Give the experience of listening to poetry by reciting poetry to the children. The guide selects short poems that he/she really enjoys from among adult poems, not children’s poems.
They listen to a particular poem the first time this month or semester. It is a short poem that the guide has thought about, listened to, and enjoyed. The guide has practiced alone saying the poem and has it memorized.
1. They close their eyes and listen again, this time for the sounds of the phrases.
They open their eyes and raise their hands to say which phrases were especially striking to their ear. “Which phrases make striking sounds, so that you want to hear them again?”
2. The children close their eyes and listen again for the phrases that make vivid pictures in their minds’ eye.
They open their eyes and raise their hands to say those phrases. “Which phrases make vivid pictures in your mind’s eye so that you wish to hear them again, to see those pictures again?”
3. They close their eyes again and listen for the ideas that are striking to their imaginations.
They open their eyes and put up their hands to tell about the ideas that strike their imagination. “Which phrases strike the imagination giving you interesting thoughts or ideas so that you want to hear them again to revisit those thoughts or ideas?”
The guide recites a different poem every day or so until the children have heard and considered ten or fifteen poems. These poems are printed on pages and left out on the shelf for the children to select from.
1. A child chooses poems to read as part of her work.
2. She gets help with pronunciation and word meaning.
3. She gets help with understanding concepts, ideas, or historical times.
4. The child goes outside to read the poem loudly across the garden to a partner.
5. The child goes to a mirror to see herself while reading the poem with full vocal and facial expression.
6. She sees how close she is to memorizing the poem and asks a partner to hold it and prompt her.
7. The child finishes memorizing the poem and tells the guide she is ready to recite it to the class.
8. The guide listens to the child recite the poem and offers suggestions for improvement.
9. The child improves the poem and schedules a time with the guide to recite the poem to the community, so that only one poem is presented by a child each day, and so that it is presented at a time that doesn’t interrupt one of the work cycles.
10. The guide leads the children in listening according to the three steps of listening above. This type of listening helps the children avoid applauding.
The child may decide to take the poem on tour to other communities.
1. The child schedules a time with her guide to leave the classroom to go around campus.
2. The guide practices with the child and her partner how to approach the gate, enter the gate, approach the door, open it quietly, close it softly, and stand and wait within to be seen by an adult.
3. The guide and child practice greeting a child who knows her in another community. This is done from a distance with a quiet smile and a discreet wave. If necessary the child puts one finger to her lips to indicate her desire to be greeted quietly and discreetly. If necessary she says, “Please wave to me quietly from your work space.” If children get up, come over, gather around her, the child leaves the room and returns to her own community.
4. The child and one partner, not two, take a clipboard, a schedule form, and a pencil to go around the campus and schedule a recitation with the other communities.
The children choose from among these poems which ones they’d like to polish for parent gatherings.