Ten more random ideas for teaching the Owl and The Pussycat poem in your classroom … a random selection as various Newquay Zoo staff came up with these whilst eating our lunch. (No runcible spoons, mice or quince included.)
If you’d like to share your ideas for teaching the Owl and the Pussycat , add them to the comments section at the bottom of each post and we’ll upload these (after moderation).
No 1. Show us your groovy moves!
In the poem the Owl and the Pussycat “danced by the light of the moon” (the moon, the moon) – but how did they dance? Remember this is a wedding dance, so rhythmless dad-dancing is possible! Did the Owl and the Pussycat, the Turkey and the Pig dance differently? Can you show their character through their dance?
No. 2 Owl Heads and Pussycat Tails –
Print out the words of the poem or first verse and cut each line in half then give a set to each small group to reassemble the poem (or just Jumblie up and rearrange this).
No. 3 Blankety Blank verse or Conse-quince-s …
Print out the poem with some, alternate or all key rhyming words missing or blanked out and see if the group can work out what the missing words should be … you can always put the missing words in a jumble at the bottom of the sheet / page if you want to be helpful. Blanked out words with alternative words of their own are always an amusing variation …
No. 4 Round and round the Owl and Pussycat …
What happens when you sing this as a round, one group starting a few lines after the other? (Chaos probably).
No. 5 Wordsearch Owl or Crossword Puzzlecat
Pick out your favourite nonsense words and type them into a wordsearch or crossword puzzle making programme (there are loads to download on the Web). Alternatively let your spellchecker suggest changes to the ‘odd’ Lear nonsense words in the poem, and let your computer or group adopt these other strange or more sensible ones …
No. 6 “And sang to a small guitar” … musical versions?
Edward Lear often made up and published his own music to accompany his songs, and sang them to people at gatherings. (People’s opinion of his talent and singing voice varied). Many people from Stravinsky to Katy Perry have set Lear’s Owl and Pussycat words to music (see the bompa.org webiste which will play them to you). Listen to these, talk about your favourites and get each group to vote / make up a top five Owl and Pussycat Pop chart.
No. 7 More music – Bong! Ring! (a ding-ding)
“Small guitar” aside, there are lots of possibilities in setting this to music or choral speaking for percussion and mouth sounds from the Bong tree, to the ‘ring’ at the end of his nose, the sounds of the sea …
No. 8 Put it on (cardboard) TV
Did you used to make your own TV programmes as a child using a box and long strips of paper as a child? Make yourself / your group its own TV out of a shoebox or bigger box. Cut out the screen front panel. Insert two large kitchen roll tubes or dowel rods either side of the ‘screen’. Don’t forget to draw on the control knobs to make it look like a TV etc.
Draw or illustrate the poem on a long roll / sheet of paper or several sheets of paper stuck together). Sing or say the poem as you turn the tubes or rods to pass the pictures past the screen.
It helped pass the time on many a wet day in the 1970s … when Lootube came before Youtube.
No. 9 Owl and Pussycat Bayeux Tapestry style?
1066 and all that! Amongst your group tell the story of the Owl and the Pussycat with embroidered textile, painted or drawn panels, like the Bayeux Tapestry (depending how much time you have) with the text words at the top or bottom. It would make a good class mural project for display …
No. 10 The Owl and The Pussycat’s “Purr-fect Day” version
Remember a charity version of Lou Reed’s Perfect Day song with one line each sung by various celebrities? When we talked to the London Zoo Education CREW about Owl and Pussycat Day, they wanted to apply this style to the Owl and the Pussycat as a video using a line each from lots of different zoo and keeper staff and then stick it on Youtube. Maybe they will.
It would be even funnier if each line was in a different language – see the bompa.org website for examples. If you have different first language speakers in your class, this would truly make it an ‘International‘ Owl and Pussycat Purrfect Day version …
That’s 10 daft ideas to be getting on with … but before we go, we have to mention Paul the Zoo Groundsman’s suggestion when I was telling the rest of my lunch table about the 120 translations of the poem on the bompa.org website. Paul was disappointed that it wasn’t in Morse Code (or Semaphore), so maybe you could add a Purrfect day line in Morse (or flag). (Thanks, Paul)
We worked out that if you transmitted the entire poem in Morse, there is a small risk that somewhere in the world, a Coastguard or Lifeboat station would pick it up and be put onto red alert, helicopters scrambled etc looking for a two small animals in a pea green boat sending out distress signals … Don’t blame us if this happens.
Someone else noted there’s no Makaton, BSL or other Sign Language version of this poem either yet on the bompa.org website. What is the BSL sign for Runcible Spoon?
Reminder / Think you can do dafter? If you’d like to share your ideas for teaching the Owl and the Pussycat , add them to the comments section at the bottom and we’ll upload these (after moderation). Alternately you can contact us via my zoo email – its mark.norris and that’s @newquayzoo.org.uk
We’d love to hear from you! Email would be better than Morse …