Poem: There’s Always Things to Come Back to the Kitchen For

Another wonderful poem shared at a recent workshop. Would be interesting to see how students can imitate the same poetic structure as Alison Wong’s poem below, but keep things as simple or as difficult as their vocabulary and imagination would allow them. 🙂

There’s Always Things to Come Back to the Kitchen For

a bowl of plain steamed rice
a piece of bitter dark chocolate
a slice of crisp peeled pear

a mother or father who understands
the kitchen is the centre of the universe

children who sail out on long elliptical orbits
and always come back, sometimes like comets, sometimes like moons

Alison Wong


Poem: The Schoolgirl Kills Herself After Failing an Exam

In building up a repository of poems…

This is from QLRS.

The Schoolgirl Kills Herself After Failing An Exam

She jumps from the tenth floor of a housing block
into the brief wild terror of freedom, dies and transforms
into twelve paragraphs of newsprint in the Straits Times,
cool and objective, black and white, verifiable facts only.

We are told that her classmates are “shocked”.
And that her parents refuse to comment. We know that
she scored 41 marks for her last exam paper, a fatal result.
A teacher describes her as a “quiet, hardworking girl”.

We feel obliged to pause to reflect. We wish to search
our conscience. She was only eleven, we remind ourselves.
There must be others like her. There must be another way,
we suspect, for children to grow up in this country.

But yesterday’s news is quick to slide into the grey of memory.
She will become another incidental casualty. We turn the page.
We forget. Again we trip and fall head first into the future,
down into the depths of a national urge to never stop excelling.

By Gilbert Koh

Resource: It’s Payback Time

Another cool short clip, and this time with a narrative. I can imagine doing loads with this one – you can try a prediction activity, taking on perspectives, exploring visual literacy, and finally, an extension activity into the reality of the issue at hand (I won’t give you spoilers). Lots of reading articles and activities you could take with this. Enjoy!

Here’s a useful website with a little bit of the background data to accompany your consumption.

Resource: Get a Horse! (From Frozen)

Tonight is a short clips night. There are many awesome film resources out there, and is this probably one to keep. I am rewatching this 7-minute short clip for entertainment tonight but you can explore multitextuality (the layering of texts), self-reflexivity and the playing around with the third wall (or fourth, I mean, since we are technically watching this in the cinema).

Resource: Teaching Empathy

Becoming a teacher, I teach not just Literature, or English, or Geography, or Mathematics… but first and foremost, I teach people. So in guiding our students to become better persons, we need to teach empathy. This short clip is a fantastic resource for educators who just want to get people to start asking, “What do they feel?” Let us begin to tell the stories of other people, rather than our own stories.

Resource: Recite This!

This gem was discovered and shared by a close friend who teaches both English and Literature. I can imagine this being extremely useful in a classroom activity – students selecting their favourite quotes from a text (or coming up with their own) – and using this resource to find a suitable background image for the quote. Can be shared on a class blog or printed out to display in the classroom. 

Here was mine when I was feeling a little down.