Maybe my most important identity is being a son
by Raymond Antrobus
Photo by Suki Dhanda
Workshop Title: Maybe
Say, “Describe your mom, guardian, or other parental figure. What are they like? Try to provide as many details as you can.” Then give your students time to discuss.
Read “Maybe my most important identity is being a son” by Raymond Antrobus. When you’re done, briefly discuss the speaker’s characterization of his mother. What is she like? What is his relationship to her?
Ask your students, “Come up with a list of adjectives – and only adjectives – that describe your mother, guardian, or other parental. Try to provide as many different adjectives as you can that capture the true complexity of this person.” Then give them a few minutes to brainstorm.
Have your students to compose a poem similar in sentiment to “Maybe my most important identity is being a son” by Raymond Antrobus in which they describe their thoughts, feelings, and attitude toward their mother, guardian, or other parental figure.
When the students are done, have them share their responses with one another.
Area of Focus: Diction
If your students are not familiar with the concept of “diction,” go through the introductory lesson.
Start by asking your students to describe their mother or guardian with one – and only one – word. Then use a thesaurus and choose a synonym for that word (a synonym that doesn’t hold the same connotation, in your opinion). Ask your student if the synonym works just as well in describing their parental as the word they originally gave. Then ask why it doesn’t.
Read “Maybe my most important identity is being a son” by Raymond Antrobus. As you’re reading, ask your students to pay attention to the specific words the speaker uses to describe his mother. When you’re done, briefly discuss.
Ask your students to open the following document and go over the instructions with them. In this assignment, your students are going to use a “Word Spinner” with the poem, then discuss how the new, translated version is less effective than the original. Then give your students time to work.
When your students are done, have them share their words/replacements with the rest of the class. Rather than simply having each group discuss the difference in effect between the two words (the original one and its replacement), have the class try to determine why the replacement word loses some of the emotional heft or meaning of the first word.
- Children / Youth
- Disability Themes
- Home / Homelessness
- Figurative Language
- Selection of Detail