Saturday, January 15, 2011

I Wonder by Jeannie Kirby (Form 2)

I have started teaching the poem "I Wonder" by Jeannie Kirby, the Form 2 new literature component. The poem consists of 6 couplets. In my opinion, the poem is straight forward and easy to understand. Here's the poem:

By: Jeannie Kirby

I wonder why the grass is green,
And why the wind is never seen?

Who taught the birds to build a nest,
And told the trees to take a rest?

O, when the moon is not quite round,
Where can the missing bit be found?

Who lights the stars, when they blow out,
And makes the lightning flash about?

Who paints the rainbow in the sky,
And hangs the fluffy clouds so high?

Why is it now, do you suppose,
That Dad won’t tell me, if he knows?

Before starting the lesson, I asked a few questions to students:

  1. What does the phrase, 'I Wonder' mean to you?
  2. Have you ever wondered how plants eat?
  3. Have you ever wondered why you can feel the wind but cannot see it?
After discussing the questions to students, I showed the following video (Lemon Tree - Fool's Garden):

The following version is quite cool too and I like its tune better than the first video:

After showing the video (my students love the song and ask for a repeat), I asked students, "What is the person in the video wondering about?". 

Then, I told the students briefly that the person / the man in the video is waiting for his true love but she never came. Maybe, the girl has said and made a promise to him that love is as beautiful as a blue sky. So, he waits, and waits for her - she never came - and he only sees a lemon tree. So, the song basically tells us about a man who is wondering when his true love is going to come to him.

I didn't go really deep into the song.

Okay (I told my students), actually the song is related to the poem that we are going to learn today.  The poem is also about a person who is wondering or pondering about something that he/she doesn't understand.

I modeled how to recite the poem with the correct pronunciation and enunciation. Then, I asked students to choral read the poem. Normally, I would ask the boys to recite the first stanza followed by the girls until they recite all stanzas. I will always remember what my literature lecturer, the lovely Ms Hendon of IPBA, told us that poems are meant to be read aloud. 

Next, I told students the meaning of the poem:

Lines from the poem
I wonder why the grass is green,
The persona wonders why the grass has to be green.
And why the wind is never seen?
The persona wonders why she can feel the wind but cannot see it.
Who taught the birds to build a nest,
The persona wonders how the birds know how to build a nest.
And told the trees to take a rest?
The persona wonders why the trees are always standing straight and tall, never once sitting down to have a rest.
O, when the moon is not quite round,
Where can the missing bit be found?
At night, the persona sees the crescent moon and wonders why it is not always round.
Who lights the stars, when they blow out,
During the day, the persona cannot see the stars. So, the persona wonders who light the stars at night.
And makes the lightning flash about?
The persona wonders who causes the lightning to flash.
Who paints the rainbow in the sky,
The persona wonders how the colourful rainbow appears in the sky.
And hangs the fluffy clouds so high?
The persona wonders who hangs the fluffy clouds up so high in the sky.
Why is it now, do you suppose,
That Dad won’t tell me, if he knows?
Finally, the persona wonders why his father does not answer his questions. Maybe, his father does not know the answers.

After that, the discussions lead to the persona, themes and moral values of the poem. 

The persona of the poem:
  • The persona is the voice in the poem (the person who might say the lines in the poem)
  • The persona might be an inquisitive child who observes the world around him.
Themes: (What the poem is mainly about)
  • A child’s curiosity (Sifat ingin tahu kanak-kanak). Children loves to ask questions about anything that they do not understand.
  • The wonders of nature (Keajaiban alam semulajadi). People who take time to stop and appreciate nature will find that nature is amazing.

Moral values : (What can we learn from the poem)

  • There is an existence of God (Terdapat kewujudan Tuhan)
  • Care for our environment (Pelihara persekitaran)
  • We must have a strong desire to learn a lot of knowledge. (Mempunyai keinginan yang tinggi untuk menambah ilmu pengetahuan)
I prepared the following video for the use in the classroom. Enjoy watching & learning!


    doit@mryfund said...

    teacher, macam saya yg langsung tk pandai speaking english ni camana nk mula dulu yek. ada tips ker. menyebut tak pandai, menulis tak pandai

    Teacher Nuha said...

    Dear doit@mryfund,

    There's no easy way to master a language. (Tiada jalan pintas utk menguasai sesuatu bhs.) However, we should never give up. Keep practicing English in our everyday life. Try to speak, listen, read & write in English everyday. For a start, here are some tips that can be done:

    1. Speak English with your English teacher. This will help to increase your confidence in speaking English. In class, ask questions in English. Volunteer to read aloud in class so that your teacher can correct your pronunciation (sebutan). It's okay if you speak broken English.

    2. Listen to good songs in English. You can learn many new words. Make sure you have a good dictionary too. For a start, you may use english-malay dictionary (kamus dwi-bhs).

    3. Read English books, magazines, newspapers, etc. Choose simple children story books as a start. Read something that you are interested in. Boys are normally into sports, cars, internet gamings, etc.

    4. Write at least one English sentence a day in your diary/journal/blog. You can write just about anything - what do you learn at school on that particular day, your feelings, what do you eat/drink, opinions, etc. Increase the number of sentences on the next week and so on.

    Hope you find these tips helpful. Remember, practise makes perfect. All the best!

    painkiller said...

    I also has the same problems. I can write English moderately better than speaking. So, I've come up with an idea. English teachers who wants to improve their English skills must learn to have 'affinity' for English. Think in English, be alert with English terms from TV, Radio, talks etc and take every single opportunity to speak English with fellow teachers... 'Kikis' perasaan rendah diri atau malu ditertawakan. Sbb we learn from mistakes. Just an opinion :)

    painkiller said...

    I didn't know that the doit@mryfund is a student until I read your comments. Haha.

    Teacher Nuha said...

    painkiller, couldn't agree more with u.. but sometimes the environment & the people around us hold us back from speaking in English.. even the English teachers in my school dont speak English among themselves.. shame on us..

    Nurul Hasanah Satar said...

    Teacher can you answer my question?? List out the pairs of rhymes in I wonder poem?/ I don't know how to do it

    Teacher Nuha said...

    Dear Nurul Hasanah, I've answered your question here:

    Anonymous said...

    thank you for your explanation about the i wonder poem...

    Teacher Nuha said...

    Dear Anonymous,
    You are welcome :)

    Anonymous said...

    salam teacher..i've came upon ur post when my little cousin asked me about this poem..her teacher said that they have to answer every questions in this poem..n i found it a bit ridiculous bcoz usually they will asked about the meaning holds in every line n not to answer about its a bit confusing how to answer it?i think its all about the creations of god la please help me here..tq ;)

    Teacher Nuha said...

    waalaikumussalam. somehow the answer to each question in the poem relates to its meaning. We need to bear in mind that for certain questions, students need to have a scientific knowledge to explain the answer. For example,

    Couplet 1:
    why the grass is green - due to chlorophyll (a green pigment found in almost all plants)
    why the wind is never seen? - wind is moving air. air particles cannot be seen by our naked eyes because they are so minute.

    They might be able to answer the above questions if they've learnt them in Science.

    Couplet 3:
    half of the moon is missing due to the illumination of the Sun, when the Sun and Moon are aligned on the same side of the Earth. (just googled abt it :D ) maybe form 2 students are able to understand this phenomena (or could it be too advanced for their age?)

    For most questions, everything happens to due to God's will. students need to understand why God creates the birds, trees, stars, etc.

    Couplet 6: there are a number of reasons as to why the father isnt able to answer his child's question (click on the above video)

    although its not necessary to go really deep into finding the accurate answers, i feel that it doesnt hurt to explain the truth to the young generation so as to make them appreciate God's creations and consequently strengthen their belief that God Almighty does exist. i think this is the reason why your cousin's teacher want his/her students to find the answer to the questions in the poem because the answer will lead to God's existence and His might.

    I hope I've answered your confusion (or did i make u more confuse?) :)

    Syifaa Natasha said...

    teacher,, are the elements of this poem are only the themes n moral values ??

    Teacher Nuha said...

    dear Syifaa,

    Apart from persona, theme & moral values, there are other elements in poetry such as tone, mood and poetic devices :)

    cicot faeez said...

    Asslam teacher! Can you answer this question? In your opinion, how is this poem relevant to our personal life? Give your answer with reference to the poem.

    Teacher Nuha said...

    Wslm cicot faeez,

    you can write your opinion by answering the following questions:
    1) how are the wonders of nature related to god's existence?
    2) why do we need to care for our environment?
    3) why must we have a strong desire to learn new knowledge?

    write the draft of your answer, paste it here & let me check your answer ok ;)

    nur chenta said...

    assalamualaikum. teacher nuha, i really love this. i am private u student and still learning.actually i'm quite slow in english. but, i've to do my micro teaching about this poem for my minoring subject.can i ask a favour about what can i do for induction part. and can u give me link for the second video? i can't open it. sorry for disturbing and thanks for your kindly help teacher. glad to know you:)

    Teacher Nuha said...

    waalaikumussalam nur chenta,
    i've written the set induction in this post.. for the 2nd video, u may try this link:

    all the best with your micro teaching :) nice knowing u too...

    nur chenta said...

    Thanks,Teacher Nuha.Nice to know u too,teacher:)

    Anonymous said...

    Hello teacher, I'm a student all the way from Sabah. Your notes are very helpful and my friends also find it very wonderful. Thank you so much and I hope I'll do great in my exam! Thanks again Teacher Nuha!!

    Teacher Nuha said...

    Dear Anonymous, it's great to know that students from across the South China Sea have benefited from this blog. I pray & I believe that you & your friends will do well in your studies!

    Anonymous said...

    wow.. an useful information!.. =)

    Teacher Nuha said...

    thanks :)

    I'm Donald Duck said...

    Thanks for your poem,I have understand more about the poem.You're a great teacher!This may help me a lot in the exam! =)

    Teacher Nuha said...

    My pleasure I'm Donald Duck :)

    Anonymous said...

    teacher, can you help me with this question; "What is the poet's purpose of writing I Wonder?"

    Anonymous said...

    salam,teacher thanks for the explanations..

    Teacher Nuha said...

    Dear Anonymous February 26, 2013 at 11:48 PM, I think one of the purposes is making people appreciate the amazing nature around us.

    Waalaikumussalam Anonymous March 28, 2013 at 3:20 PM. You're welcome.

    Anonymous said...


    Anonymous said...

    Can you please tell me about the poet?

    Rashdan Rahman said...

    I just found this blog and...BANG!!!.... it was so amazing.I am new in this english as i am long enough as sc teacher.So....perhaps you might help in teaching method

    INFINITE said...

    assalam teacher,can i have the summery of the poem, ?

    Ms. Ivy Paul said...

    I really love Teacher Nuha's ideas for the lesson plan. Thank you for the sharing. ^.^

    oceanswc said...

    What is the 3 things that the persona wonder

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