And My Heart Soars

(Submitted by Heidi Wood – SD 41 Burnaby)

Poem: And My Heart Soars
Poet: Chief Dan George

Learning Outcomes
Students will:

  • Listen critically to understand and analyse ideas and information, by making inferences and drawing conclusions; interpreting the speaker’s verbal and nonverbal messages, purposes and perspectives.
  • Read fluently and demonstrate comprehension and interpretation, including: poetry in a variety of forms, stories from Aboriginal and other cultures.
  • Select and use various strategies during reading and viewing to construct, monitor, and confirm meaning, including: making connections, visualizing, determine the importance of ideas/events and reading selectively.
  • Create meaningful visual representations for a variety of purposes and audiences that communicate a personal response, information, and ideas relevant to the topic.

Goal of the Lessons

  1. To allow the student to explore what is significant and important in their lives through text and visual representation.
  2. To build social responsibility through the use of the “Circle of Courage”

Activate Prior Knowledge

Question using Georgia Heard’s “Poet’s Toolbox”

Review the four directions of the “Circle of Courage” (Dr. Martin Brokenleg , Larry Brendtro, Steve van Bockern)


Teachers ask students to consider the following questions while completing the poetry writing/reading tasks below:

Why is the natural world important?
What senses can we use to describe nature?

To improve student awareness/understanding, teachers may conduct a KWL on climate and environment.


Before Reading

Complete the cloze poem activity.
– Share/discuss student word choices

During Reading

  • Read the original poem My Heart Soars
  • Take turns reading the original in pairs/two voices/round/etc.

Use a double entry journal page, on one half create a list of the adjectives, adverbs, nouns, verbs, etc. in the poem, on the other half create a list of the images using the five senses.

Beauty Sight
Trees Sight, smell, touch
Softness touch
Fragrance Smell, taste

Discuss what tools are being used.

What is the structure of the poem and how does it affect the rhythm of voice when it is being read aloud?

After Reading

Scramble the word lists from the double journal entry.  Using these words, create a poem that reaches the same senses as “My Heart Soars”.

Do not repeat any of the same lines, or words in the same order.

Maintain the flow of the poem by using the same structure and form.

Illustrate what you are trying to say.


I like to follow this poem up with some short stories that help promote ideas around our role in nature and the environment.

  • The Elders are Watching
  • And Still the Turtle Watched

Demonstrate Understanding

Word Scramble Poetry and Illustration – set the criteria with the students.

For example:

  • Has four stanzas plus a line
  • Repeats a common phrase/line at least three times
  • Uses 75% of the words from the original poem
  • Picture reflects the images and senses of the poem

(See Example and Pictures of student work)

Reflect on Learning

  • Continue with the KWL and complete the L (what have I learned)
  • Visual Journal activity that shows connections with ideas

Extended Learning Activities

Using the questions in the activity from Georgia Heard’s,  Awakening the Heart, create a map of the heart (samples included).

Have student create and fill in their own Circle of Courage using ideas from their heart map.