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

Poems by Shel Silverstein, Jack Prelutsky, Judith Viorst, Douglas Florian, Lee Bennett Hopkins

Introduction:  I would introduce this poem as a part of my science lesson.  It would work well with a unit on how things work.
 
Push Buttons
 
Silverstein, Shel.  1981.  A light in the Attic.  New York:  Harper & Row Publishers. 
ISBN 0060256737
 
I push the light switch button and -click- the light goes on
I push the lawn mower button and -voom- it mows the lawn
I push the root beer button and -whoosh- it fills my cup.
I push the glove compartment button and -clack- it opens up
I push the TV button and -zap- there's Wyatt Earp.
I push my belly button . . .
BURP!
 
Extension:  Have students brainstorm about other types of buttons that can be pushed.  Then work as a class to add more lines to the poem.  Another idea would be to write about the types of doors that can be pushed and what you find on the other side.
 
Introduction:  This is poem is great to use with a Halloween unit (if you're allowed to teach it) or a unit on nocturnal animals.
 
Bats
 
Prelutsky, Jack.  1990.  Something BIG Has Been Here.  New York:  Greenwillow Books  ISBN 0688064345
 
Bats have shiny leather wings,
bats do many clever things,
bats doze upside-down by day,
bats come out at night to play.
 
Bats cavort in soaring cliques,
sounding ultrasonic shrieks,
acrobatic in the sky,
bats catch every bug they spy.
 
Extension:  As a kindergarten teacher, I suggest that the students make bats.  Provide the students with various craft materials and let them replicate the bats from the poem.  A great book to read in conjunction with this poem is Stellalunia.  The class could also create an acoustic poem about bats.
 
Introduction:  This poem will work well with a unit on community helpers. Discuss the children's various experiences at the dentist office.
 
Well, Shut My Mouth
 
Viorst, Judith.  1995.  Sad Underwear  New York:  Simon & Schuster
ISBN 0689833768
 
A dentist isn't always a mean kind of person,
Even though he squirts your mouth with fizz,
Even though the hand that is jabbing your gum with the novocaine needle
Is certainly his.
 
A dentist isn't always a fierce kind of person,
Even though his drill goes buzz-buzz-buzz,
Even though, when he asks, "Do you floss?  Do you brush your teeth before bedtime?"
You flunk the whole quiz.
 
A dentist isn't always a guy kind of person.
Lots of dentist also are a Ms.
People you'd never expect to be a dentist turn out to be dentist
My grandmother is.
 
Extension:    The class could create poems about other professions.  Have the students create a web about things a dentist does.  Identify the tools used by a dentist.  When reading the poem, have the teacher read the first line of each stanza and the students read the remaining lines.
 
Introduction:  Play a rhyme game naming all the features of the face (To look at the sky, you need an ___{eye}).  Discuss things that can be found only on the face.  This poem will work well with a unit on the body. 
 
Most Mustaches
 
Florian, Douglas.  1994.  Bing Bang Bong  New York:  Harcourt Brace & Company
ISBN 0140378243
 
Mustaches curl,
Mustaches swirl.
Like the shell of a snail
Or the tail of a whale.
Some are bushy & broad;
But there's one thing I knows:
Most mustaches goes
Under somebody's nose.
 
Extension:   Students could draw the different types of mustaches described in the poem.  Or students could write a short poem about another body feature.
 
Introduction:  Most children love animals and most have some type of pet.  Begin by creating a web of animals that can be pets.  Then places where pets live in the home (cage, outside, etc...).
 
PUPPY
by Lee Bennet Hopkins
Hopkins, Lee B.  1995.  Good Rhymes, Good Times  New York:  HarperCollins Publishers
ISBN 0064435989
 
We bought our puppy
A brand new bed
But he likes sleeping
On mine instead.
 
I'm glad he does
'Cause I'd miss his cold nose
 
Waking me up,
Tickling my toes.
 
Extension:  This poem works well with a unit on pets.  Students could write a poem about their experience with a pet.  Students could also illustrate the poem.  If you decide to do a unit on pets, ask a parent to bring in the pet dog or ask the SPCA to bring a dog for a show and tell experience.

"All poetry originates in a gift."
 
- Sven Birkets