For holidays that celebrate parents ⇔
Jun 2013. EFLsuccess.com ⇔
(This post is also in the “articles” section of my personal website (wp.krigline.com), which is full of interesting articles, pictures, music, and more. Check it out!)
In the US, “Fathers’ Day” is celebrated on the third Sunday in June, and “Mothers’ Day” is celebrated the second Sunday in May. Different countries honor parents on different days and in various ways. One suggestion for celebrating these holidays in the classroom is to ask students to write a poem about one or both parents, or about a mentor in their lives.
Some poems rhyme, and some do not. Some poems have a specific structure (e.g., Haiku; see krigline.com/haiku.htm), while other poems are very free. An acrostic poem (see below) helps the poet get started, and works well for language students.
In an acrostic poem, the first letter in each line forms a word. This kind of poem is not difficult for second-language learners to write because they don’t have to pay attention to meter, rhyme scheme, or accurate punctuation. Try it with your class on Mother’s Day or Father’s Day! I wrote this poem for my parents in 2013.
Classroom suggestion: Partner A reads the “Father’s” part, then Partner B reads the “Mother’s” part; then the partners read line by line (“A” reads the Father’s part, then “B” reads the Mother’s part). Then students write their own acrostic poem, using words like Father, Mother, Honor, Memory, Parents, or even a parent’s name. Students can also work on the discussion questions before or after working on their poems.
- Describe the transformation expressed by the author in his relationship with each parent.
- To talk about his teen years, the author chose the words “respected” and “loving” for his father/mother. What words would you use to talk about your parents, during your teen years?
- Negative emotions like “distant” and “worried” are also found in this poem. What negative terms, if any, would you apply to your childhood?
- “Honoring your father and mother” is important in most religions. (It is even in “God’s Ten Commandments”; see Exodus 20:12 in the Bible.) Do you think this maxim applies only to children, or should adults continue to “honor their parents”? Explain. If you are already an adult, how has your relationship with your parents changed after you turned 18?
- The last line of the poem uses five terms to describe the author’s parents. Use a synonym or short definition to describe each idea. Then come up with three to five terms that describe your own parents.
- If you have time, role-play the “Mothers’ Day” puppet dialog on my other website: wp.krigline.com/poem-moms-dads-day/
- After class, take time to improve your poem, and translate it into your “mother tongue” if you wish. Then, why not send it to your parents or to a mentor to show how much you appreciate them?
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