Thursday, February 28, 2013

Week 26

It is Week 26 and time to share a silly poem from our theme, "Nonsense." This one comes from fifth grade and is hilarious to act out. We have permission to share the whole poem, so enjoy!

How to Open the Attic Door
   by April Halprin Wayland

To open up the attic door,
(to find that old cartoon you drew),
you have to sing a silly tune,
you have to sing it backwards, too
and play it on the noodle flute
while putting on your bathing suit.
And always wear blue cowboy boots!

[From The Poetry Friday Anthology, p. 252]

Take 5 Activities
1. If possible, stand by a door while reading this poem aloud.

2. Share this humorous poem again and invite students to choose their favorite line from lines 3-7 and chime in when that line appears while you read the whole poem aloud.

3. For discussion: What is the secret in giving clear directions?

4. This poem is another good example of using both end rhyme and rhyme in the middle too—called internal rhyme. Challenge the students to find the words that rhyme, including slant or “almost” rhymes (cartoon, drew, you, tune, too, noodle, flute, suit, blue, boots). Read the poem aloud again emphasizing those words in particular.

5. Link this poem with the nonsensical “Eight-year-old Uncle” by X. J. Kennedy (3rd Grade, Week 26) or share selections from If You Were a Chocolate Mustache by J. Patrick Lewis.

Join the Poetry Friday round up hosted by poet Julie Larios at The Drift Record.

And if you're enjoying our weekly segments from The Poetry Friday Anthology for grades Kindergarten through Grade 6, we're excited to announce that a new edition for middle school is being released Friday, March 1! Same idea-- a poem a week for grades 6, 7, and 8, with Take 5 teaching activities for every poem. Check it out here!


  1. great poem! i appreciate your sharing/teaching ideas too :)

  2. Thanks so much for posting this!

    I wanted to write a poem about following directions...and then silly ideas and the rhythm took over...I couldn't help myself!

    Here's an off-the-wall way to present this poem:

    I always like hearing a poem read twice, so first read it without distractions.

    Read it again with a shopping bag next to you and pull out:
    1)a sheet of music; sing "la la la la la la" to a silly tune you make up
    2)turn the sheet upside down and sing "al, al, al, al"!
    3)some hollow noodles and and ask a student to try blowing through one
    4)a bathing suit
    5)blue cowboy boots!
    4)A cartoon you--or a student--drew!

  3. Fun ideas, April--thanks for sharing!