Thursday, May 16, 2013

Poetry Tips and E-books

As the U.S. school year winds down, we hope you'll continue to share poems with the young people you reach-- all year long. There are so many wonderful works written just for them and so many creative ways to invite them into the world of poetry. Here are a few nuggets from the instructional "back matter" of The Poetry Friday Anthology that you made find helpful. 

Your Poetry Checklist

     *Highlight poetry books on the chalk rail, a red wagon, or a table

     *Seek out poetry books from diverse perspectives

     *Link poems with picture books, novels, and nonfiction

     *Connect children’s poetry with social studies, science, and mathematics

     *Tell your colleagues about Poetry Friday!

E-Resources for Poetry Teaching

One of the most controversial topics in the world of reading today concerns e-books. Some people think that e-books will replace paper books and change the way we read—and they’re afraid of those changes. We agree that changes will happen, but we’re excited by the possibilities. Consider:

  • a teacher can read a book review at lunch and buy an e-book version of it (for less than the price of lunch);
  • that book might be a collection of poems from Mexico or Australia but is delivered immediately without shipping costs or custom fees;
  • the teacher can download the e-book onto an e-reader and also a regular computer that can be projected onto a screen for the whole class to read aloud together;
  • e-resources are easily searchable. A teacher can look for a poem using keywords like family or armadillo. Even if you prefer paper books, you might consider owning a second copy that is digital as a teaching resource;
  • and reluctant readers (who might not like paper books but might enjoy manipulating text on a screen) can read the book using electronic bookmarks, a glossary, and sometimes read-aloud features, too.

Poetry is particularly well-suited to e-books. Imagine: a second grader is standing in line at the post office with his mother. He is bored. His mother hands him her cell phone. To play a video game? No: to read a poem in an e-book. He reads the short poem to himself and likes it. Then he reads it again—as he’s been taught—aloud. His mother laughs. The woman standing behind him laughs.  He reads another poem aloud and directs his mother (in a second reading) to chime in and guess the rhyming word. The man in front of him turns around to say the rhyming words. Next thing they know, the boy and his mother are first in line and bursting with the joy of reading.

The Poetry Friday Anthology is available in both print and e-book forms. (For both K-5 and for Middle School) So, consider getting a copy of each so that you can project individual poems using the e-book version as you lead the teaching activities.

Also, check out our e-book anthologies featuring poems by many of the same poets from the PFA. Look for: (poems linked poem-to-poem for children and all ages) (linked ekphrastic poetry for tweens and teens)  (holiday poetry linked from poem to poem)

Meanwhile, we wish you many happy Fridays (and every day) with poems and poetry. And please share your stories with us about young people's responses. Enthusiasm for poetry is contagious!

See you over at Ed's place, Think, Kid, Think! for this week's Poetry Friday round up.


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Week 36

It's hard to believe, but it is our last week in our year of sharing a poem every Friday in grades K-5 with The Poetry Friday Anthology. For Week 36 our theme is "Looking Forward" and our sample poem comes from second grade. Here is the poem by Allan Wolf in its entirety.

The Secret Seed
by Allan Wolf

A seed holds tomorrow
inside her shell.
What will she be?
She will not tell.
To find out what,
you’ll have to wait
and watch her grow
from grain to great.

[This poem can be found on p. 142 of The Poetry Friday Anthology.]

Take 5 Activities

1. Heighten interest in this poem with a small poetry prop— a tiny seed (of any kind or size). Hold the seed in your hand and extend your hand open as you read the poem.

2. Next, invite students to echo read the poem, repeating each line after you read each line aloud.

3. For discussion: What kinds and sizes of seeds have you seen or planted?

4. In this poem, alternating lines end with rhyming words. Guide students in identifying the rhyming pairs (shell/tell; wait/great). Read the poem aloud again and pause before the final rhyming word in each pair and invite students to complete the rhyme. Talk about what the words in the final line (from grain to great) suggest (growing from a tiny seed to something great).

5. Connect this poem with another poem about transformation, “Tadpole Wishes” by Terry Webb Harshman (Kindergarten, Week 7).

If you have been sharing a poem with young people every Friday, we would love to hear about it-- especially if you've used any of the poems from The Poetry Friday Anthology. And if you have not yet made the leap into Poetry Friday, we hope you'll think about trying it next year. If you need help, consider getting your own copy of The Poetry Friday Anthology. We now have two editions-- one for K-5 and one for middle school (grades 6-8). Both offer a poem every week along with teaching activities tied to Common Core standards (and TEKS in Texas).

Meanwhile, check out what other bloggers are doing this Poetry Friday at the round up hosted this week by Anastasia at Booktalking. See you there!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Week 35

It is Week 35 in our 36 weeks of sharing poetry weekly. We're nearing the end of the school year and looking forward to Summer Vacation, our theme for the week. Our sample poem comes from third grade is by Debbie Levy and offers a clever poem with a surprise ending. Here is an excerpt.

My Best Friend is Leaving
by Debbie Levy

My best friend is leaving.
I’m crushed, I’m dismayed.
I’m crabby, I’m crusty,
and yes—I’m afraid.

My best friend is leaving.
My summer looks bleak. . . .
Good thing her vacation
is only a week.

[Look for the whole poem on p. 181 of The Poetry Friday Anthology.]

Take 5 Activities

1. Feeling brave? You can sing this poem to the tune of “On Top of Old Smoky.” (You may also need to explain the word dismay to students.)

2. This time, read the poem aloud while displaying the words of the poem if possible and invite students to chime in on the last two lines of the poem—the surprise twist at the end (Good thing her vacation / is only a week).

3. For discussion: How can you keep in touch with friends when you’re apart?

4. This poem is another good example of humorous poetry. Talk with students about how the poet creates humor in this poem through the surprise twist at the end, confounding the expectation of the title and the long list of worries.

5. Share another funny poem about friendship with a surprise twist at the end with “Greetings” by Lesléa Newman (5th Grade, Week 17).

Join the Poetry Friday round up hosted by Liz at Growing Wild. See you there!