This lesson is designed around a short film inspired by a poem by Charles Bukowski. Students watch the short film and write a verse of poetry inspired by the short film. Students then listen and read the poem. For homework they find out information about the life of the poet.
Language level: Upper-intermediate (B2.1) – Advanced (B2.2)
Learner type: Mature teens; adults
Time: 60 minutes
Activity: Watching a short film; creating a verse of a poem; listening to a poem
Language: Language of drudgery of everyday life
Materials: Short film, video, Wordle and poem
Write poetry on the board. Ask your students to name some poets who they like. Ask them if they can recite any lines of poetry in their language.
Tell your students that they are going to watch a short film which was inspired by a poem. Show them the film and ask them to say what story they think the film tells. Also ask them to suggest any words which they think might be in the poem.
After watching the film put students in pairs and ask them to discuss the story and come up with vocabulary they think might be in the poem.
Get feedback from your students.
Show students the Wordle below which has been created using the most frequent words in the poem. Go through the vocabulary.
Put your students into small groups and tell them that you would like them to try to write a verse of the poem using some of the words in the Wordle. Give them the first line of the poem:
there’s a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
Ask them to continue the first verse. Give them 5 minutes to write the first verse. After 5 minutes ask a spokesperson from each group to read out their verse.
Tell your students they are going to listen to the poet reading his poem. Play the video but do not show the images. They should try to understand the poem. After listening to the poem put students into pairs and ask them to discuss the poem for 3 minutes. After 3 minutes get feedback from the whole class.
Give the students the poem and ask them to read it. Get them to read the poem and listen to it at the same time. Then ask them what the poem is about.
The poem is about our compulsion to hide and stifle our most tender and vulnerable selves underneath tough, controlled exteriors.
Now show the video with pictures of Charles Bukowski
From the poem and the pictures they see in the second video ask the students what type of person they think the poet is and what type of life he has led.
Give your students the name of the poet: Charles Bukowski. Ask them to find out as much information as they can about his life and work. In the following class ask for information about the poet.
Charles Bukowski (1920 –1994) was an American poet, novelist and short story writer. He had a very troubled childhood and became an alcoholic at an early age. He wrote about the life of poor Americans, alcohol, prostitutes and the drudgery of everyday life.
I hope you enjoy the lesson.