Spot The Difference: Storm on The Island

saltwell_150316_470x353.jpgSpot the difference can be used with any poem to highlight a particular device being used and its effect. In this case, Heaney’s poem employs enjambement – I’ve found that students struggle to make sophisticated comments about the effect of enjambement. Here is the file for a document which has two versions of the poem. One is the original and the other does not show Heaney’s use of enjambement:


 Get students working in pairs and answering questions such as:

  • What are the differences?
  • What’s the effect of these differences?
  • Which do you think is the original version of the poem? Why?
  • What linguistic devices are being used? What’s the effect?

The aim is that students will notice the difference and begin to evaluate the use of enjambement in Heaney’s original version; pushing them towards the higher order thinking skills of evaluation: judging, giving an opinion etc . Hopefully they will begin to see that the very act of moving your eyes from the end of one line to the beginning of the next draws attention to that first word or words. If you compare version A and version B you can see how the use of enjambement can impact upon the meaning and effectiveness of the poem. This activity could be used as a starter to a lesson on poetry that’s not even about Heaney but in which you want students to understand the effect of enjambement. Alternatively you could use spot the difference with another poem in the same way.


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