Friday, 1 August 2014

Engage with Poetry

“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” Albert Einstein, German-born theoretical physicist

Welcome! Καλώς ήρθατε! This year the 30Goals Challenge for Educators is on a world tour and I am happy to be your next Inspire Leader for this part of the journey. So where in the world have we stopped now? We are visiting Thessaloniki, Greece. I invite you to accomplish the following goal “Engage with Poetry”
What happens when teachers wish to use their national literature in their English classroom? Can they combine enjoyment, learners’ motivation and English teaching?

Finding and using literature to teach in the EFL classroom is a controversial issue and many teachers may not feel comfortable with integrating it in their methods. 
Intrigued by our passion in literature, we challenged ourselves to use translated national literature in EFL classes. The main aim is to show that literature can be adopted as an alternative and a supplement in the syllabus and using national work aids students general education.

Accomplish the Goal

Have your students create a mltimedia presentation, digital story, comic or a video in which they express their interpretation, emotions or thoughts of a poem.
Here, I am going to show you the steps I followed in the classroom to help my students. I created a video of my students expressing their interpretations, emotions and thoughts of a poem.

Level: A1+

Age of learners: 10-year-old elementary pupils

Poem: The seagull by Odysseas Elytis (free interpretation by George Raptopoulos, a colleague with whom I accepted the challenge and who ran the project with the C2 English learners)

Lesson Plan

Step 1 Hand out the poem to the learners and let them read it for themselves.

Step 2 Explain unknown words, phrases, expressions

Step 3 Let them draw what they understood from the poem. They either use just a piece of paper and crayons or you can find many drawing apps and web tools in

Step 4 Intrigue their thoughts by putting questions:
“Do you like the poem?”
“Describe the seagull’s life and people’s life”
“ What is the seagull a symbol for?”
“What is the man afraid of?”
“How would you like to live? Why?

Step 5 Let them express themselves using apps like or on the PC or tablet.

Step 6 Time for recording. They can use their smartphones , tablets, cameras. It would be wise to remind them to bring them along in the lesson before. Even if they don’t own those gadgets, you can use your own and record them.

Step 7 Let them check their recording and upload them in one of the video channels, YouTube or vimeo


Students were motivated and engaged right away. They felt confident and I was surprised by their ability and readiness to transfer their ideas to English.  Team and pair work were promoted.
It was the first time for me that I perceived, organized and ran a lesson based on national literature. I felt I got closer to my students by arguing, talking about general matters, sharing ideas , thoughts and emotions.

About my country
I am proud to introduce you to my country, Greece
I was born, raised in Thessaloniki, the second biggest city in Greece, Central Macedonia, Northern Greece.
You are all invited to have a treat of our local delicious, yummy dishes like bougatsa, moussaka, dolmadakia, gemista, gyros!!!

One of the most famous songs dedicated to my hometown is  Thessaloniki
Thank you for dropping by! I hope you enjoyed your stay!
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