This is another lesson that has changed and evolved over the past two years but it is all based on the poem “Lost Generation” by Jonathan Reed. I was first introduced to this poem by one of my youth leaders in training a few years ago who shared it in a public speaking activity. In case you aren’t familiar with the poem (you should go read it quickly!) I will just tell you that it is a poem that is read forwards and then backwards and has a totally different meaning in each way.
Here is my lesson plan to go with the poem:
Materials – plain paper, pencil, coloured pencils (optional)
Part 1 – Have students fold their paper in half – hamburger style. On half the paper students will write and/or draw their response to the poem being read through the first time. I usually read it through 2-3 times and give them a few minutes to work on their responses. After we do a popcorn style discussion (or one-word contribution) about their perceptions of the poem (this is my favourite part!)
Part 2 – Now I explain that the poem is to be reversed (reading the last line of the poem that I skipped out first) and the students do a new reflection on the other half of the paper. Same as last time I read it a couple times, give them a few minutes, and then have a discussion about the two versions of the poems.
Part 3 – We discuss some of the phrases that helps the format to work forwards and backwards and then I have students write their own poems. Usually I ask for 4-5 lines and let them work in partners because it is a little bit tricky.
As always, if you use the lesson please let us know how it went! We love to hear about ways to improve or how these lessons go over with your students.