Sunday, January 8, 2012

Poem - Leisure (Lesson 1)

In Week 1, I started off my lessons to my third formers by teaching "Leisure", a beautiful poem written by William Henry Davies.

The Poet: William Henry Davies

  • A poet and an autobiographer.
  • Born in 1871 in Monmouthshire, Wales.
  • His poems were written based on his experience as a tramp and the many different characters he encountered along the way.
  • His first poems were published when he was 34 years old.
  • His poems highlight about nature's beauty based on his observations about hardships in life.
  • Wrote two novels and autobiographical works.
  • His best known novel is Autobiography of a Super-Tramp.
  • He died in 1940.

The Poem:


What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like stars at night.

No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this is if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare. 

What is the poem about?
  • Reminds us to take time to appreciate the beauty of nature.
  • However, if we are too busy with our daily life & worry too much, we forget to watch and admire nature’s beauty.
  • It is a sad life if we can’t find time to relax and appreciate the nature around us.

Teaching the poem:
Since this was the first week of school, I asked students about their holidays to get them to talk about their experience. At the same time, this activity also served as an ice-breaking session. I selected students at random while encouraging them to respond voluntarily. I asked questions like:
  1. Did you have a good holiday? or Did you enjoy your holidays?
  2. What did you do during the last school holidays?
  3. What do you like to do if you have free time?
  4. Why do you like to do such activity during your free time?

Then, I related students' responses with the poem. Most of my students told the class that they spent most of their holidays at home helping their parents, watching television and using facebook. One of my students replied that he loves camping. This is a good start to relate the discussion to the main topic by asking "Why do you love to camp?", etc. 

Most of my students spent the entire holidays at home, so I told them, 
"I'm going to take you on a journey around the world to see some beautiful scenery." 

They were ecstatic.

"Virtually, on my computer," I continued.

They sighed.

I showed the following video clip. I asked students to pay attention to the elements of nature that they could see from the clip.

After watching the video, I asked students some questions. For example:

  1. What are the elements of nature that you could see from the video clip? (For LEP students, you might want to give some examples of nature elements)
  2. If you are given a chance, would like to go to these places? Why?
  1. Ask the students to get into groups of four.
  2. Tell the students to write about the scene they like in the video clip and the reasons for their choice on an A4 paper.
  3. Get a representative from each group to read out their group's responses. LEP students can be asked to write sentences using the following sentence structure: "I like to see the .......... in the video clip because ........" [view their responses]

I related the discussion by telling students that they were going to learn a poem entitled "Leisure" by William Henry Davies. I asked students, "What do you understand by the word Leisure?" My students didn't have the slightest idea of what Leisure is. I explained the meaning to them.

is doing what you enjoy during your free time
like doing a hobby. You could relate the meaning of leisure to the previous discussion about how they spent their holidays.

Now that they have understood the meaning of Leisure, I told them that we were going to recite the poem. Normally, I would recite the poem first. This is to enable students to hear how words in the poem are pronounced and how a poem can be recited. I like to recite poem with a background music. Here's my background music:

Next, I asked students to recite the poem as a whole class. Here's their background music:

After reciting the poem, we discussed some difficult/unfamiliar words from the poem such as:

  1. beneath - under
  2. boughs - tree branches
  3. daylight - daytime
  4. glance - look quickly
  5. stare - look long and hard
  6. enrich - improve
  7. till - until

Then, get students to state the elements of nature from the poem. For example:

  • boughs
  • sheep
  • cows
  • woods
  • squirrels
  • nuts
  • grass
  • daylight
  • stars
  • night
At the end of the lesson, teacher could ask what have students learnt from today's lesson.

End of Lesson 1. [Go to Lesson 2]


  1. Anita Lim (2010). A Collection of Poems, Short Stories and Drama Form 1-3, Penerbit Ilmu Bakti Sdn Bhd, 41
  2. Form 3 Poetry Leisure Module (2011), Curriculum Development Division. Ministry of Education Malaysia 2011.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing Nuha. May Allah bless you. You are a passionate teacher...and I pray that you will never lose that passion.

Anonymous said...


Teacher Nuha said...

Dear Anonymous 1:31, thanks for the du'a. May Allah bless you too.

Anonymous 2:54, could you please tell me which part that needs more explanation?

Reen said...

teacher nuha! :) i''m a tesl student and i found out this blog when i was googling for my assignment and i fell in love with ur blog! so informative! tq teacher! >.< ur blog is my favorite reference! awesome !:D

Teacher Nuha said...

hi Reen! thanks for the comment :)

Anonymous said...

My students today enjoyed the lesson on Leisure. Thank you very much for ur wonderful ideas. Keep up your good work. May Allah SWT showered you with all the victory in your teaching career.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your effort! Really help me a lot!!

- Sarawakian -

Teacher Nuha said...

You're welcome! Happy learning :)

Anonymous said...

i like this poem it make me cofident to answer the question....:)

-azreen rantau-

Teacher Nuha said...

Dear Azreen, I agree. Leisure is a beautiful poem :)

Anonymous said...

Wow , you're really a dedicated English teacher. Thanks , this blog helps me a LOT ^^ . Explore English !

Teacher Nuha said...

Hi Anonymous, thanks for dropping by ^_^

Anonymous said...

Hi teacher nuha...thankssss a lot...ur blog making my life easier n brighter...i hav been searching for quite some time for teaching materials when i accidentally clicking on ur blog...marvelous n inspiring...i will absolutely b one of your biggest fan...


Teacher Nuha said...

Hi Gracie, thanks for visiting my blog.. your comment brightens my day too.. thanks again :)

farah l said...

hai Cik Nuha..Thumbs up dear,,very nice info... somtime i put here the materials for my students...

Anonymous said...

Hi Teacher Nuha, this is just great for my lesson plan. Thanks

Anonymous said...

thank you teacher nuha. u really inspired me.may Allah bless u for what u hv done. amiin

michele said...

teacher nuha, tqvm for yr kindness in sharing, may god bless u

Teacher Nuha said...

Thank you farah, Anonymous January 10, 2013 at 12:49 AM, Anonymous January 12, 2013 at 11:40 PM and michele. May God bless all of you too.

Teacher Nuha said...

Alhamdulillah, thank you God, if I have inspired you :)

Anonymous said...

thank you very much..

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for your creativity in teaching English. You've inspired me to work harder for my students.

Anonymous said...

Hey I think its great ! :) god bless u and since im a student so I don't think that it is important to tell us as a student how you teach your students but overall its a good job !:) thanks teacher

Teacher Nuha said...

Hi Anonymous 6:02 PM, thanks. I hope that both students and teachers could benefit from this post. :)

Anonymous said...

'No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began'
Question : What does the poet mean by these lines ?

Teacher Nuha said...

Dear Anonymous 12:48 PM,

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
(her refers to both 'a woman and 'Nature')

The lines mean,
We do not have time to watch the beauty of nature.
Nature is beautiful like a woman's smile.
A smile starts from the eyes and spreads slowly to the mouth.

Hope I've helped.

Nurul Syafiqa said...

Teacher,ni maybe takde kaitan but really confused about grammar.

His first poems were published when he was 34 years old.

I thought my teacher said like this, when ada was kat depan,ayat yang belakang pun kena guna was.

But refers to the sentence,why you used "Were?" I hope you can help me!

Thanks! May Allah bless you.

Farah Aiman said...

Dear Teacher Nuha,

I stumbled upon your blog as I was researching some stuff for my assignment. I've been assigned to write down a lesson plan for the poem "Leisure," and I was referred to your blog by google. You have such beautiful ideas, thank you so much for sharing them with the world. May Allah bless you, and your beautiful soul.

Love always.

Anonymous said...

dear Nuha!
i m an English language teacher and taking secondary was so lovely to read your blog... i ve to start off this poem next week.. but ur links are not visible..i mean video clips and background music???

Anonymous said...

teacher nuha do u teach other subject then BI?

Teacher Nuha said...

Hi. No, I just teach English.

Nur Syafika Anuar said...

dkt mnmew maksud dia

Anonymous said...

Teacher can you help me my teacher ask me to make a conclusiom from brain is stuck. Can you help me to answer this question?

Anonymous said...

i love nature

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naven said...

will tis year leisure or i wonder came out tis coming chance

Anonymous said...

can you pls explain more? like the values?or question ?

Santhana Letchumi said...

A good reference for students like me it is ! Thank u so much <3

Unknown said...

I already taught the poem before I stumble here. Very unlucky. No worry though. will use the approaches next year. Just that i am not sure how to retrieve the videos. creative you are.

Priya said...

Nicely posted.

Lynnette said...

to sum up in 1 word : GREAT

Unknown said...

What does the title of poem signifies?? Plzz give answer

Ishtiaq Ahmad said...

What does the title of poem signifies?? Plzz give answer

Earn Staying Home said...

Nice post.

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