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Carmen's Children Poetry Corner
Module 1: The Poetry Environment
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Module 1: The Poetry Environment
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Module 2: Major Poets
Books by Nikki Grimes

A classic poem, a picture book converted into a poem, a song lyric becomes a poem, Mother Goose poetry, & a poem about school. 

Classic Poetry:  Introduction -  This "classic" poem uses a lot of imagery.  Think back to your days at the playground as you read the words.
 
The Swing
 Robert Louis Stevenson
from The Classic Treasury of Children's Poetry  edited by Louise Betts Egan  Courage Books  1990
 
How do you like to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do!
 
      Up in the air and over the wall
              Till I can see so wide
                      Rivers and trees and cattle and all
                               Over the countryside----
                     Till I look down on the garden green
              Down on the roof so brown ---
       Up in the air I go again,
Up in the air and down.
 
 
Extension:  Have students sway as the poem is read.  Have students rewrite the poem in the shape of a swing.
 
 
Picture Book:  Introduction -  This is a fun loving picture book about children taking their teddy bears on a picnic.  The illustrations are wonderful.  This would be great to use with young students (pre-k - 1st)
 
The Teddy Bear's Picnic
by Jimmy Kennedy
Henry Holt & Company 1992
 
If you go down in the woods today
You're sure of a big surprise.
If you go down in the woods today
You'd better be in disguise;
 
For every Bear that ever there was
Will gather there for certain, because
Today's the day the Teddy Bears
Have their picnic.
 
Ev'ry Teddy Bear who's been good
Is sure of a treat today.
There's lots of marvelous things to eat
And wonderful games to play.
 
Beneath the trees where nobody sees
They'll hide and seek as long as they please,
'Cause that's the way the Teddy Bears
Have their picnic.
 
If you go down in the woods today
You'd better not go alone
It's lovely down in the woods today
But safer to stay at home.
 
For every Bear that there ever was will
 Gather there for certain
Because Today's the day the Teddy Bears
have their picnic.
 
Picnic time for the Teddy Bears, The little Teddy Bears are
Having a lovely time today.
Watch them, catch them unawares
And see them picnic on their holiday.
 
See them gaily gad about
They love to play and shout;
They never have any care.
 
At 6 o'clock their Mummies
And Daddies will take them home to bed
Because they're tired little Teddy Bears.
 
Extension:  Have students work in small groups.  Each group will create an artistic representation of the poem.
 
Song Lyrics:  Introduction - This is one of my favorite songs. The students in my kindergarten class performed this song at their awards program.  The words are beautiful so I am sure it will work as poetry.
 
I Just Called to Say I love You
by Stevie Wonder
from Stevie Wonder - Song Review:  A Greatest Hits Collection  1996
 
No new years's day to celebrate
no chocolate covered hearts to give away.
No first of spring, no song to sing
in fact here's just another ordinary day.
 
No April rain, no flowers bloom
no wedding Saturday within the month of June.
But what it is, is something true
made up of these three words that I must say to you.
 
I just called to say I love you
I just called to say how much I care,
I just called to say I love you
And I mean it from the bottom of my heart
 
No summer's high, no warm July
no harvest moon to light one tender August night.
No autumn breeze, no falling leaves
Not even time for birds to fly to southern skies.
 
No libra sun, no Halloween
no giving thanks to all the Christmas joy you bring.
But what it is, though old so new
to fill your heart like no three words could ever do.
 
I just called to say I love you
I just called to say how much I care
I just called to say I love you
And I mean it from the bottom of my heart
 
Of my Heart.
Of my Heart!
 
Extension:  Give students props and have them act out the poem as it is read.
 
 
 
Mother Goose Poem:  Introduction - I thought this was a cute rhyme that young children would enjoy.  I had never heard of it, so hopefully you will all like it.
 
A Swarm of Bees in May
from Mother Goose 1994  Random House selected by Tasha Tudor
 
A swarm of bees in May
Is worth a load of hay;
A swarm of bees in June
Is worth a silver spoon;
A swarm of bees in July
Is not worth a fly.
 
Extension:  As a class, add more verses to the poem using the remainder of the months.
 
 
School Poem:  Introduction - This poem is one that any student can relate to.  Students from the intermediate grades through graduate school will have experienced the message delivered in this poem.  It humorous but true.
 
Sunday Night Meltdown
by Kristine O'Connell George
from Swimming Upstream:  Middle School Poems  Clarion Books 2002
 
Suddenly remembering
(on Sunday night)
that I have homework
due Monday morning.
 
The end of my weekend,
like the end of a popsicle:
instead of one last lick --
a taste of stick.
 
Extension:  Have the class read the poem just as it is written above - getting louder and louder.  The students could write in their journals about a time they forgot to complete a homework assignment.