and Original, but Often Lazy 🙂 I really like this one! Another: Students Can Have their Own Opinions of Life – an assertion of their rights -, and then Sea of Chatty students and Humour in Our Original Lessons- a positive vision of their classes and themselves -, or School is Care and Hard but Obviously it is Often also Light – school is not that bad after all.
Other preferred going out of school and so we have Some Children Have Only One Lifestyle – against omologation?- Sometimes we Can Hang Out with an Old Love – this was made by a group of girls, Sisters are Chatty and they Hate Of course Our Lifestyle – probably some family problems here, and this one Sandwiches are Cheap but Huge and Often they make you Overweight and Lazy – a protest against the bad quality of the food they find in the school vending machines. These are some examples, there are many more. The comments came out of the discussion that followed the composition and they really enjoyed it. After the discussion, they asked me for another word 🙂
When they finished, I asked them to use some adjectives to describe the activity (we are studying how to express likes and dislikes and motivate our opinions) and what they wrote on the blackboard was: funny, nice, thrilling, interesting, constructive, creative. What I think is that they worked together and helped each other, they worked in autonomy and used the material they needed, they used new vocabulary and practised what they already knew.