Class 4 Main Lessons

silouette drawing of howling wolf

Norse mythology Human and Animal  Geography 
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Norse Mythology - Alliteration

[Ancient Norse verse didn't rhyme with the end-rhyme we are familiar with.   Rather it used the sound at the beginning of the word, or alliteration.   This was predominantly consonantal, e.g. 'girt with gold' (where the 'g's alliterate) or 'beautiful, brave and bold' (the 'b's rhyme).   This gives the verse a strong will character.   Any vowels at the beginning of a word were said to alliterate,  i.e. they did not have to be the same vowel.  So, for example, 'insolent, agile and evil' alliterate because they all begin with a vowel sound.   In German, alliteration is called Stabreim or 'staff-rhyme', and a nice exercises is to have the children hold wooden staves and stamp them on the ground with each alliteration.   Apart from adding some impressive  percussion to the speech, the children need to be very awake to stamp the staff in the right place as the alliteration in, for example, the Edda, constantly moves  from line to line.   In the first line of the Edda below, the staves would stamp on earliest and  Ymir (because vowels alliterate).   In line two the staves stamp on  sea and salty.   In line three on earth and upper (vowels).  In line four there is a double alliteration, so the staffs stamp on gaping and green and also on nothing and nowhere - a real challenge to wakefulness!   In line five the stamps are on land, lifted and -loft.   In the sixth line, made, Midgard and matchless.   And so on.]

From The Edda


                       3 - 6
In earliest times     did Ymir live:
was nor sea nor land     nor salty waves,
neither earth was there     nor upper heaven,
but a gaping nothing,     and green things nowhere.
Was the land then lifted     aloft by Bur’s sons
who made Midgard,     the matchless earth;
shone from the south     the sun on dry land,
on the ground then grew     the greensward soft.
From the south the sun,     by the side of the moon,
heaved his right hand     over heaven’s rim;
the sun knew not     what seat he had,
the stars knew not      what stead they held,
the moon knew not     what might she had.
Then gathered together     the gods for counsel,
the holy hosts,     and held converse;
to night and new moon     their names they gave,
the morning named,     and midday also,
forenoon and evening,     to order the year.
  17 - 18  [Creation of Man and Woman]

 To the coast then came,    kind and mighty,
from the gathered gods   three great Aesir;
on the land they found,   of little strength,
Ask and Embla,   unfated yet.
Sense they possessed not,   soul they had not,
being nor bearing,   nor blooming hue;
soul gave Odin,   sense gave Honir,
being Lodur,   and blooming hue.
             19 - 20 [The Norns]

An ash there was,   called Yggdrassil,
the mighty tree   moist with white dews;
thence come the floods   that fall adown;
evergreen o’ertops   Urd’s well this tree.
Then wise maidens   three betake them
under spreading boughs   their bower stands -
Urd one is hight,   the other Verdandi,
Skuld the third:     they scores did cut,
they laws did make,   they lives did choose:
for the children of men    they marked their fates.


From:  First Lay of Helgi the Hunding-Slayer
‘Twas in olden times,   as eagles screamed
and holy steams flowed from the Heaven’s Fells,
when in Braland Borghild   bore to the world
a hero high-hearted,   Helgi by name.
At night in hall   the norns did come,
to the lord they allotted   his life and fate:
to him awarded   under welkin most fame,
under heaven to be   among heroes first.
His fate-thread spun they   to o’erspread the world,
for Borghild’s bairn   in Braland castle;
they gathered together   the golden threads
and in moon-halls middle   they made them fast.

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Human and Animal

            Praying Mantis
Mantis sits on the branch of a tree,
Still as an old dead twig is he.
His legs held together as though in prayer,
His pin-prick eyes are fixed in a stare. 
Fly buzzes past, suspicious and quick.
Mantis is still as a dry withered stick,
But inside he’s alert, with a clear focused thought...
And SNAP! go his legs  -  and the fly is caught. 

Paul King

        Eagle, Lion and Bull
The far-sighted eagle glides high in the air;
The roar of the lion tells all to beware;
The might of the oxen, patient and strong,
Pulls for the farmer the bright plough along.
With the wings of the eagle my clear thoughts can fly,
With the heart of a lion my fears I’ll defy;
With the strength of the plough-ox my deeds I’ll fulfill -
And love, too, I’ll bring to thought, heart, and will.

Paul King

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[This will of course have to be adapted to your local situation.]

            Where am I?
In the hand of God is the Universe,
In the Universe is our galaxy,
In our galaxy is the Solar System,
In the Solar System is the Earth,
On Earth is the continent of Africa,
In Africa is the country of South Africa,
In South Africa is the province of the Western Cape,
In the Western Cape is the city of Cape Town,
In Cape Town is the suburb of Kenilworth,
In the suburb of Kenilworth is Marlowe Road,
In Marlowe Road is Michael Oak School,
In Michael Oak is Class Four,
In Class Four are rows of desks,
In one of those rows is my desk,
Here I sit.
Here I sit
    at my desk
       in one of the rows
          in Class 4
             in Michael Oak
                in Kenilworth
                   in Cape Town,
                      in the Western Cape
                         in South Africa
                            in Africa
                               on Earth
                                  in the Solar System
                                     in the galaxy
                                        in the universe
                                           in the hand of God.


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