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Lyr Req: Teaching: elegies suitable for 11 yr olds

An Croenen 07 Feb 04 - 04:47 PM
Nigel Parsons 07 Feb 04 - 05:30 PM
An Croenen 07 Feb 04 - 06:49 PM
Sorcha 07 Feb 04 - 07:32 PM
Clinton Hammond 07 Feb 04 - 07:43 PM
Barry T 08 Feb 04 - 02:57 AM
Bo Vandenberg 08 Feb 04 - 07:17 AM
Jeanie 08 Feb 04 - 09:32 AM
Jeanie 08 Feb 04 - 10:51 AM
Tinker 08 Feb 04 - 11:25 AM
DrWord 08 Feb 04 - 12:11 PM
Jim Dixon 10 Feb 04 - 09:09 PM
GUEST,Jo 22 Mar 05 - 12:32 PM
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Subject: Lyr Req: Teaching: elegies suitablefor 10 yr olds
From: An Croenen
Date: 07 Feb 04 - 04:47 PM

Dear all,
I am looking for elegies (either songs or poetry) that would speak to ten year olds. I am hoping you may know of a beautiful elegy suitable for that age group. It could be a modern poem/song or an old one. I don't want to depress my class, rather I am hoping to find a text that inspires them, and hopefully encourages them to have a go at writing an elegy too.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Teaching: elegies suitablefor 11 yr olds
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 07 Feb 04 - 05:30 PM

Don't know whether this was your start point, but Gray's Elegy (aka Elegy written in a country churchyard) is not too depressing. And always worth re-reading

Nigel


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Teaching: elegies suitablefor 11 yr olds
From: An Croenen
Date: 07 Feb 04 - 06:49 PM

Hi Nigel,
I am uncertain whether the children are old enough (they're year five, 10-11) to understand Gray's Elegy - perhaps I could take an excerpt rather than the whole thing.. Still, I'm hoping to find something closer to their own experiences, that could give them a feel for what an elegy is and how it could be relevant in their own life. Thank you for your help!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Teaching: elegies suitablefor 11 yr olds
From: Sorcha
Date: 07 Feb 04 - 07:32 PM

Try having them elegize (?) a loved pet...once they know the format...or a grandparent.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Teaching: elegies suitablefor 11 yr o
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 07 Feb 04 - 07:43 PM

Sing them "Who Dies" by James Keelaghan...

Oh my nephew once asked me when he was quite youg
"Who Dies?" I said "Everyone Dies"
There's no use denying it, one day you're done
Oh Everyone dies

The only bit I can imagine some knickers getting knotted over would be the "In case there's no beer there, we'll have one more round" line...

,-)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Teaching: elegies suitablefor 11 yr olds
From: Barry T
Date: 08 Feb 04 - 02:57 AM

I don't think this meets the strict definition of elegy, but this poem was triggered by spontaneous emotion following my discovery of the story through family history research. Unusual, perhaps, is that I turned the story around and wrote it in the first person. Much later, when I found a suitable melody, it became a song.

http://members.shaw.ca/tunebook/emigdau.htm

My reason for suggesting it is that the girl in the ballad was not much older than your students. Perhaps your students will 'connect' with that.

Strange that I'd mourn the death of an ancestor, but that's exactly what I experienced. A surreal experience given that I had never before written a poem!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Teaching: elegies suitablefor 11 yr o
From: Bo Vandenberg
Date: 08 Feb 04 - 07:17 AM

I'd keep "Poor Jud's Daid" from Oklahoma in my back pocket if things get too sombre but I wonder if they're too young. Its hard to teach about expressing loss when so many families don't discuss it or your audience might be too young to have faced it.

If they've seen Lord of the Rings "Fellowship of the Rings" you might discuss the eligies being sung by the elves for Gandalf and Sam's poem.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Teaching: elegies suitablefor 11 yr olds
From: Jeanie
Date: 08 Feb 04 - 09:32 AM

Hi An Croenen - I teach drama to this age-group, so I know what you mean about wanting to use a text where the language isn't too obscure for them. As far as subject matter is concerned, I find that they are very keen to deal with 'deep' subjects, such as death and dying.

One thing about investigating 'heavy subjects' (death, bullying, family conflicts etc.) is that you and they get more out of it if the initial stimulus is in some way *removed* from their immediate experience, by being set in a different historical period or a different culture. This distancing means that they then feel safe enough to explore their own feelings and relate to their own life, either privately, in creative writing or in class. Poems or songs about present-day children (or even adults) dying might be "too close for comfort" for them and they will shy away from a subject that they are, in reality, aching to talk about and explore at this age.

Here's a suggestion: This poem, "Death of an Irishwoman" by Michael Hartnett. You could use this, for instance, tying it in with the history syllabus for Years 5/6. Lots of scope here for using contemporary news items/photographs.... and music.

You could then use the final six lines of this poem as a springboard for them to compose their own poetry or prose, either about someone they know or some figure from history. I have found that if I keep it as open as this, leaving it to them to set the pace, they produce some remarkably personal work.

DEATH OF AN IRISHWOMAN - Michael Hartnett

Ignorant, in the sense
she ate monotonous food
and thought the world was flat,
and pagan, in the sense
she knew the things that moved
at night were neither dogs nor cats
but 'pucas' and darkfaced men,
she nevertheless had fierce pride.
But sentenced in the end
to eat thin diminishing porridge
in a stone-cold kitchen
she clenched her brittle hands
around a world
she could not understand.
I loved her from the day she died.
She was a summer dance at the crossroads.
She was a card game where a nose was broken.
She was a song that nobody sings.
She was a house ransacked by soldiers.
She was a language seldom spoken.
She was a child's purse, full of useless things.

* * *

Another idea (and VERY topical) would be to take the idea of Anglo-Saxon burial and the newly discovered burial chamber in Southend, Essex. Look at the grave goods, the things associated with a person and considered important enough to be buried with them for their journey to the other world. A springboard poem for this could be modern English extract of the funeral in Beowulf. Then, the children write a poem or prose describing the 'grave goods' they would place with any character (real/imaginary/historical) of their choice. I will be doing this with my Year 4 drama classes after Easter.

I'll be very interested to read other people's suggestions here.

All the best,
- jeanie


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Teaching: elegies suitablefor 11 yr olds
From: Jeanie
Date: 08 Feb 04 - 10:51 AM

Barry T - your song is beautiful. I see from your webpage that you are happy for it to be used. I will be including it next time I cover the Irish Potato Famine and the story of the Irish emigrants with my Year 6 (11 year olds) drama class. I cover the topic over several sessions, where they explore the living conditions and reasons for emigration, and re-enact the thoughts and feelings of the people leaving their homeland and their hopes for the future. They improvise a scene on board ship, leaving the docks, and this song and the story of the real-life people behind it will be make a very moving continuation to this. Many thanks ! I won't be doing this now until next Autumn - I will let you know how it goes. I will teach them the song and tape it for you and you can hear them singing it.

If you have the time to pass on any more details to me about your ancestors and their journey, and are willing for it to be used with the class, I would be most interested.

Isn't Mudcat a wonderful place !

- jeanie


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Teaching: elegies suitablefor 11 yr olds
From: Tinker
Date: 08 Feb 04 - 11:25 AM

I doubt your class is this urban, but this one speaks to some of the kids where I'm from.


Words on Hands
(For Leslie Reese)


Her voice danced black rhythms
Sunday dresses, old school tunes;
Funky Nassau, Temptations
That doo-wop group
That always hung
Out on the cornor of
51st Street. Singin'
til the liquor store closed
45 records, 8-track tapes skippin'
skippin' until you
put that piece of paper
between the 8-track
and the stereo in a just-right position.

Her actions were painters splashing
Little black girls in pastels
Blue, yellow, pink Easter
Dresses, with white stockings
forbidden to run.
She taught me how to
write the smell of Grandma's greens,
chittlins, turkey whose reign
was always religious brown.
She wrote auntie's apple pie
like the sun going down, down
down til moonlight
shoe on uncle Junebug's bottle
of Cognac.

She made my brain sweat.
       Work out your
words with actions she said.
Make the tears of a
broken child smear
your ink, make the
joy of a grandmother
be the fragrence
of your voice. Hear Mama
smacking her child
with words that taste
like morning pancakes.
My performing teacher

pulled a me
      out of me
who was a dancer
an artist, whose actions
spoke words.


Shysuaune T. Taylor, age 17

From You Hear Me ? poems and writing by teenage boys, ed. Betsy Franco


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Teaching: elegies suitablefor 11 yr olds
From: DrWord
Date: 08 Feb 04 - 12:11 PM

An, Jeanie, Sorcha, Barry, et al:

Yes, isn't Mudcat wonderful! "Childhood is the kingdom where nobody dies" Edna St Vincent Millay is, I feel, age-appropriate. It's pinned to the wall of my shop. keep this thread goin'

regards
Dennis


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Teaching: elegies suitablefor 11 yr olds
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 10 Feb 04 - 09:09 PM

I think 10-year-olds might appreciate O Captain! My Captain! if you put it in historical context. (It's about the death of Abraham Lincoln.)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Teaching: elegies suitable for 11 yr olds
From: GUEST,Jo
Date: 22 Mar 05 - 12:32 PM

Hi

Thanks for all the helpful starting points you've given me - just like to add one of my own - I showed my Yr 5 class the excerpt from "Four Weddings and a Funeral" containing "Funeral Blues" by W H Auden. Language sometimes quite figurative, but so well acted/read/emoted that they very quickly got the pwerful imagery involved. It also really motivated them to see someone performing poetry so beautifully.


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