Friday, April 4, 2008

Poetry Folder

Poetry in an Elementary Classroom

Poetry is an important part of elementary classroom curriculum. I think that it needs to be incorporated in everyday classroom routine. It doesn’t have to be an enormous planned out activity everyday but instead just be casually added into the daily plan. I love the idea from Michael O. Tunnell and James S. Jacob’s book, Children’s Literature Briefly, that reminds us as teachers to use rhythmic and humorous verses to build appreciation for poetry before moving on to more artistic forms. We also discussed in class simply putting a poem on the board everyday and not necessarily pointing it out or reading it but allowing children to gravitate and observe it then choose what they will do with it next.

It’s too easy to turn students off to poetry. Endless worksheets about deciphering meaning and indentifying literary components suck the amusement right out of poetry. I, myself have been disengaged with poetry in school because it was boring and didn’t relate to anything in my life. Reading poetry that contained meaning and language that I was unable to comprehend at the time discouraged me from enjoying any poetry. The key to keeping poetry interesting and fun to a young audience is to select poetry for your classroom wisely. Because children love nursery rhymes experienced in early childhood and singing, teachers can use that as a clue for a starting off point. Keep poetry clever, humorous, and heavily rhymed then eventually begin to introduce them to other types of poetry. Another wonderful part of poetry is that it is personal. Too often I think teachers tell children directly or indirectly what is good poetry and what is not. Just like with books, children should choose what poems they like the best. It’s more important that they like and enjoy poetry than what kind or which poem they are finding joy in.

Poetry is an important literary form and in order to teach it to children in a way they will understand and build appreciation for, teachers have to remember to keep poetry light hearted and assessable for students.

“By Myself” by Eloise Greenfield

Greenfield, Eloise. Honey, I Love and Other Love Poems. Harper Trophy, 1986.

I picked this poem to be in my poetry folder because I like the message that can be derived by readers of self confidence and self worth. I would use this in a classroom by having students read this poem and then write their own poem about what they see when they close their eyes.

“Clouds Are Black” by Arnold Adoff

Adoff, Arnold and Jerry Pinkney. In for Winter, Out for Spring. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Publishers, 1991.

This poem made my poetry folder because it’s description of a thunderstorm. The personification of the clouds is great in this poem, for example, “their their bragging noise”. This would be a great example to begin a lesson about personification in language and literature. This poem could also be an introduction to a lesson about weather patterns and storms.

“Don’t Tell Me I Talk Too Much!” by Arnold Spilky

Spilky, Arnold. The Random Book of Poetry for Children. New York: Random House Inc: 1983.

I like this because children will relate to the defensiveness in response to being told they talk too much in the poem. Because this poem has quite a few exclamation points in it, a punctuation lesson can be taught from it.

“I Went to the Doctor” by Kenn Nesbitt

Nesbitt, Kenn. The Aliens Have Landed! Meadowbrook Press, 2001.

This poem made top 20 because it is formatted as a very short play and can be presented as a choral speaking activity. To use in a lesson, have the students break up into groups of two and perform the mini play together. Another way would be to divide the class into two groups and assign a part to each half of the class then act it out as an entire classroom.

“In Like A Lion, Out Like A Lamb” by Lorie Hill

Hill, Lorie. Spring poems and quotes. March 3, 2008.

This poem made my poetry folder because it is about the month of March and has a great AABB rhyming pattern. I would use this in a classroom at the beginning of the month of March to start a class discussion about future weather predictions for the month. We would predict the weather and maybe keep track of the temperature throughout the month to see if the poem is true, that March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb

“Last Night I Dreamed of Chickens” by Jack Prelutsky

Prelutsky, Jack. My Dog MayBe a Genius. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 2008.

This poem was chosen because I like that it is silly and the vivid visual images that I see in my head when I read it. I would read this aloud to students and have them draw a comic of what is happening in the poem as I read it aloud to them.

“Little Black Bug” Margaret Wise Brown

Wilkins, Eloise. Poems to read to the very Young. Random House Books for Young Readers, 2001.

This poem is great for young readers because of the simple repetition and fun rhythm. An onomatopoeia lesson could be taught from this poem using excerpts like “Squeak-eak-eak-eak-eak” and “Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz”.

“My Pig Put On a Bathing Suit” by Jack Prelutsky

Prelutsky, Jack. My Dog MayBe a Genius. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 2008.

I like this poem because it is funny and has a fun rhyme and rhythm to it. This poem could be used in a lesson about time. The teacher can use an example clock to demonstrate the time with the hands and then change the sentence, “from ten till ten to four” to another time and demonstrate that time on the clock.

“My Shadow” by Robert Louis Stevenson

Stevenson, Robert Louis. A Child's Garden of Verses. Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing 1999.

This is a great poem because it captures the curiosity and interest I think children have about their shadows. It is a fun rhyme and the rhyming is kept very simple with the AABB pattern. This poem can be utilized to investigate shadows and the effect of casting light on objects; it can be used as an introduction to a science lesson about shadows.

“One Inch Tall” by Shel Siverstein

Silverstein, Shel. March 3, 2008.

I really enjoy reading this poem because (like many of Silverstein’s poems) it is clever and has a humorous aspect to it. This poem also activates the imagination; I find that while I’m reading it I start to visualize and think about what it would be like to really be one inch tall! We could have a small class discussion about other things that would be difficult if you were one inch tall or about what would happen if you were 1,000 inches tall. I would use this poem to teach students measurements. We could use rulers to determine how big an inch really is and then measure other objects (pencils, cookies, etc) to determine how much smaller you would be than objects you see in everyday life if you were just an inch tall.

“Over In The Meadow” by Olive A. Wadworth

Wadsworth Olive A. Over in the meadow. Antelope Publishing, 1995.

I love this poem mostly because I remember it vividly from childhood. I love that you can sing the words and there is an easy and catch rhythm to it that makes it fun to sing. I would sing this with my class and then do a lesson about animal habitats. We could reference the song to remember where certain animals live. For example, if we began studying birds we could refer back to the line in the song when it says, “In a hole in a tree,Lived an old mother bluebird” and then research to find if bird really do live in holes in trees.

“Rain” by Douglas Florian

Florian, Douglas. March 4, 2008.

I enjoyed the simplicity of this poem when I read it. Young children will be interested immediately in this poem because of its counting factor and the rhyme. This would poem could be use to introduce the water cycle to children. The end of the poem ends with a big word that we as a class could study and investigate and then learn about other parts of the water cycle (condensation, evaporation etc).

“Riddle” by J. Patrick Lewis

Lewis, J. Patrick. The Little Buggers. March 3, 2008.

I chose this poem because it is a riddle! It is a fun riddle that I think young elementary school children will be able to solve on their own. I would use this just as a quick and fun brain activating game for students.

“Smart” by Shel Siverstein

Silverstein, Shel. March 3, 2008.

I chose this poem because it talks about currency in a funny and amusing way. I would use this poem as a precursor to teaching a lesson about currency and money. This would be a great way to introduce the different values of coins like quarters, nickels, and dimes.

“Stars” by Valerie Worth

Worth, Valerie. Still More Small Poems. Farrar Straus & Giroux, 1978.

This poem made my poetry folder collection because it is a beautifully simple free verse poem. I don’t really gravitate toward free verse poetry especially for younger children because it is not quite as fun as experiencing a poem with rhyming. I like this one though because it is effortless and simple to read but at the same time complex enough that you read it over and over to find the meaning. I would use this poem in a classroom to begin discussion about stars. Phrases like “fire-oceans” and “seas of heavy silver flame” would be great to spark imagination and provide starting points to begin research on the study of stars.

“ The Caterpillar” by Douglas Florian

Florian, Douglas. Beast Feast. Harcourt Brace & Company, 1994.

I chose this poem for my poetry folder because I like the rhyming and light hearted feel of the poem. I think children will like this poem because it is about a caterpillar and has a funny description. This would be a great poem to read to the children then talk about how a caterpillars turn into a butterflies. This would be a great poem to read if you had caterpillars turning into butterflies in your classroom.

“The Leaves Are Turning Colors” Jack Prelutsky

Prelutsky, Jack. My Dog MayBe a Genius. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 2008.

This poem is included in my poetry folder because of the descriptive language that is comprehendible for a young audience. This would be a great poem to use to teach about the different seasons and the colors, and even weather patterns of seasons.

“The Opposite Day Parade” by Timothy Tocher

Tocher, Timothy. Giggle Poetry. March 4, 2008.

I chose this poem because it is funny and takes thought process to decipher. I would use this poem to teach a lesson about opposites. The students can circle all of the opposite meaning words and phrases and replace them with what they should be.

“The Way I see Hope For Later” by Arnold Adoff

Adoff, Arnold. All the Colors of the Race. Lothrop Lee and Shepard, 1982.

I picked this poem because of the obvious message it gives to its readers. This poem could be read and then used as a starting point to begin discussion about different skin colors and how there are so many different colors. Students could also mix paint and attempt to recreate the color of their skin.

" Weather” by Eve Merriam

Merriam, Eve. March 3, 2008.

I like this poem because you have to read it a few times to get it to flow right because of the complex language. This would be a great poem to use to teach homonyms to students. “Weather” and “whether” are examples of words that sound the same and have very different meanings.

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