Antonyms & Poetry: Exploring the Flipsides of Me

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Lesson Introduction: 

Understanding ourselves and realizing our strengths and weaknesses is an important life skill to teach our students. What better way to do that than to explore and be inspired by Sheree Fitch’s poem entitled “Sometimes”? This unit could be a great introduction to poetry at the beginning of the year. This time is usually spent with activities that enable the class to get to know each other. The students have the opportunity to express who they are and to reflect on their identity through poetry. By working with antonyms, students are able to discover the different sides of themselves. It’s a great way for students to realize their similarities and differences. This lesson also involves getting students to recite their poems. It can be a powerful tool to use poetry to initiate discussions on how each member of the class brings his or her own unique set of passions, strengths and weaknesses.

You may find the poem in Sheree Fitch's anthology of poems entitled If I Had a Million Onions. You may find more information on Sheree Fitch on her website. She is an inspiring author who has written many children's poems and books. As an extension to this unit, be sure to explore her other books (for example, If You Could Wear My Sneakers) with your students. Below is her poem entitled “Sometimes”.

Sometimes
Sometimes I’m selfish
Sometimes I’m not
Sometimes I’d give away
All that I’ve got

Sometimes I’m kind
Sometimes I’m cruel
Sometimes I’m clever
Sometimes a fool

Sometimes I know.
Sometimes I don’t.
Sometimes I answer.
Sometimes I won’t.

Sometimes I try.
Sometimes I’m lazy.
Sometimes I’m sometimes.
A little bit crazy.

Sometimes I’m quiet.
Sometimes I’m loud.
Sometimes I’m guilty.
Sometimes I’m proud.

Sometimes I’m frightened.
Sometimes courageous.
Sometimes I’m healthy.
Sometimes contagious.

Sometimes I’m dirty.
Sometimes I’m clean.
Sometimes I’m living
Somewhere in between.

These are my sometimes.
But most times? I’m Me!
All the time wondering
Who will I be.

Learning Objectives: 

In this lesson, students will have an opportunity to:

  • Read, discuss, and respond to poems.
  • Visualize and reflect on elements of their own identities to better understand poetry.
  • Come up with a list of antonyms or opposite traits that describe who they are.
  • Write a poem that follows the structure of Sheree Fitch’s poem.
Materials and Resources: 

To teach this lesson, you will need:

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Poetry In Voice is a charitable organization that encourages Canadian students to fall in love with poetry through reading, writing, and recitation. All of our resources are available online for free. You may also use our resources if you reside outside of Canada.