“Tradition Poems: Cats, Fishing, Baseball & Birthdays ~ Oral Communication of Multicultural-American Poems for Pronunciation Improvement," written by Norma Landa Flores is a 17 page collection of 4 multicultural poems focusing on the pronunciation of specific consonants. Each poem is followed by three multiple choice questions which students answer and discuss, while sharing opinions & values about their answers, with each other in class. Look for it @teacherspayteachers.com and search for the Norma Flores Oral Communication lessons store.
The four poems, on pages 3-11, are as follows, “Sayonara, Samurai,” focusing on [ s & z ] words ~ “Questioning the Shaman’s Power,” focusing on [ ʃ & ʒ ] words ~ “ Baseball Head Scratcher,” focusing on [ tʃ & dʒ ] words and ~ “Cathy Matthews Birthday Wish,” focusing on [θ & ð ] words. At the bottom of each poem’s page, specific instructions of how to articulate the target sounds are provided, along with a sentence for the student to read aloud and be assessed by a classmate as to appropriate pronunciation competency ranging from:
___ 3 = Excellent ___ 2 = Good ___1+ Risky
to ___0 = Dangerous.
All of the 4 poems are followed by a Consonant Articulation Assessment form on page 11, that students use in groups of two, taking turns listening to each other pronounce sentences featuring the targeted consonant sounds. On Page 12, the ACCESS, Assessment of Communication Competence and English Speaking Skills form allows students to read the sentences a second time and evaluate themselves on the observable communication behaviors of: eye contact, audibility, pronunciation, grammar, emphasis & communication of message function & intention.
Page 13 provides the Contexts & Standards-Based Criteria for Assessing Functional Consonant Articulation form showing possible ratings of: 100/90%= Excellent 80%= Very Good 70%=Good 60%= Risky 50%=Poor 40%=Dangerous, practice some more! Instructions for facilitating this student oral activity are listed in the Appendix on pages 14- 17.
All of the 4 poems and forms are illustrated with appropriate click art providing speakers with visual clues to the situations and the relationships of the persons featured in the poems. The language is suitable for 4th to 7th grades plus Adult ESL and may even be useful for staff & teacher preparation programs where children’s oral communication instructional methods are studied ( i.e. Story Telling and Children’s Reader’s Theatre.)
All in all “Tradition Poems: Cats, Fishing, Baseball & Birthdays ~ Oral Communication of Multicultural-American Poems for Pronunciation Improvement" by Norma Landa Flores, is a pleasure to read, orally, in the classroom as it shares traditional ways of showing respect for family, cultural, international & personal beliefs, values and critical thinking attitudes that make young people and recent immigrants proud and happy to live in America where everyone can have freedom to observe their own customs & traditions. It makes the language arts class a respectful experience for the teacher too!