Thursday, June 2, 2011

Poetry — With A Twist

Today Dominic and FDPG worked on rhyming couplets. We started with helping & linking verbs, then, as these things do, our lessons morphed into poetry.

We're using a very loose blend of First Language Lessons, English For The Thoughtful Child, and Classical Writing Aesop this year. I say blend because there are days when I find one too constraining, or the other too predictable, but they are all fairly similar in method so it's easy to jump from one to the other with too much fuss.

Anyhow, we picked this poem and decided to fool around with it, because it's so charming and light-hearted and simple to memorize. And, well, they already HAD memorized it last year, so adapting a lesson for it was easy.

The Months Sara Coleridge

January brings the snow, 
makes our feet and fingers glow. 

February brings the rain,Thaws the frozen lake again. 

March brings breezes loud and shrill, 
stirs the dancing daffodil. 

April brings the primrose sweet, 
Scatters daises at our feet. 

May brings flocks of pretty lambs, 
Skipping by their fleecy dams.

June brings tulips, lilies, roses, 
Fills the children's hand with posies. 

Hot July brings cooling showers, 
Apricots and gillyflowers. 

August brings the sheaves of corn, 
Then the harvest home is borne. 

Warm September brings the fruit, 
Sportsmen then begin to shoot. 

Fresh October brings the pheasants, 
Then to gather nuts is pleasant. 

Dull November brings the blast, 
Then the leaves are whirling fast. 

Chill December brings the sleet, 
Blazing fire, and Christmas treat.

After they wrote it out I had them make up their own rhyming couplets. "Pick two months," I said, "any month. Then make up a couplet for each month."

I went off to make lunch.

FDPG interpreted it her way, which meant that she made up more than one couplet for each month — because more is better, right? Here's her example:

Cold December brings the snow,
With it traffic cannot go.
They plough the streets with all their might,
But always snow comes back at night.

She had something started using August, her birth month, but at printing time it wasn't quite ready for publication. That's our FDPG, always not quite finished. I have suggested that she translate this into Latin as a motto but she doesn't find my suggestion quite as amusing as I do.

Here are Dominic's examples. Dominic is a man of economy. Why do two couplets when only one is required? This was perhaps the only example I have of Dominic listening carefully to my instructions, so when he corrected FDPG, in his inimitable way


we were all quite astounded.

January is cold and bright
So let's get in a snowball fight!

December is nice and loud and clear,
And let's fill the house with Christmas cheer!

Then we went in and had lunch. They were all sniggering when they came into the dining room, and Max asked me if I'd heard their other couplets. "Other?" I said. "You wrote more?"

I should have known better. I'm tempted to call some of this doggerel, but one of them is merely being observant. Nevertheless, I think this lot will stay in the Ogden Nash section of the library.

August is a garden time
For gin and tonic with a lime!

It's August, let's go to the petting zoo
Look — a cow— mooooooo.

(never mind that cows aren't commonly found in petting zoos)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

BalletBoy and I have been all about the couplets lately. We had a two day vacation that was just us without his brother or father and we somehow got started on speaking in couplets. It makes me feel like I'm in A Suitable Boy. He's not so great at it - FDPG's and Dominic's well thought out ones are much better. But he did begin to get the rhythm and he likes speaking in rhymes very much.