Curriculum Connections

Poetry Awareness Scavenger Hunt

Safari! provides an excellent context in which to teach a poetry writing unit (see Connecting Your Safari to the Curriculum: Introduction
). Before taking your students on Safari!, explain to them that poets use the following poetry writing strategies: repeating, comparing, drawing, inventing and breaking the rules. (Add any others that you would like to emphasize.) Poets repeat letter sounds (alliteration), syllable sounds (rhyming), words, phrases, lines, refrains, lengths of lines, word patterns, grammatical forms, etc. - all to create a rhythm and a pleasing sound. They compare the things they are writing about to other things, sometimes using the words 'like' or 'as' (similes), sometimes not (metaphors). Sometimes their comparisons extend throughout a poem (extended metaphor). Poets also choose descriptive words to draw images (imagery) in the minds of their readers. In creating their poems, poets sometimes invent spellings, sound effects, new words, and interesting ways to combine words and put them on the page. In the process of inventing, poets sometimes break the regular rules of writing, which, while very important normally, may not apply in poetry. (You can write words upside down if it fits the context of a poem - but don't try that in an essay!)

Divide your class into teams. On the board, make a list of symbols that represent the different strategies/techniques you discussed. (Have your students help you to come up with the symbols if you have time.) Copy the list of 'Mystery Animals'
and give each team a copy. When your students are familiar with the strategies and the symbol system you are using, tell them that you are going to go on a hunting safari to the East African savanna. You will be hunting for the poetry writing strategies/techniques as you read/listen to the poems and identify the animals. Each time students locate a strategy in a poem, they should put the appropriate symbol next to the Swahili name of the respective animal on the list. Of course, they should also write the English name of the animal next to each Swahili word once they figure it out. When they are telling their hunting stories (reporting about which strategies they found), they should be prepared to back up their boasting with proof, that is, point to a specific example of the strategy in the given poem.

Tip: You may want to go through the poems once for identifying the animals and then again for the strategy scavenger hunt.

Note: Rhyming is not listed specifically as a strategy above because it is included under repeating. You may want to add it to your list if it is something you are stressing in your unit. In fact, you may want to add a rhyme scheme component to the scavenger hunt. In this case, discuss different rhyme schemes, create symbols for them and try to locate them in the poems. Click here
for an index of rhyme schemes used in Safari! If you are stressing rhyming as a strategy, you should also stress that poems don't always have to rhyme, as some of the Safari! poems do not.



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