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THE RIVER by Valerie Bloom

SYNOPSIS The River is about the many faces of a river. The river is a wanderer where he moves all over the place. He does not sit still and is always in motion. He is also a winder where he twists and turns. He meanders. He is also a hoarder where he keeps things deep down in his river bed. Sometimes, he is a baby when he is happily flowing along. At times, he is a singer as seen through the happy sounds of the water. Finally, he is also a monster and can devour trees (most probably referring to a flood).

TOPSY TURVY, MAKE IT RIGHT Aims 1. To train students to listen, read and comprehend the poem 2. To enable team work while having fun rearranging the lines

Materials • Video from Movie Maker • Computer/ laptop • Overhead projector (preferred) • A stop watch • A blank piece of paper per large group • Adhesive • Sentence strips in an envelope


Instruct the students to sit in their respective groups, away from the teacher. Tell them to listen to the model reading of The River and watch the short video presentation. Play it again. Hand out the envelopes (one envelope per group). Tell them not to open until they are told to do so.

ď‚?Start the race! Tell them to rearrange the strips correctly to form the poem The River. Tell them to secure the strips with adhesive. ď‚‘Check the order. If one sentence is wrong, students must go back to their corner and try again. ď‚’Tell them that the group that hands up the correct arrangement in the shortest time wins. Alternative: The group that gets the most strips arranged correctly at the end of the set time wins!

THE SOUND MACHINE Aims • To enable students to understand the

meaning of the stanzas • To create the appropriate sounds made by the river in the different stanzas • To enable students to read with the correct pronunciation and intonation


• Cut out stanzas of the poem

Steps • Divide the students into 6 groups. • Read out the poem to them with the right enunciation and intonation. • Distribute one stanza to one group. • Tell them to practice reading the stanza. • Get them to read the stanza aloud to the class.

• Then tell them to think of certain sounds

and actions that they can use together with the stanza that they have been given. • Appoint a student (or a few students) within the group to read the stanza while the other students practice the sounds and movements. • Give them some time to practice.

• Then get them to present but do it this way – tell

them to form a long line with students with stanza 1 at the beginning and students with stanza 6 at the end. Get them to start moving like a river, undulating and wavy with the appropriate movements and sounds. Make it like a Mexican wave with Stanza 1 being read aloud with the movements and sounds, then Stanza 2 being read out with movements and sound and so on till Stanza 6.

• Then get them to do all 6 stanzas simultaneously with the reading, movement and sounds.

• Finally, get them to do just the movements and the sounds without the stanzas being read out.

You can be guaranteed that this exercise will bring out the vividness of the poem and it will be something that the


1. You may need to find a room or space large enough to carry out this activity. 2. Perhaps the hall or gym may help.

PELMANISM Aims • To introduce students to the meanings of the words used in the poem • To introduce vocabulary in a fun way


• word cards

Steps • Prepare sets of word cards (Handout 3) • Divide students into groups of 4. • Give each group a set of the word cards. • Tell them to set the cards face down on the desk. • Get each of them to open the cards one by one.

• They are not to look at the cards before

opening them face up on the table. • Their task is to match words and meanings together. • If they manage to match the word and the meaning, they are allowed to keep that pair. • The winner in the group will be the one who collects the most pairs.

In this activity, pelmanism can be likened to the game of Snap.

LET’S MAKE SENSE AIMS • To sensitise students to words and how

they help to construct meaning • To sensitise students to rhyme • To enable students to reconstruct a stanza using contextual clues and the skill of sense-making

Materials • Strips of paper, each bearing a line of the poem


Divide students into groups of four. Give each group strips of paper, each of which has a line of the stanza. Perhaps give each group either 2 or 3 stanzas which have been all cut up (Handout 3) Tell them to unscramble the lines and reconstruct the stanzas.

ď‚?Get them to present their work and read the stanzas out in class. Here, perhaps one group could read out one stanza. ď‚? Then get them to look again at the actual stanzas of the poem and decide if their stanzas (the assumption being that their stanzas may vary) can also stand. ď‚‘ It is not the accuracy of reconstructing the stanzas that matters. It does not matter if the reconstructed stanza varies from the original stanza. What is important is if the reconstructed stanza makes sense.


•You could give them the

first line of the stanzas and get them to reconstruct the stanza.

Let’s discuss • Get them to discuss the strategies they used in order to reconstruct the stanzas. Note 1. Use your discretion here. 2. It may not be feasible to give them all 6 stanzas. 3. They might pull their hair out in frustration!


• To strengthen students’

understanding of the poem through solving a crossword puzzle


Hand a copy of the Worksheet 1 to each student. Tell the students that the words are from the poem. Tell the students to solve the puzzle on their own or in pairs. Discuss the answers with the students. If time permits, ask the students determine in which stanza the words are found.

Alternatively, the teacher may ask students to lead the discussion.

River presentation power point (1)  

The river