Herz-Jesu Institut, Mühlbach, North Italy

Book created by 6th – 8th graders

Poetry and artwork HJI

Multilingual poetry and artwork

Project participants:

  • Secondary school Herz Jesu Institut Rio di Pusteria / Mühlbach, Italy
  • 150 students aged (11 to 13) from Grade 6 to Grade 8

This multilingual poetry and artwork book is a selection of poems written by 150 students aged 11 to 13 from the secondary school Herz Jesu Institut in Rio di Pusteria /Mühlbach in the north of Italy. The school consists of two classrooms of 6th graders, two classrooms of 7th graders and three classrooms of 8th graders. All students were involved in the “Our Planet Festival 2022” project and contributed with their creativity and multilingual repertoire to the outcome of this project.

The artwork and poetry units were integrated into the art lessons led by the art teacher Daniela Terragnolo and the English lessons led by the English teacher Elfi Troi assisted by Harrison Anthony Honan, over a period of three weeks (November 2021). Right at the beginning of the poetry and artwork units, the learning objectives were identified and explained to the learners. The students knew what expectations they had to meet by the end of each unit. Students were engaged in various preparatory activities which included brainstorming ideas on the theme of “our planet” and doing research on environmental issues. According to the students’ first language and level of English the learners became familiar with different forms of poetry and artwork which had been introduced in the English lessons. Examples and models of the different poems were provided in order to assist the learners in their creative working.

The 6th graders in class 1A wrote acrostic poems in their L1 (German, Italian or Ladin) with single words or short sentences. These acrostic poems were translated into English. Some students also drew pictures to visually support their short texts.

Class 1B got inspired by a bird cage which had been introduced in the Art lesson. They created a picture about the future of our planet and added a short message in English and German.

In both classes there are several multilingual students, so together they listed key words related to “our planet” in a multilingual table which helped them to translate the short poems and messages:

Umweltambienteenvironmentambiëntmjediszivotné prostredie

We use these multilingual word lists for intercomprehension activities, peer teaching and language investigation by spotting similarities and differences between languages. They also come in handy for translation exercises.

In the art lesson, the 7th graders in class 2A drew a mutation of trees in the future. Based on their abstract and futuristic pictures, they wrote poems in their L1 (German or Italian) and translated them into English. Two students also chose to write a short poem in Polish and Spanish with the support of their families.

In class 2B the students focused on elevenie poems. They consist of eleven words of five lines with one, two, three, four and one words. Each line builds up on a final message.

The 8th graders worked on multilingual calligrams (shaped poems), English poems with translation into their L1 (German or Ladin) and bi- or trilingual blackout poetry in English, German and Italian. The artwork was a result of the poem they had written.

In the first step, the learners worked individually on their poem and picture. In the second step, they shared their artistic products with their classmates. Afterwards, the teachers corrected their poems and then the students wrote a final version of the poems and added the artwork.

Several poems and pictures were selected to represent the seven classes of the school. The poems and pictures were uploaded on the Book Creator App. In the last step, the poems were recorded by the learners. They read the poems in their L1, L2, L3 and L4.

The aim of the book is to give the audience an idea of the sound and melody of some of the languages that are spoken in our area and to give the learners an opportunity to convey an important message to the world through art and poetry.

Teacher: Elfi Troi