At the playground

Language arts – here we come!

Welcome teachers, pupils, and parents to this page of literature-inspired enrichment activities brought to you by The Star's Newspaper-in-Education (Star-NiE) programme!

In the coming months, Star-NiE will feature poems and stories taken from the English language textbooks of Years 4,5 and 6.

Making a connection with literature through poetry and stories does more than just develop reading skills. It develops positive life-long reading habits and attitudes, and an interest in literature.

Making an early connection with literature develops and enriches your language in a holistic manner. It helps you process and express your thoughts and feelings in context – a necessary real-life skill, and since as children you love to imagine, literature based activities will nourish your imagination! We begin by connecting with poetry before we move on to stories.

So, stay on the page and enjoy learning how to communicate through activities that focus on six language arts skills: listening, talking, reading, writing, viewing, and visually representing.

At the playground

Psst! Teachers and parents... your attention please!

I am sure you’re aware that a language arts programme that is literature-based involves children in activities that motivate and stimulate them to respond.

Simply put, language arts teaches pupils the art of learning language through creative connections! Pupils develop more than the four Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing (LSRW) skills through added related components such as HOTS and visual literacy.

Also, through the range of activities, you will be able to identify and develop in your children the built-in five C skills of 21st century learning: critical thinking, creativity, communication, collaboration and character.

These skills will enable them to see and make literary connections that enhance their world knowledge (a Year 4 syllabus theme) and perspective of life to better appreciate their environment.

Poetry is an excellent resource and genre for language appreciation and acquisition when used in a playful, personal, and meaningful way.

Reading poems aloud can provide excellent practice in prosodic patterns such as stress and rhythm to help children produce clear utterances. You can design a variety of activities that allow children to use their personal experience to encourage meaningful communication in action.

That’s the beauty and bounty that results from teaching language via a framework of language arts!

The poem: At the Playground

When we went to the playground

I swung on the swings.

I slid on the slide,

I hung from the rings.

I raced over to Mum

for a kiss and a cuddle,

but as we were leaving,

I fell in a puddle!

Brian Moses

About this poem

Yes, many of us go to the playground – both young and old. Children, you go there to play; your family members and older people... if they accompany you, might go there for a walk, or just to sit and read, or watch you play, or chat with their friends. The best playgrounds are those that are suitable for both young and old. Well, since we all know something about playgrounds, let’s get started!

Activity A

Let’s talk about our experiences at the playground.

1. Since the pandemic, perhaps you have not been to the playground recently. So, tell your friend about your last playground experience. If you are still home-bound, you can speak about it on the phone or text each other about it. If in school, share with your class or in small groups.

2. Share with your friend why you like going to the playground and how often you used to go before the pandemic.

3. If you have been to different playgrounds, share which one you prefer and why.

Activity B

· Ways to read a poem

· What’s found in the playground?

1. Read the poem:

i. silently, to understand and connect it with your own playground experience.

ii. Read it aloud. Do you like how it sounds? Read again till it sounds good to you. Close your eye. How many lines or words from the poem spring to mind? Imagine pictures and actions to match those words.

ii) Read in a chorus with actions (if you are in class, with family, or even on a zoom platform). Never mind if not in unison, perfect chorus reading is not easy. Just have FUN!

2. Look at the poem again. Three names of playground equipment are mentioned. Underline or write them out as you say them out aloud. Which two names rhyme (the endings sound the same)?

3. Add to this list names of other playground equipment that you know of. Can you draw a picture of them from your playground as you remember them? This picture from The Star newspaper might help you

4. Now that you know what rhyming means, pick out other rhyming words that you can find in the poem.

Activity C

Let’s do some grrr... grammar work!

1. Are the events “At the Playground” happening now or have already happened? How do you know?

2. Alright, you know. So, here are two columns. From the poem pick out all the action words (verbs) that are in the past form and list them. Then, give their present forms.

3. Now, read the poem in pairs: You read line 1 as it appears; your friend reads it out in the present form.

4. Write out the poem using the present form. You now have two poems!

Activity D

Enrich your word power!

1. A playground can also be called a: r_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ n P _ _ _.

2. Places to throw your rubbish: t _ _ _ _ b _ _ s

3. Places for people to sit: b_ _ _ _ _ s

4. A path for cyclists: b _ _ _ t _ _ _ _

5. A path to run for exercise: _ _ _ g _ _ g _ _ _ _ k

NiE Activity

You are the child in this poem having fun at the playground.

This poem has eight lines. As you read line 2: “I swung on the swings”, how did you feel? Write the word to describe that feeling. Then look through The Star newspaper to search for a picture that shows your feeling. If possible, find also the word that describes that feeling.

Cut and paste in your NiE scrapbook (good idea to keep one!) If you find only a picture and not the word, just write the word below it. (Suggestion: for pictures that show feelings, check out the sport and comic pages too.)

To add interest, you may include emoticons that express the feelings you have named.

Do the same for other lines in the poem where you experience a particular feeling. Try to use a different adjective each time, even if the feeling is the same. Words that describe feelings are called...? Right. Adjectives. Examples: happy, joyful, miserable.

This lesson was written by Lucille Dass, Star-NiE freelance consultant trainer. The Star-NiE programme is endorsed by the Education Ministry. For more information, call The Star’s Customer Care Unit at 1-300- 88-7827 from Monday to Friday (9am-5pm) or email

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nie education , march 21 , 2021 , At the Playground


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