I have a small unit in Spanish 5 on poems that I begin each year with the poem "Oda al tomate" by Pablo Neruda.
Since the poem has many words that I know my students do not know because they are not very common, it is always a struggle to read it with my students. This year I took a different approach and it went so well that I will use this lesson plan for the poem in the following years.
Holding a red, ripe tomato in my hand, I announced that we were going to read a poem about a tomato entitled, "Oda al tomate" by Pablo Neruda.
Then, I distributed the poem in Spanish to the students and instead of reading through it with the students, I asked for a volunteer (and usually when my students volunteer they do not know for what they are volunteering). I handed the poem with both the English and Translation to the boy that volunteered. Then I read a few words or phrases in Spanish, paused, and he read the English translation. While we read, the students followed along on their copies. Fortunately, the volunteer was the perfect fit for reading the poem and he did an OUTSTANDING job. The students enjoyed the poem from his way of echoing my words in Spanish - slow and a bit poetic-like. From their reactions, I think one of their favorite lines was "debemos, por desgracia, asesinarlo".
After the reading, I told them that they were going to write their own poem, similar to Neruda's style, but their poem was going to be titled, "Oda a la galleta". Of course, for inspiration purposes only, I pulled out a container of chocolate chip cookies for them. Now, not only were they happy because they enjoyed listening to the reading of the "Oda al tomate", but they were also happy because they were snacking on home-made chocolate chip cookies.
In about 15 minutes, they were finished with their poems and we were ready to read them, in the same fashion as the student and I modeled, first a few words or phrases in Spanish, followed by the English translation. One group requested to go first because they had even made their poem rhyme in Spanish! In true coffee-house like fashion, when each group finished we didn't clap. Oh no, we snapped.
The best part, one girl that I heard mumble as she walked in at the beginning of class, "I hate school" (because she wasn't happy with her previous class, was laughing and smiling. Before she left I asked if her day had improved and she said, "Sí, gracias señora".
And that, dear friends, is enough to put an extra spring in my step. :)
As a side note: It was perfect that I read a tweet by @senoraCMT about Pablo Neruda just days before my class read Pablo's "Oda al tomate". (Find the link about Pablo Neruda HERE.)