When taking a closer look at my own experience with literature lessons, I find that literature -no matter English, Dutch, French or German- is taught in a rather traditional way. With ‘traditional way’ I mean a teacher that explains/answers questions and a students that listens/jots down what the teacher says. This is such a pity since English literature (lessons) can be made so much more fun for students! I think it’s time for a change; teachers should step away from the ‘traditional way’ and start to incorporate technology into literature lessons! And although it may be perceived as an odd combination at first, I believe that literature and technology can go well together in the classroom. Moreover, I am of the opinion that English literature lessons can be made so much more engaging by adding a bit of technology.
One app and website I believe is definitely worth ‘experimenting’ with during my next school placement (literature lessons), is PoemHunter. PoemHunter is a app and website which offers a database of poetry pieces. The question that I’ll be answering in this blog post is: how (in what ways) can I, as a student teacher, use PoemHunter during my next school placement?
Source photo: http://www.educationalappstore.com/app/poemhunter .
Well, down below you can find 3 ideas (exercises) I came up with. Note that these ideas are somewhat more useable in havo and vwo 4/5/6 classes!
- A poetry slam. Ask your students to search for a poem on PoemHunter that appeals to them. Let the students present their poem of choice (reading, singing/rapping, whispering/shouting etc.). It’s also important that the students explain their choice; in what way(s) does the poem connect to their lives?
Source photo: https://nl.pinterest.com/godismyman/slam-poetry/ .
- Mixing it up. Divide the class into groups of 4/5 students. Assign each group a poet; think of ‘fun’ or interesting poets like Edgar Allan Poe or William Shakespeare. OR: let the groups choose the poet. Then go ahead and let the students search for poems of their poet on PoemHunter. The students now have to create a new poem using sentences from different poems of their poet on PoemHunter. As a teacher you can decide if you want the poems to be presented in class or typed out and handed in.
Source photo: http://www.eapoe.org/ .
- Topic presentation; Poetry combined with students’ own courseware. Divide the class into groups of 3. Assign each group a different topic according to their courseware. Let’s say that students are now studying a chapter about travelling in Stepping Stones (courseware). Topics like ‘travelling by bus’ or ‘riding a bicycle’ can be assigned to groups. It’s up to the students to find a poet (and poems) on PoemHunter that goes with their topic. The groups then have to create (and present) a presentation on the poet and his/her work. They also have to describe the link between their topic and the poet and his/her work. It’s a great way for students to get familiarised with different poets and poems. All in all, PoemHunter is mainly used as a ‘search engine’ for poets/poems in the ideas (exercises) above. Nevertheless, students have to master the skills of finding and evaluating poetry. I look forward to using this app and website during my next school placement! In one of my next posts I’ll focus on the combination Young Adult literature (books) + technology. I hope you like(d) reading this blog post! There will be a new post up tomorrow..