ANAPAESTS: In a nutshell: Two light beats followed by a heavy one: See my poems
DACTYLS: Think of "tum titty tum titty" or take your class to this music and clap to it:
Go to the poems I've listed above and many more in my books, and tap out the rhythms for yourself. I've not been to university to study this, but if you write these words on Google you can learn about them, but I think a copy of Stephen Fry's Book "The Ode Less Travelled" is worth reading
ANAPAESTIC METRE: Examples: In the DEPTHS of the FORest so DEEP - Get your children to walk across the desk on the heavy beats, or clap, and tell you how many beats per line. (feet really). Yes - 3. They have to be natural heavy sounds for you would not say forEST just to fit it in. Tell them this.
DACTYLIC METRE: From one who's tried, it is much more difficult to write dactylic metre for how often do we end our sentences on two light beats? Not often. Here is my example, but you try to find some yourself.
BEAUTiful STRAWberries PICKED in the HOT sunshine.
However, I have to say that I often start a poem off with a heavy beat, even though it is an anaepestic poem, for I want to emphasize the first word, especially if it is the subject. Then I often finish the last line with two small beats, even if I am not writing in anapaestic metre but ordinary iambic metre, for it gives the last line a little flourish. We do not speak in metre normally, and there are often little deviations and they do have names as you will discover. Even the great writers didn't keep exactly to their "beats" for what do you do when you are supposed to finish on a heavy beat but the word you choose has "ing" or "ment" or "able" on the end? No, poets do their best but are allowed deviations.
ANAPAESTIC METRE example: Try "An Autumn Visit " remembering the heavy
first beat because it is my subject. My poem "The Queen of the Night" is also a good example: (Both in my books)
On four SOFT padded PAWS walks the QUEEN of the NIGHT.
Though her MOVEments are Agile her FOOTsteps are LIGHT.
But this SOLitary FEline has NOTHing to FEAR
And is DRIven by HUNger to SEARCH out the DEER.
SO, LET'S PRACTISE as I know the children have to write some lines in this unit: I'll do some, you try some (teachers) and let the children see what they can do.
When I HEARD a loud KNOCKing I THOUGHT it was DAD.
Through the DOOR of the CARavan CAME a strange DOG.
In the MIDdle of NIGHT came an ALien from SPACE.
I'd no SOONer reTURNED when I HEARD a strange SOUND.
Pass the BUTter and JAM and some NICE crusty BREAD.
You will see that I have chosen four heavy beats for each line. In poetry it is popular to have four beats per line, or seven is popular but you split it up into two lines, ie four on the first and three on the following, and that is the same for all metres. A very popular metre was always five per line, ie iambic pentameter, but not so popular for children of the age you are teaching. Go through my poems and you will clearly see that I have either chosen the one or the other. You don't mix them. If you use the four beats per line, then each of the two lines rhyme, eg aabb rhyme scheme. If you choose the seven, split over two lines, then the second short line rhymes with the fourth short line etc.
This is where you will see the pattern in poetry. Take the children to the children's corner on here where there is some practise, but writing a few sentences each day as I've done is exactly the best way to improve your poetry writing and theirs also, and go through the Stephen Fry book. It's well worth it. If you're teaching children about metre, you need to have it clear in your own mind, and then you will see that I have done my best with my poems, but I am not one of the great poets of the past who would have studied metre night and day for years to get it correct. Now - more . . . .
Dactyls: OUT of the DARKness and INto the MORNing sun . . . .
VEGetable MARRows with PORK chops or SAUSages.
CHILdren are CARrying SWEETS in their COAT pockets.
DADdy is WONdering WHY we are WORrying.
GRANNy has ASKED us to GO to the PANtomime.
BRIGHT coloured PACKages TIED with BLUE ribbon.
MONey to BUY us some ICE cream or CHOColate.
ROGer has TAKen his BOOK to the LIBrary. etc
Anapaests: Can you PASS me a PACKet of STRAWberry CREAMS?
Are you TAKing your DOG for a WALK in the SUN?
Do you LIKE to hear MUSic and DANCE round the ROOM?
Will you PUT down your PEN and please STOP writing NOW.
Send the children back to this page to do some homework: Read these sentences again and compose some of your own using the two rhythms. Then they might like to An Autumn Visit as a performance poem and if it is excellent, we could link a recording from your school website to the poem on mine, or you could do a real performance, wearing costumes, and get it filmed and link via You Tube??? Other children might like to see it.
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