Thursday, October 18, 2012

Week 8

Time to share another poem from The Poetry Friday Anthology. It's Week 8 and our theme is "In the Air." This week's example poem is from Grade 5 and it is a pour quoi poem by Joseph Bruchac. Here is a portion of the poem.

How the Geese Became Chiefs of the Birds
by Joseph Bruchac

Long ago it is said
when the small birds flew
south for the winter
and north for the spring,
sometimes they got lost
and could not find their way.

So Gluskonba
spoke to the geese.
From now on,
you will be the chiefs
of all the birds.

Some of you will go first,

And some of you
will be the last

[and the poem ends:]

And so it is to this day.

[Read the entire poem on p. 234.]

Take 5
1. Point out to students that many poems are funny, but some are quiet and thoughtful—like this one based on a Native American legend from the Abenaki people. (You may also need to provide background on Gluskonba, known as “the one who helps the people.”)

2. Next, divide the students into two groups—one to read the third stanza and one to read the fourth stanza while you read the rest of the poem, including the final line. Display the text of the poem to provide support.

3. For discussion: Which do you prefer: leading or helping in a supporting role?

4. Talk with students about how many poems rhyme, but not all. This poem is an example of free verse. It doesn’t feature a regular rhyme, but guide students in seeing the rhythm provided by the structure of short lines and key words used to paint a picture in your mind.

5. Pair this poem with “How the Birds Got Their Colors” also by Joseph Bruchac (3rd Grade, Week 20).

Join the rest of the Poetry Friday gathering hosted by Irene Latham (another one of the lovely poets featured in The Poetry Friday Anthology) at Live Your Poem here.

1 comment:

  1. This is a poem where an excerpt simply doesn't do it justice. (Sorry!) There are single grade-level e-books that can be borrowed for free through the Kindle Lending Library--so if you can, get the 5th grade e-book and read this poem. Or if you haven't asked yet to buy this book for your library, maybe now's the time!

    I love this poem because I see it as opening up a great discussion about leadership. It's not just the birds in the front who lead; our leaders are also those last birds who make sure the small birds do not lose their way. (The poem says it a lot better than that!)