Thursday, April 25, 2013

Week 34

We are rolling on to Week 34 in our year of sharing a poem every Friday. This week's theme is "On the Move" and our sample poem comes from fourth grade.  Poet Joan Bransfield Graham challenges young people to think about time zones across the globe in a very creative way. (She has also given permission to share the entire poem.)

Crossing the International Dateline
by Joan Bransfield Graham

On Tuesday at 4 PM,
     our trip ended—
we departed.
We got back home
     Tuesday 7 AM,
to arrive
before we started!

Note: This happened when we went to New Zealand (from California).

[This poem appears on p. 220 of The Poetry Friday Anthology.]

Take 5 Activities
1. Highlight the time on a nearby clock before reading this poem aloud.

2. Share the poem again, but this time invite students to say the 1st and 5th lines (On Tuesday at 4 PM; Tuesday 7 AM) while you read the rest aloud.

3. Challenge students to “do the math” calculating how long the trip in the poem actually took.

4. Talk with students about the arrangement of words and line breaks in this poem and where the crucial rhyming words occur (departed/started). Then read the poem aloud again emphasizing the rhyming words in particular.

5. Follow up with another poem about travel, “Directions” by Janet Wong (5th Grade, Week 34).

PFA poet Laura Purdie Salas is hosting this week's Poetry Friday party at her blog, Writing the World for Kids. See you there!


  1. The best poems give the reader a fresh look at the world in a simple way. This poem definitely fits that category. Thank you for this gem, Joan Bransfield Graham!

  2. Janet & Sylvia, thanks for all you are doing to bring the world of poetry to so many children! It's exciting to see what a hit the PFAs are and all the creative ways they are being used.

  3. Fun poem and a great way to think about time and travel, time-travel of sorts, without science fiction. =)

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  5. I've written a daylight savings time poem that utterly failed. It's so hard to get anything across about time-related concepts--but Joan did it so compactly and with so much humor!