Welcome to today’s tip in my month-long Poetry Tips for Teachers series. [Addendum: I had a little issue with a disappearing blog post and rewriting it and–well, I’ll spare you the details. I apologize for having the same basic tip two days in a row, but this one has a bit more detail and a different poem, so I hope you enjoy it!]
Tip #6: Make a face.
When you’re reading a happy, joyful poem, you should be smiling! This seems obvious, but sometimes when we’re nervous, we lose our natural expressiveness. It’s like on American Idol, when you watch a contestant sing a rock anthem with a wooden face, or sing a ballad with some inauthentic grin. Don’t do that! If you feel nervous, just think about what emotion the poem makes you feel. Then add the appropriate facial expression. Even if you don’t consider yourself a performer, try taking your expressions up a notch. After a few weeks, go another step up. You don’t want to be completely over the top, but the more life you put into your poetry reading, the more involved students will get.
So, for example, I would want to read the poem below with a determined, predatory look on my face…not a silly smile.