Movement with Poems


Students will demonstrate their ability to incorporate effective hand gestures or movement in their poems.


Materials Needed

Partner Poem Evaluation Sheet  5.Poem Partner Evaluation Sheet


Lesson Directions


Anticipatory Set/Hook

Gather the class into a circle. Tell the students that we are going to work more on our poems today and that we need to focus and work hard. We will be doing a focus game. Conduct the activity COUNTING. This is a focus game. Everyone forms a tight circle. As a group we will count to 20 (or however many are in the class) each person will say a number from 1 to 20. If you say a number at the same time as someone else the counting starts over at 1. Try to say a number before someone else says it. Go as long as you feel necessary, sometimes it takes a while to play this game to realize how to listen and focus in the group.



Transition- Now that we have been focusing let’s try to use and focus that energy into our body now. Stand straight up and begin to move your right hand. As large or as small as you please. Stop. Now Ask them to do a cross with your left hand. Stop. Ask the students to do both at the same time. This may be difficult or easy for others. Let them know it’s hard to complete, so they don’t feel like a failure. in a circle, now try to move your left hand in a cross. Now with your right foot draw a circle. Keep going for a while. Stop. Now ask them to write their name with their right hand as their right foot is doing circles. Once again this is very challenging. You can also try left foot making circles and right hand writing the name.


Discussion- Lead a short discussion on what that experience was like for the students. Was this difficult or easy for you? Why? Was it natural? We need to get used to moving our body and recognizing what it can do. Let’s explore that further in the next exercise. Get used to your body moving


Guided Practice- Tell the students that we are going to visit our childhood and play a game of Simon Says. If some don’t know how to play explain the game to them. Guide the students first through some simple Simon Says, like touch your nose, touch your feet, etc. Then have them do things like cross the room, touch the wall, say the first line of their poem. Let the students explore the whole classroom and all ranges of movement. This will help them get warmed up and loose for the rest of the class.


Group Practice- Conduct the activity Columbian Hypnosis. Tell the students to focus on moving ways you have not before and remember what we just did in the previous activity. Internalize what is means to be moved by someone else and focus on those physical reactions.


Instructions: Played in pairs. One player holds her open hand, fingers upward, about 2-3 inches from her partner`s face. She then starts moving her hand about slowly, while her partner tries to keep his face at exactly the same distance from her hand, like her hand is pulling and pushing his face about. Switch sides and partners after a couple of minutes. Have the new partner think how they can move differently than they were moved. This is really also an exercise for the hypnotized, as she needs to ensure that her partner is able to follow her. Tell each partner to create trust by not allowing your partner to run into others. Trust each other that you won’t run into anything. No vocal communication with each other, use just your hands.


Transition- After the exercise is over lead a short discussion on what their experience was like. Try to lead the conversation to blocking in a scene/monologue. What happened? What did you feel? Was there a difference between being the leader and being the follower? How difficult was it to have someone be in control of your movement? How easy was it to move someone else’s body? What could have made the whole activity easier and more natural? What ideas or suggestions do they have for natural blocking movement in the scene? How important is natural, motivated blocking to a performance? What have students done in the past for performances to create natural blocking?


Modeling- Give good and bad examples of movement in poems. It can either enhance or hinder your performance. You want it to add to your performance. Don’t want it to be distracting in any way.
Now that we are adding movements don’t let your vocal qualities sail out the door, but use your movement to enhance what you are saying. If you pause, should your body pause as well? Should you pace? Think about what you are saying that can be enhanced by gestures and movement. I am not saying that you have to pace around, but if you are using hand gestures or moving make it specific and real. How you talk and your body should match each other, they go hand in hand.


Individual Practice- Allow some time for each student to practice their poems out loud. They should be off book by now. Make sure they are practicing out loud, it makes a huge difference to talk out loud. Also have them practice adding movement to their scene.


Partner Practice- Hand out partner evaluations to each student. Go over the evaluation form with them and make sure they understand what they will be doing for the rest of class. Get into partners and perform for your partner. Your partner will fill out the evaluation sheet and discuss with you for a few minutes. Now switch performers. Repeat the evaluation process. Now switch partners again. Perform your poem and have your partner help you. Saying that sounds great doesn’t do anything. You should have two evaluation filled out to hand back.


Transition- Remind students that we will be performing the poems next class period. Remind the students of how you want them to introduce their poem, name, author, title, then present poem. When done say thank you.



Students can be assessed by their participation in class activities, by filling out evaluation forms for their peers, and by practicing their poems without their scripts.