Sunday, October 13, 2013

Learning through poetry

Sometimes you simply cannot predict the impact or reaction that your students will have to a lesson. Sometimes lessons fizzle and flop over dead. Sometimes they soar, lifting everyone up creating a memory that sticks. This tiny lesson about numbers and Austrian poetry did just that.

The poem is called "12! ein Zahlengedicht" by Gerhard Rühm. Rühm is an Austrian-born poet of the late 20th century. I experienced his poetry during a seminar session about music and lyrics while in Innsbruck, Austria. Rühm's poem was buried in a huge list of musical selections and lyrical works that we heard and read as a group. "12!" jumped off the page as something exactly perfect for use in beginner level German class.

So, a few weeks ago after we worked through learning the numbers up through 100, I introduced Herr Rühm to my students with three simple sentences in German. Then, we listened to Rühm himself reading his poem. The students were totally sucked in. It was so unexpected for them. We had an awesome discussion about the poem after. The students still bring it up.

You're just going to have to read and/or listen to the poem yourself to know what I am talking about. Enjoy!

Photos courtesy of Dr. Michael Shaughnessy, Collage created by author, 2013

1 comment:

  1. Wow--very interesting. . .! I'm curious about what kind of class discussion this generated!