Thursday, January 17, 2013

Week 20

It is Week 20 and time to focus on our theme of Art and Colors. Here is a poem for this theme from Fourth Grade. This poem by Lesléa Newman is a clever riff on the classic poem by Gelett Burgess, "I've Never Seen a Purple Cow." Here, she packs in 19 color words in unlikely combinations with a variety of animals.

I’ve Never Seen a Purple Cow
   by Lesléa Newman

I've never seen a purple cow
A hot pink horse, a light green sow,
A ruby dog, a turquoise cat
A copper crow, an orange bat,


A swarm of bright magenta flies
And if I did, I'd check my eyes.

[You'll find the poem in its entirety in The Poetry Friday Anthology on p. 206.]

Take 5
1. Encourage students to close their eyes and imagine a hot pink horse, an orange bat, and a sky blue pig. Then continue by reading this poem aloud.

2. Display the poem and invite students to choose their favorite colorful animal and chime in when that color/animal phrase appears.

3. Talk with students about all the words for different colors in this poem (purple, hot pink, light green, ruby, turquoise, copper, orange, green and yellow, black and lavender, sky blue, dark red, navy, violet, cherry, indigo, scarlet, magenta).

4. Poets love to play with words and how they are arranged on the page. Here the poem is almost like a list, but with regular end rhymes. Invite students to tap the rhythm of the poem as you share it again. Many poems have a beat and meter just like songs do.

5. Share another list poem by Lesléa Newman like “By the Sea” (1st Grade, Week 35) or poems from Yellow Elephant: A Bright Bestiary by Julie Larios.

Join the Poetry Friday roundup hosted by Violet Nesdoly this week. See you there!


  1. I love the visual richness of this poem and I'll bet that art teachers would love it for the way it stretches young artists' imaginations and the fancy color words (indigo, scarlet, magenta, etc.). As a matter of fact, I'm going to forward this link to an art teacher friend of mine in Georgia RIGHT NOW!!

  2. Thank you for sharing Leslea Newman's poem, Sylvia. Each image is as vivid as it is colorful. I especially like the line: "A swarm of bright magenta flies." That would warrant a trip to the doctor to get my eyes checked. =)

  3. What fun! Illustrating this would be a hoot.

    Violet N.