Our children stop for one minute to pay respect to all involved in war. These young children listen to a poem read over the school speakers but what does it mean to them. Were my students in previous years connecting to the poem? I think not!
This year I wanted these young students to connect to what they were listening to and understand why they were buying poppies.
The Ode comes from For the Fallen, a poem by the English poet and writer Laurence Binyon and was published in London in The Winnowing Fan: Poems of the Great War in 1914. This verse, which became the Ode for the Returned and Services League, has been used in association with commemoration services in Australia since 1921.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.
My 6, 7 and 8 year old students listened to me read the Ode and then as a grade we unpacked the vocabulary. They shared their ideas about the meaning of the verse with each other and returned to their table groups to have another opportunity to talk about the meaning of the verse. Roaming and listening to their conversations was amazing. I never underestimate this age group. Their ability to think beyond their years when given the opportunity and material is amazing.
The task: A written response to explain what the Ode means to them.
My students are responsible for editing their writing. They have their ‘have a go’ spelling books, a spelling strategy that I encourage all teachers to use. The ‘have a go’ strategy book becomes a personal dictionary for my students.
I’ve included samples of my student’s responses (some are still editing) from each age groups and levels in the grade. Their perception and empathy is wonderful. Deep levels of comprehension: What do you think?