On my eighth podcast poetry show I reflect on how I was inspired to write through my work with children. I give ideas for parents and teachers on how to use my poems to educate their children on different topics.
Do an artist study on Hunderwasser, learn about the Magic E to help with spelling, and learn about self-concept through songs and drama. Some of the poems can be sung at bed time too!
I talk about the inspiration for my book, ‘One Little Caterpillar’ and how I used it to teach concepts in English. Each time I read the story to the children, it captures their attention straight away. They’re expecting to see caterpillars but they see hands. Once all the caterpillars hatch, they crawl all over the children’s body to find a leaf, and we say ‘Ewwwww!’ to shoo them away. In a sense, we are the trees.
The simple lyrics tell a longer story through the pictures which are transformed into actions. The actions use hands, body and it can be acted out as a group, much like a play.
Another story that is also a play is called ‘Colour My Ball.’ It has blank pages so that the children can draw their own illustrations. The book is about a group of friends who enter a mirror. I got the idea for the poem when I was mixing play dough colours with the children at the school I was working at. We were also mixing paints and creating our own mask, reflecting our feelings.
I also watched a dance class of children who were doing dance improvisation and playing with props. And as I was taking the photos, I was creating the story and choreography.
The illustrations don’t show the full potential of the ideas I have in my head. I haven’t written these anywhere, though I’d like to develop it into a dance musical some day.
I also created my own poems to teach skills such as spelling. This next poem is called ‘Magic E’. It teaches about how the vowel changes its sound when an ‘e’ is added at the end. For example, ‘rid’ turns to ‘ride’. As the poem is read, it gives examples of different words and tells a fun simple story.
Many of my poems are about developing self-concept. Who you are, what you look like, how you feel and so on. These help children develop their own self-confidence and feelings which in turn help them identify in the feeling of others and empathize. Being egocentric helps them keep safe and learn to take care of themselves.
I sing a poem called, ‘Little Mirror’. Listen to it at the 11.30 minute mark of the audio. The poem is about looking at your own reflection as you discover how to stand tall, and what your laugh looks like, and so on, as you develop confidence.
The poem ‘Yellow Shadow’ is about a guardian angel or a spirit that follows you, much like your own shadow. The yellow shadow looks after you. It’s also a symbol of protection from the dark.
Sometimes children might feel scared at night at bedtime. They need a little light, not too much to keep them awake, but just enough so that they can feel at ease. And also the yellow shadow is a symbol of confidence, a spark that gives confidence. Listen to it at the 15.20 minute mark of the audio.
Truth: As I create these Poetry Podcast Shows I have in the back of my mind the hope that my family will some day listen to them. I haven’t had the chance to sit down and chat to them about everything I’ve experienced. I also hope that if some day I’m gone, that my family, especially my nephews and nieces will have a place to listen to Auntie.
Listen to the full audio here for more poems and stories about how I was inspired to write with children.