Wednesday, 6 August 2014

A poem: "La plaza tiene una torre"

The new KS2 Programme of Study states that the pupils should "read great literature in the original language" and "appreciate stories, songs, poems and rhymes in the language."
A few weeks ago I started to prepare myself for this new challenge: I went to the Cervantes Insitute in Manchester, because I remembered reading a very good poetry methodology book during my teacher training years in the Cervantes Insitute in Budapest, and I was desperate to find it. After sitting on the carpet for a long, long time and taking each book off the shelf, I finally found THE ONE! It is full of great ideas for intermediate and advanced learners; I have adapted some and will use them in my primary teaching from September.

I teach everybody from Year 3 to Year 6, so in the following weeks I will blog about a "great literature" piece for each group. I have my pupils and their previous knowledge in my mind when I share my ideas, hope you can use them and adapt them!
The first one is for my Year 6 classes, who will be learning about "places in the town". For this topic, I have chosen La plaza tiene una torre by Antonio Machado.
Here is my list of possible activities after the presentation of the poem:
1,Mix it all up!
While the children listen to the poem with their eyes closed and heads on the tables, the teacher gives out a word from the poem to each pupil. When they "wake up", they have to find their sentence and stay together. Alternatively, a group of pupils can be given a line from the poem and have to line up in the right order in front of the class. I have done this before with different sentences and kept switching the IWB on and off to offer help but to stimulate dialogue and thinking at the same time. You can read the poem or listen to the YouTube video (see at the end of this post).

2, Run, read and recite!
The teacher sticks a copy of the  poem on the wall and asks for two volunteers from the two competing groups (boys and girls in our case). They will be the runners, and they will have to dictate the poem to  representatives of their groups, sitting in the far corners of the classroom with their whiteboards. The runners will run back and forth until the poem is completed, the winner is the quickest group.
3, Act it out!
A volunteer acts a sentence out, and the class has to guess which one it is. The pupil who guesses it right can come out to the front next. This activity can be done in pairs, as well. Here is an example of the actions rom YouTube.
4, Build the sentence!
There are a million building blocks in my house, I literally stumbled over this idea the other day. A volunteer calls out a sentence and the pupils have to build it as quickly as they can. The winner is the quickest. This activity can be done in pairs, as well. Here are the possibilities! (I have enough building blocks to give out, if you need some I can recommend charity shops or carboot sales. You can use them for building blocks sentences I have blogged about.)

 And the last line:

5, Make a movie!
The pupils in small groups can film the scenes of the poem, using themselves, play figures,or playdough people. You can use Lego Movie Maker on your iPads to "build" the poem.
6, Guess the emotion!
A volunteer says a sentence with a chosen emotion (happy/sad/disappointed/angry..etc.) and the rest of the class have to guess it. (Again, you can do it in pairs).
7, Steal a vowel/consonant!
The pupil picks a letter from the alphabet bag, doesn't show it to anybody, and then starts to read the poem omitting the letter. To make it more dramatic, the thief could wear a false moustache (from the Pound shop) or a pair of sunglasses. The one to guess the missing letter correctly is the next thief.

8, Add/change a word!
The pupils have to notice the mistakes and then they have to make up their own versions adding or changing words.
tiene un balcón grande, ha pasado un caballero en motocicleta, el balcón no tiene una dama
la plaza tiene un supermercado, el balcón tiene un gato, la dama una negra flor
9, Make up your own poem!
Give the pupils a card or a piece of paper, that will be the "plaza". Tell them to draw a building in the centre and make up their own poems.It is a great opportunity to use the dictionary.
10, Listen to the song or create your own tune!
The poem has a song version, it is a very catchy tune, you will find it easy to sing along. For some reason I can't link the YouTube video here, but you will find  it on this blog.
Or ask the pupils to sing the poem. They can prepare in pairs and present it to the class for a small prize. If you have iPads, use Autorap to make the sentences into a rap.
11, Make a mini-book!
There are lots of mini-book ideas on Clare Seccombe's blog. I am thinking about making a triarama book based on this poem.
12, Make a role-play!
Imagine a dialogue between "la dama" and "el caballero".There are so many questions they could ask each other!

Please add your suggestions as a comment or tweet me at @Erzsiculshaw!


  1. Unas ideas, como siempre, geniales Erzsi. Hace unos dáis que estoy desconectada pero justo me he metido hoy para ver qué se cocía por estos mundos virtuales y me alegro de haber tenido la suerte de leer tu post de hoy. Me gusta mucho el poema y además creo que es súpero apropiado para el tema de la ciudad. Sigue disfrutando del verano wapa :-)

  2. Hola Carmen! Que alegria oir de ti! Que tal las vacaciones? Espero que las estes pasando genial con tu familia y tus amigos. Cuando vuelves? Ya te echo de menos! Aqui en el norte llueve sin parar, ya estoy harta, por eso leo poesía:-)
    Besos Erzsi

  3. Hola Erzsi! A mi también me alegra saber de tí y seguir leyéndote. La verdad que tienes razón, parece mil años que no me meto en el blog ja,ja,ja...pero es que por el verano que si viajes, que si ver familia, amigos y pasar unso días en España, no hay tiempo para mucho pero bueno ya queda menso para qeu vuelva a dar señales de vida y volvamos a retomar las clases.

    Aún me queda algún día más en España y todo bien...en general tranquilito, viendo familia, amigos y aprovechando para comprar alguna chorrada para llevarme para los alumnos, y de paso sea dicho, tb un poco de jamón serrano ja,ja,ja... así me dará energías para seguir recopilando ideas y cosas para el año....en fin, que te voy a decir a tí que no sepas con esto de preparar clases y cosas...nos pasamos la vida entera ja,ja,ja

    Por cierto, me estuve acordando de ti ayer porque estuve mirando algunos libros que tenía en casa de hace mil años y me encontré "Federico García Lorca para niños" . Le he dado algún vistacillo a ver si encontraba algún poema que me pudiera interesar y al final me he guardado uno que lo utilizaré en un futuro con los niños:

    Tan, Tan
    ¿Quién es?
    El Otoño otra vez.
    ¿Qué quiere el Otoño?
    El frescor de tu sien.
    No te lo quiero dar.
    Yo te lo quiero quitar.

    Tan, tan
    ¿Quién es?
    El Otoño otra vez

    ¿Qué te parece? A mi me ha gustado porque es súper sencillo, viene genial para trabajar la estructura: yo quiero/ yo no quiero y puede ser muy bueno para abordar acciones (infinitivos), introducir estaciones, wh-questions, y partes de la casa. Cuando trate alguos de estos "topics" seguro que lo incorporo pero bueno, cada cosa a su tiempo. De momento te lo dejo porque, dado que tu vas avanzada que nosotros, quizás te puede servir.

    Bueno wapa, disrtua del verano y te seguiré cotilleando el blog para ver con que poemas y cosillas sorprendes.

    ciaoooo :-)

  4. Hola Carmen:-)
    Acabo de publicar algunas ideas de un poema de Lorca, lo escogi porque me inspiraste a leer Lorca la semana pasada, gracias:-)
    Estas en Inglaterra ya? si no, no vengas, quedate en el sunny Spain, porque hace un frio que he puesto la calefaccion!!! En agosto! Que barbaridad!:-)
    Disfruta de los ultimos dias de las vacaciones! Erzsi x