“Giving” by JR Poulter with Teacher Notes

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NOTES FOR “GIVING”
 
Christmas sees the shops decked decorous decorations and advertising urging everyone to spend, spend spend! It has become for many a self-centred and money driven season where oneupmanship is all too evident!
 
However, in its origin, it is a Christian celebration of God’s gift to mankind, a Saviour who put aside his divinity to become a human like us and ‘save us’ from our worst selves.
 
The poem draws attention to the plight of those for whom it might not be a happy, let alone a joyous season. For  homeless folk, the Christmas season is made even harder because it  highlights all they DO NOT have.
 
Activity: [1.] Make a list of the things you have at Christmas that a homeless person might not have.
[2.] Make a list of things that could be done in a practical way to make things better for a homeless person at Christmas.
 
Christmas is also a bad time for many animals, such as the stray in the poem.
More pets find themselves homeless at this time of year than any other.
Discussion: Why do you think this might be so? What could be done to try and prevent this situation?
 
Articles by the RSPCA identify summer holidays, our biggest holiday period, as also recording an increase in the number of pets ‘dumped’. 
 
The old stray in the poem, probably had a home once. 
Activity: Write a short story or poem about  how you think the ‘old stray’ might have become homeless.
OR, draw a comic strip illustrating the story of how the ‘old stray’ became homeless.
 
Research and Discussion: There are organisations that rescue  cats and dogs and other animals that become strays. Make a list of such organisations in your area. Find out  more about each of them. What do they have in common? How do they go about finding homes for  the animals they rescue? Find at least one story from each organisation that has a ‘happy ending’ for an animal they rescued. Share at least one of those stories with the class.
 
The poet adopted a rescue cat earlier this year. He is a black cat, aged between one year and 18 months, that was dumped in the bush at Millmeran. Fortunately, a local woman rescued him and he found his way to the animal rescue run by Yeronga Veterinary Clinic. That is where the poet found him and it was love at first site! He is the most companionable kitty and she can’t imagine being without her little furry friend!
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