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Module 6 - Responding to Poetry
Carmen's Children Poetry Corner

Poems are like fireworks--they're little packets of verbal energy waiting to be ignited by the human voice.
Poems work best when read aloud.
 
- Louise Betts Egan

Sensitive Subject Poem
 
Introduction:  Before sharing this poem, ask students what it means to be an orphan.  Discuss different types of families.  This works well when discussing self esteem.
 
Orphan
Wong, Janet.  (1994).  Good Luck Gold and Other Poems.  New York:  Simon & Schuster
ISBN 0689506171
 
Tell this foster family
No one ever keeps me long.
I've been passed around this town
Like a beat-up hand me down.
Tell them must be something wrong.
Can't be -- can it? -- they want me.
 
Extension:  Discuss with children a time when they felt unwanted.  Have students draw a before and after picture based upon how the child felt at the beginning and end of the poem.
 
Free verse Poem
 
Introduction:  This is a great poem to be used at the beginning of the school year when kids are beginning to make friends.
 
Two Friends
Giovanni, Nikki.  (1985).  Spin A Soft Black Song.  New York:  HapreCollins
ISBN 0374464693
 
lydia and shirley have
two pierced ears and
two bare ones
five pigtails
two pairs of sneakers
two berets
two smiles
one necklace
one bracelet
lots of stripes and
one good friendship
 
Extension:  Have students choose one of their classmates and create a short poem that follows this format.  Also have children point to the things that are mentioned as the poem is read.
 
Poetry by Children
 
Introduction:  This poem will work well with grandparents day or with a unit on families.
 
My Grandma's Tree
by Sylvia Gomez
 
Nye, Naomi Shihab.(sel)  2000.  Salting the Ocean:  100 Poems by Young Poets.  New York:  Greenwillow Books.   ISBN 0688161936
 
My grandma has a tree that cries
like a lovely moon hearing the sunshine.
My grandma's tree has a smell like a rose.
The roses that my grandma sees make
her tree turn into lightning            just like
Dr. Frankenstein's machine.
My grandma has a tree that cries
like a man having his honeymoon
with his wife,
or like the lady that goes outside
and looks at the sea      when she has
her first romance.
 
Extension:  Have students illustrate this poem.  Divide the students into 3 groups and have each group read a portion of the poem - whenever the poet says "My grandma"
 
Classic/Contemporary poems
 
Introduction:  This poem will work good with unit on birds.  Begin by asking students if they can fly or if they could fly describe what would be going on.
 
If I Could Fly
(Classic)
by Louise Betts Egan
Egan, Louise Betts, edited (1990)  The Classic Treasury of Children's Poetry.  New York:  Courage  ISBN 0894718029
 
I wish I had wings,
So I could fly,
Wherever, whenever,
However high.
 
Over the school yard,
Over the pond,
I'd fly to the clouds,
And way beyond!
 
Birds might well wonder
Who I could be,
Kicking and spinning,
And shouting out, "Where!"
 
I'd float on the air
And wave to the ground,
I'd jump off a swing,
And zoom up, uP, UP---
Not
           down.
 
I'd soar with the wind
As for as it goes,
And tuckle the treetops
With my bare toes.
 
I Am Flying
Prelutsky, Jack.  (1994)  The New Kid on the Block.  New York:  Greenwillow Books 
ISBN 0688022723
 
I am flying!  I am flying!
I am riding on the breeze,
I am soaring overmeadows,
I am sailing overseas.
I ascend above the cities
where the people, small as ants,
cannot sense the keen precision
of my aerobatic dance.
 
I am flying!  I am flying!
I am climbing unconfined,
I am swifter than the falcon,
and I leave the wind behind.
I am swooping, I am swirling
in jubilant display,
I am brilliant as a comet
blazing through the Milky Way.
 
I am flying!  I am flying!
I am higher than the moon,
still, I think I'd best be landing,
and it cannot be too soon.
For some nasty information
has lit up my little brain---------
I am flying!  I am flying!
but I fly without a plane.
 
 
 
Extension:  Have students close their eyes and act out the poem as the teacher reads it.
 
An Original Poem
 
Introduction:  This poem can be used at the beginning or end of the school year.
 
I HATE SCHOOL
by Carmen R. Slater
 
I hate the librarian
I hate the books,
I hate the cafeteria
I hate the cooks.
 
I hate the gym.
I hate to excercise.
I hate science
I hate to hypothesize.
 
I hate social studies.
I hate geography.
I hate math.
I don't use geometry.
 
I hate speech.
My tounge gets tied.
I hate home-ec.
Everything gets fried.
 
BUT most of all
I hate summer.
When does school start?
Doing nothing is a bummer.
 
Extension:  Create a web of things the children like about school and a web of things they dislike about school.  Assign lines to individual students and let them read the poem in parts.

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