Monday, November 29, 2010

Poetry kids love: T.S. Eliot's Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats

I was looking for some fun poems to enjoy with the girls when I was suddenly thrown back to my childhood and the memory of my time in the car, with my mum, singing songs from “Cats: The Musical”  by Andrew Lloyd Webber. We had watched the musical together in the West End on a trip to London and we both loved the music. I learnt all the lyrics to the songs and was surprised to  find out later that the lyrics were actually adapted from poems by T.S. Eliot. These poems had been written to amuse his grandchildren and they certainly entertained. I remember devouring the poems as a child and I suspected my girls would get the same amount of enjoyment from them too. The poems are hard to resist and they beg to be read out loud and acted out and that is exactly what happened as the girls read them.

We started off by reading a selection of poems like Macavity: The Mystery Cat and The Naming Of the Cats, which I had printed off the internet and then, just for fun, I showed them clips from musical. It whetted their appetite and they were eager to read the other poems as well as watch more clips from the musical. Before long, I caught them practising their own rendition of The Old Gumbie Cat - not only had they had memorised it but they had also choreographed a whole song and dance routine and were practising it with such glee. :)

Needless to say - it was great fun and I always love it when they get this enthusiastic about something they are learning!

I purchased a lovely audio version of the poems beautifully read by Sir John Gielgud and Irene Worth.

These are some of the videos we watched from Cats: The musical. It definitely served a purpose in increasing their interest in the poems.

My daughter was so into it, she even made a glog about it. Making the glog really appealed to her artistic sensibilities and it was also a valuable exercise in learning to research and distil the information needed to fit the limited format. She really enjoyed the process and did a great job. 


Nancy said...

I love it when I come across something that connects with my past, even dimly. I so remember that book! I have reserved it from the library and look forward to revisiting it. Thanks for all the other "Cats" goodies, too.

Dana said...

Cool! Another poetry book to check out whilst I contemplate how to squeeze more into our curriculum.

Michelle said...

My kids love poetry too.

Just wanted to pay you a visit from the homeschooling group on yahoo.


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