Witchy says: "The teacher will give students hand-outs of the text and they will read and enjoy it silently. Then the reading and writing activities will start, as usual".

If for just one moment
God could forget
I’m only a straw puppet
And gave a piece of life
to me
Probably I wouldn’t say
All the things I think
But, eventually,
I would think
and mean
All the things I say.
And I would consider them important
Not because of their price
But for what they mean...

1st activity: lexicon

  1. Tick the adjectives you would choose to describe the girl who wrote this poem
hopeless   self-important  
ineffective   timid  
vain   bashful  
conceited   repressed  
self-confident   gifted  
proud   anxious  
reserved   intelligent  
withdrawn   self-doubting  
inhibited   intellectual  
smart   self-assuming  
introverted   insecure  
bright   thoughtful  
arrogant   reflective  
shy   superficial  

2nd activity: visualization and creative writing

Students try to imagine the girl who wrote this poem. The teacher helps them by asking questions and students write down notes. At the end they make up a complete description of the poetress, according to their own views. (Witchy's note: "If you want to know what the girl is actually like, just send me an e-mail and I can even put you in contact with her. You'll make her happy!")

  • How old is she?
  • Is she slim or fat or just average?
  • Is she tall or short or average size?
  • Has she got a lot of friends?
  • What does she do in her free time?
  • Does she look happy, sad, depressed or just thoughtful?
  • Does she like playing football?
  • Does she play a musical instrument? Which one?
  • Does she get good marks at school?
  • Are her parents sensitive to her problems or cold and careless?
  • Does she have plans for the future?
  • What does she want to become as an adult? An engineer? A doctor? A teacher? An actress? Or a housewife?
  • ....

3rd activity: read this paragraph about teenagers:

How do young people see themselves at puberty?

Most teenagers are unsatisfied with their bodies. At this age it seldom happens that children like their physical aspect and then, inevitably, they end by feeling unsure and shy.

Boys have a queer shrilly voice and girl often suffer from acne and pimples and this obviously does not help. To make things worse they generally do not trust doctors and every effort made by their parents in this direction is ineffectual.

Puberty is a crucial age which marks the passage from childhood into sexual maturity. The signs of changes are evident both in boys and girls: girls develop breasts and boys grow hair on their faces.

Teenagers’ strongest desire is to look like their peers, so girls are unhappy if they have got their periods before their friends or if they have not had them yet. The same happens if they are the first or the last ones to develop breasts.

Teenagers: children or adults?

Puberty is a critical difficult period for all kids: their feelings continually shift between the wish to remain protected by their parents and under their control, as it was a short time ago when they still were children, and the aspiration of becoming autonomous adults in the shortest possible time.

Self-confidence is at risk at any time during puberty but it can be strengthened by closeness with friends. It is not surprising if they need to imitate their friends’ behaviour with the purpose of being accepted by the group.

In this period of life the child begins to appreciate freedom but this does not mean that parents’ support is of no value. Parents are a sort of nest where children can find safeness and tranquility but also the self-assurance which will help them to find the courage to fly out and eventually experience the whole world.

Written by nurse Hazel the Witch on the basis of her experiences as a mother of two sons, still in the teenage age, and as a teacher of about 1 thousand five hundred high school students, prevalently males.
(please, respect copyrights!) ;-))

4th activity: A public discussion:

Witchy says to students: "You don't have to feel obliged to tell your problems to the class. You only have to underline the problems regarding yourself. Talk of them to your friends only if you feel like that".

Say to your deskmate first and, then, take turns and say to the class, if you like, which of the problems highlighted by the author of the text truly regard teenagers; which ones are the most serious and which ones can be easily coped with. Example: "The most serious problem is having acne and pimples. I think developing breasts is not really a problem".

5th activity: What can we do about it?

Witchy says: "Certainly, there must be sensible ways to cope with all the horrors and tragedies of teenage... why don't we start a discussion about it? I propose a bit of brain storming, just for a start".

1st step:

In groups (from three to five) say whatever comes into your mind which can be useful to get out of sh... shame, sorry ;-))! Discussions shouldn't be cahotic if you set rules before starting to speak. Rules are:

  1. Everybody has a chance for speaking
  2. respect each other's speaking turns
  3. it's forbidden to laugh at any proposal, even the strangest one
  4. if you don't feel like speaking now you can speak later
  5. you can't speak for longer than... let's say... two minutes
  6. all things said must be written down by a secretary
  7. conversation must be held in ENGLISH!!!

Here are some useful suggestions:

  • I can visit a doctor or a psychologist
  • I can ask friends for help
  • buy a new dress
  • study harder
  • go to the cinema
  • be on a diet
  • watch tv
  • enjoy myself
  • find a boyfriend (girlfriend)
  • use drugs (Witchy's comment: "this proposal will be the first one to be wiped out!)
  • take medicines
  • attend yoga classes
  • robbing a bank
  • winning the lottery
  • etc.

    2nd step:

The secretary reads all the proposals and subdivides them into two categories: long-term and short term strategies. The group discusses (same rules as before...) whether it is better to maintain a short-term strategy or a long-term one and, on this basis, the first unrealistic proposals may be cancelled.

Useful suggestions for conversation:

  • In my opinion it's better to...
  • I'm really convinced that...
  • No, I don't agree at all!
  • I think it's better to...
  • What you say it's absurd!
  • Perhaps it would be more sensible to...
  • If I can express my idea maybe the best thing to do do is to...
  • I totally disagree with you
  • You're out of your mind!
  • You're talking bullshit!

    3rd step:

Finally each group member writes a report and the best one will be read aloud to the rest of the class. All the conclusions are to be written on a big poster which will be hung on the classroom walls.

Love from

P.S. Hi kids! Don't complain too much about your teenage problems: you don't know what is going to happen afterwards...

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