It is Week 27 and time to focus our attention on words themselves, with our theme, "World of Words." Here, our poets incorporate wordplay in fun and interesting ways. Our sample for the blog this week is by Children's Poet Laureate, J. Patrick Lewis. It's his poem for first grade-- here's just a taste.
Gnat and Flea
by J. Patrick Lewis
If it jumps, it’s a flea,
If it flies, it’s a gnat.
A bunch of fleas—a swarm,
A batch of gnats—a cloud,
A bunch of dogs
With munchy fleas
Cries out loud.
[Look for the whole poem on p. 93 in The Poetry Friday Anthology.]
Take 5 Strategies
1. Read this poem aloud using a high-pitched voice for the lines related to fleas (lines 1, 5), a low-pitched voice for the lines about gnats (lines 2, 3, 4, 6), and a normal voice for the lines about dogs (lines 7, 8, 9). (You may need to alert students to the silent g in gnat.)
2. Then invite students to jump during the flea lines, make flying motions during the gnat lines, and make scratching motions during the dog lines while you read the whole poem aloud. Use your voice (high, low, normal) to cue them to the correct motions. Read and perform it several times to get it all right!
3. For discussion: Which is more annoying, a gnat or a flea?
4. Sometimes poets weave facts into their poems; use this poem to discuss collective names for groups of animals.
5. For another poem by J. Patrick Lewis that compares two animals, read “Frog and Toad”
(Kindergarten, Week 21) or look for more insect poems in Hey There, Stink Bug! by Leslie Bulion.
Don't miss out on the Poetry Friday fun hosted by PFA poet Heidi Mordhorst at My Juicy Little Universe. See you there!