“Let yourself become living poetry” – Rumi
Two weeks ago the 6th and 7th graders dove into the study of the Islamic Golden Age. After an introduction week, we started our rotation schedule last week. The 6A students in my class focused on poetry, Rumi’s poetry in particular. Rumi – Shakespeare of the East, poet of love and joy – does probably not need any further introduction.
We started every Thematics lesson with a mindfulness activity. The ‘Big Four’ of intellectual (poem analysis), kinaesthetic (relay racer and dance), artistic (meditation/ecstatic dance, poem illustration), and interpersonal learning (collaboration in several ways) came in to play in our lessons. We also tried to focus on inquiry based learning and thinking about questions like:
How did Rumi write his poetry; what happened to his body and mind?
What does Rumi’s poetry teach us about Eastern philosophy of his time?
What can we, in today’s world, learn from Rumi’s poetry?
Are the teachings of Rumi ecumenical in nature?
In our first lesson students experienced the way Rumi wrote his poetry themselves. While spinning their own bodies, and getting dizzy after less than half a minute J, students found out that to Rumi this Sufi whirling was a form of physically active meditation that enabled him to write his poetry. In a relay-race on the small field a first Rumi poem was constructed line by line and analyzed after.
In our next lessons we watched part of Rumi’s Animated Biography to learn more about for example the Mongol invasion of Asia in the 1200s, Rumi’s encounter with Shams Tabrizi and how these events influenced Rumi’s life. Students also did other exercises to get a bit closer to what Rumi had to do with the ‘ tools’ he had as a poet (blank page, internal voice, rhythm, words) and to gain a better understanding of Rumi’s view of the world. Of course we also listened to Coleman Barks reading Rumi’s poetry, accompanied by wonderful music. Just beautiful..
Finally we had a mini Poetry Slam in which each student chose a poem by Rumi and read it to all classmates. Students gave feedback on each other by sharing scores on clarity, speaking rate, meaning and voice. This mini Poetry Slam was meant as a preparation for our Medieval Banquet (27th Nov.) and our Middle School Assembly 11th Dec.) where we’ll have some students reading Rumi poetry too.
So dear parents, please come, see and listen to our talented students at their Medieval Banquet.