Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Highwayman...

Last weeks' Sam Mcgee is old news.

We're on to "The Highwayman" by Alfred Noyes. This has become one of my favorite poems. I think for the kids too. We've listened to an itunes reading, another youtube variant, and of course my version that I scanned in from a picture book from amazon.com and Loreena Mckennit's song.

Once I get a poem in my head, the kids know we're going to be studying it all week. I want to look at the tone, the rhythm, the onomatopoeia, the story, and the meaning.

I get a little manic, and I think the kids like that. They won't admit to it. Not on your life! Monday, the students asked me when we were going to move on from this poem and start studying something other than poetry. I ignore them. Well slightly, I don't want to be bored either. I've been listening and reading "The Highwayman" five times a day for the past three days. I was beginning to tire of the poem at the end of seventh hour Monday. I thought for sure no one was paying attention. I felt like Ben Stein in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off." I had to get through the poem. It's not like I could just tell the kids "Awww let's just forget and move on." That doesn't happen. I'm on a plan darn it... These kids are going to learn the poem.

As we listened to my masterpiece, I noticed some kids not paying attention at all while others were following the poem line by line. Afterwards, I had the students read the poem stanza by stanza.

Some students volunteered and I casually listened to their reading. Finally, I had one student waving his arms back and forth.

"You know, just because I'm not raising my hand high doesn't mean that I'm not interested in reading it aloud. It's like have to have a seizure to get your attention."

"Oh... I didn't notice." I said. I was a little surprised. Although this kid is bright, funny, and talented, he makes no bones about my class being a bore for him. I relented and he and his buddy went to the front of the room.

"Is it OK if we do this together?"

"uh sure?"

So, those two fourteen year old boys, stood in front of their eighth grade class and sang two stanzas of "The Highwayman" in a beautiful harmony.

The other students' mouths fell open. My mouth fell open.

And everyone was back at square one loving "The Highwayman" by Alfred Noyes.

1 comment:

Laura said...

Way cool!