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Possible activities for the teaching of ‘My City’ and

‘Dancers Exercising’
‘My City’ (in no particular order)

- Introduce a recording of the poem, a video of a pastoral scene (to build

schema), and show them Woody Allen’s ‘Manhattan’

- Form – sonnet form – why does the poet use sonnet form? History of
sonnet form – possible irony? Stereotypical sonnet – give another
traditional sonnet (Shakespeare?) for comparison. Language – place as a
person? Introduce song ‘New York is a woman’ by Suzanne Vega.

- Highlight the personification of Manhattan

- Show how rhyme scheme gives structure to ideas of poem

- 2 ext tasks: write a poem about ‘My City’, or imitate the form of the poem
but write on another topic

- Build schema and brainstorm – in groups and talk about associations of

countryside and city

- Look at nouns being referenced to and compare the two scenes

- Commercials of reps of countryside and city (tourism commercials for eg)

- Introduce idea of ambiguity

- Imagery – ask students what they cherish in their lives, put on board. And
then provide some contrasts between things they cherish and things they
don’t – translate to the poem’s comparison between the country and the
city. Why does the poet like Manhattan?

- Sound – pace and rhythm changes – 1st part slow - get students to read it
quickly for them to realize that it is not meant to be read quickly – intro
long vowel sounds, punctuation etc and vv.

- How image and rhythm helps meaning.

- Throw them into the deep end – what do you feel? Draw out the opposition
between rural and urban – ref to 2 sec texts that talk about same topic

- Ask students: What is it like to live in Singapore? Nature vs city, death vs


- Sound – reinforces idea of life (iambic pentameter)

- Poet’s purpose?
- Reader Response – imagine themselves as a dying cancer patient writing a
poem about Singapore in their dying moments. Do they have dirty/pretty
things in their lives (like smelly bolsters etc) – incongruity of the poet.

- Title without poem – brainstorm ideas of what they think about Singapore
– pics of various cities, last picture is Manhattan.

- Give poem – content of poem – overarching themes of city and death –

zoom in on diction and imagery – organise ideas into a mindmap. – voice
of poem, intention of persona. Groups of 4 – imitate poem or inspiration
from poem, change city to Singapore or transpose poem into prose wrt
Singapore (theme can be one they identify with)
Teaching ‘Dancers Exercising’

- Memory – ask students to remember what happened in last lit lesson –

illustrate how different people remember diff things even though they
were in the same situation

- Diction, imagery

- Deep end – read poem and go through difficult words, does it clarify
meaning? Conduct lesson in a dance studio or music room. Show pictures
of dancers, video of pple dancing – what’s the diff bet picture and video
(static vs movement), life never static, evolving friendships. Look at 1st 10
lines – going through meaning, memories attempts to capture exceptional.
Talk about ‘frame within a frame’. What is beautiful about dance and the
process. Sense of where the poem is, what the poem evokes

- Structure – frame within a frame – start, middle and end (middle as turning
point, reflection), mirroring of form echoes mirroring of poem – extrapolate
to unseen poetry – still able to draw out stuff even though may not fully

- Physics lab – play with mirrors

- Dance studio – pair up and pose in front of the mirror and take pictures to
put together in collage. Clip from ‘Love Actually’ – airport arrival/departure

- Highlight nature of Conversation – converse with each other, break poem

into chunks, common humanity.

- Form of poem – pinched at two parts – mirrors the meaning of the words
which suggests convergence