Thursday, November 29, 2012

Week 14

We're rolling along into Week 14 and our theme is Community. Here we're invited to consider all the people who are part of our day-to-day lives-- whether we always recognize them or not. Guadalupe Garcia McCall has written a beautiful poem for fifth grade that gives us a glimpse into a sometimes overlooked neighbor. It offers an interesting counterpoint to last week's poem about a grandmother and both are by two of our most prominent Latina poets writing for young people today (Guadalupe Garcia McCall and Margarita Engle). Here is an excerpt of Guadalupe's poem.

Doña Pepita
   by Guadalupe Garcia McCall

Doña Pepita has three sons
Who run away when she needs
Help in the garden.

She doesn't understand English.
"Que Chula!" she says
When I come over to help pull weeds

Dona Pepita bends over
And with her knife she cuts
The vines that free the calabazita,
A freckled zucchini she has been
Nurturing there all season.

"Que bonita, verdad?" she says,
Waiting for my approval.
I nod my head and she hands it to me.
"Llevatela," she says. And I haul it home,
Wondering what I could've done
To deserve such a treasure.

[You will find the poem in its entirety on p. 240.]

Take 5 Activities

1. Read this poem aloud noting that it incorporates a few Spanish words that may need a bit of explaining such as Doña Pepita (Mrs. Pepita), Que Chula (that pretty girl), calabazita (zucchini), Que bonita, verdad (That’s beautiful, right?), Llevatela (Take it). If possible, invite a Spanish speaker to assist you.

2. Share the poem again, inviting two students to pantomime the actions in the garden while you read the poem aloud.

3. Talk with students about practical ways to be helpful to older neighbors.

4. This poem is an example of free verse. It doesn’t rhyme, but guide students in seeing how the lines and line breaks build to create a poem. Talk about how the Spanish words contribute to our understanding of the characters and themes of the poem.

5. A natural companion to this poem is “Abuelita” by Margarita Engle (1st Grade, Week 13) or selections from Juanita Havill’s book I Heard It from Alice Zucchini: Poems About the Garden. 

Join the Poetry Friday gathering at the Poem Farm hosted by the wonderful Amy Ludwig VanDerwater.

And don't forget our special poetry e-book giveaway ending Dec. 12. Details below!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Week 13

This Week 13 it is especially appropriate to focus on our theme of Families. Our sample poem comes from First Grade and is a gem by Margarita Engle. Here is just the beginning and the ending-- to encourage you to search out the rest.

by Margarita Engle

We called her little grandmother
even though she was big.


She taught me how to embroider
a garden,
decorating the world
with a sharp needle,
one flowery stitch
at a time.

[Look for the whole poem in The Poetry Friday Anthology on p. 79.]

Take 5
1. Before reading the poem aloud, talk about the different words we use for grandmother, such as abuelita, oma, nana, etc.

2. Invite students to set the stage and read the first two lines aloud together while you read the rest aloud slowly. Display the poem so students can read their lines or invite them to echo you.

3. Invite students to share memories or feelings about their own grandmothers.

4. Sometimes poems rhyme and sometimes they don’t. In this case, the poem doesn’t rhyme but still has a rhythm that emerges through the length of the lines. Challenge students to point out lines that “go together” and have a similar rhythm even though they don’t end in a rhyme (like Her neighbors rode horses / and lived in thatched huts).

5. Pair this poem with “Doña Pepita” by Guadalupe Garcia McCall (5th Grade, Week 14). 

And don't forget our free e-book giveaway-- details below. 

Now join the Poetry Friday fun hosted by Mary Lee and Franki at A Year of Reading here

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Week 12

This week we shift our focus to House and Home, the theme of Week 12. Our sample poem comes from First Grade and is by Charles Ghigna, also known as Father Goose. Here is just a nugget from the poem to give you a taste.

My Tree House
   by Charles Ghigna

Welcome to my tree house,
my free house,
my me house,

where the air is fresher,
no pressure,
where treetops swish and sway,

where I come to look at
the books that
take me far away.

[The entire poem is available in The Poetry Friday Anthology on p. 78.]

Take 5 Activities

1. Before sharing this poem, take a moment to encourage students to close their eyes and imagine a big leafy tree, a ladder up high, and a tree house. Then continue by reading this poem aloud.

2. Next, invite students to join you in reading aloud the first stanza. If necessary, write the words tree, free, me (on cards) to cue them to the order of these words in reading the stanza.

3. For discussion: If you could have a tree house, what would it be like?

4. Sometimes poets arrange their words into groups called stanzas. This poem contains 5 stanzas. A stanza can have any number of lines. Help students see that this poem is made up of tercets (3-line stanzas).

5. Follow up with “The Front Yard Where the Maple Tree Stands” by Allan Wolf (4th Grade, Week 12).

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Time to join the Poetry Friday fray hosted by the lovely Anastasia Suen at Booktalking here.

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And don't forget to enter out e-book giveaway contest.  Details are BELOW.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Free poetry e-books


We're offering an opportunity to win a copy of one poetry e-book from the PoetryTagTime series:

PoetryTagTime (for children)
P*TAG (for tweens and teens)
Gift Tag (for all ages)

For more information go to PoetryTagTime. Good luck!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Week 11

It's Week 11 as we continue with our Poetry Friday curriculum and the focus continues on the fun and appealing topic of Food. This week, we offer a poem in its entirety (with the kind permission of the poet) to whet your appetite for more! This one is featured in the Kindergarten section of The Poetry Friday Anthology, but is clearly fun for many grades and ages (although the Take 5 activities are designed for Kindergarten). Enjoy!

Sack Lunch
   by Charles Waters

Whole wheat oatmeal bread,
Homemade grape jelly,
Crunchy peanut butter—
A rumble in my belly.

Double chocolate cupcakes—
What a perfect snack!
Ten tiny carrot sticks?
I’d rather give that back.

(From p. 37)

Take 5
1. Bring a paper bag or lunch kit and put a copy of this poem inside it. Then open the bag and remove this “Sack Lunch” poem before reading it aloud.

2. Next, invite students to echo read each line after you, one line at a time.

3. For discussion: What are your favorite foods for lunches and snacks?

4. Show how rhyming words help turn this “list” of foods into a poem.  Ask students: What are the words that rhyme (jelly/belly and snack/back)? Read the poem aloud again, but pause before the second word in each rhyming pair and wait for the students to chime in with the correct response (belly, back).

4. For another poem with peanut butter in it, share “Snack Rules” by Robyn Hood Black (1st Grade, Week 10).

Now join the rest of this week's Poetry Friday celebration hosted by Think, Kid, Think here

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Week 10

It's Week 10 and time to tackle a favorite poem topic: FOOD! Our sample poem comes from third grade and is by the Newbery award-winning author Linda Sue Park. Here's an excerpt from her humorous ice cream-themed poem.

Two Scoops
by Linda Sue Park

An ice-cream cone may seem at first
the best of things to eat.
Beware, beware! For danger lurks
within this icy treat.


From cone to hand, from hand to wrist,
the drips slip fast, then faster.
Beware, beware the peril of
an elbow-deep disaster


For the rest of this delectable poem, go to p. 156. Get your copy of The Poetry Friday Anthology HERE!

Take 5
1. Add a bit of fun to sharing this poem with a poetry prop—a paper ice cream cone with three round scoops.

2. In sharing the poem aloud again, students can say the word beware with great drama each time it occurs. Cue students by raising your fake ice cream cone!

3. Survey students about their favorite ice cream flavors.

4. This poem is another good example of humorous poetry. Talk with students about how the poet creates humor in this poem through describing a funny experience with some exaggeration. Pinpoint examples in the words and phrases the poet uses to create a scene in your mind.

5. Connect this poem with “Who Invented Cookies?” by Joan Bransfield Graham (Kindergarten, Week 10).

Ready for Poetry Friday? Go to MainelyWrite for the latest scoop! See you there!