As children become engaged in a project, encourage them to express their thoughts in poem or song form. And if you are quick on the draw with a flip video camera or tape recorder, you can capture those spontaneous verse creations, just as the teacher of a preschool class did in the example below.
"Near the close of a hard day's work painting the booth, Juan decided they would make a song about the photo booth. A few of the children played instruments while Sharra sang the song:
This is a song about the photo booth.
We took a picture of the photo booth.
My mom brought the box for the photo booth.
We were painting the photo booth.
It's about the photo booth.
This is about the photo booth.
We were painting the photo booth.
This is about the photo booth."
More Ideas to Try
For ideas about teaching rhythm in poetry, see the engaging video "The Rhythm of Language," segment 1
and segment 2
Poem in Your Pocket Day
. Participate in a nationwide celebration on April 14 by carrying a favorite poem in your pocket.
William Shakespeare's Birthday, April 23, 1564
Michael J. Rosen is an Ohio author who writes poems and stories for people of all ages. These two are great for the younger student:
50 Odd Jobs by Michael J. Rosen (Willowisp Press, Worthington, OH, 1988). Author-illustrator Rosen offers readers a collection of hilarious verses and intricate black-and-white illustrations about somewhat askewbut plausible when you think about itcareer choices.
The Greatest Table by Michael J. Rosen, illustrations by an amazing group of artists (Harcourt Brace, San Diego, 1994). Rather than being author-illustrator, this time Michael Rosen is writer-editor. This twelve-foot-long accordion book was written to aid the fight against hunger. Rosen's poetic words are illustrated by fourteen different illustrators, so each page is a work of art. It is currently out of print but available at libraries.
If you want to know more about Michael J. Rosen, check out his website
to see what he is doing next.
Oh Theodore! Guinea Pig Poems
by Susan Katz (Clarion Books, New York, 2007). This oversized book tells a story of friendship and love, with acrylic illustrations that portray the facial expressions and feelings of both child and creature. [From the REC Bookshelf. For more ideas and books, see Preschool PoetryRhythm, Rhyme, and Song.]
Mary Had a Little Jam and Other Silly Rhymes
by Bruce Lansky, illustrations by Stephen Carpenter (Scholastic, New York, 2003) "Little Miss Muffet / sat on a tuffet / licking an ice cream cone. / Along came a spider, / who dangled beside her- / She told him to go get his own!" Kids are sure to love these silly versions of familiar nursery rhymes. The brightly colored illustrations support the text and will also make the children laugh out loud. [From the REC Bookshelf. For more ideas and books, see Literacy Begins with Rhythm, Rhyme, and Song and the K2 booklist Playing with Sounds and Words: Discovering How Words Work.]
Go! Poetry in Motion
by Dee Lillegard, illustrations by Valeri Gorbachev (Knopf Books for Young Readers, New York, 2006). Think of anything that moves, and you'll find a poem about it in this energetic book of poetry dedicated to things that "go!" There are rhymes about scooters, roller skates, bikes and trikes, an ice cream truck, a school bus, a ferris wheel, and even a lawn mower. [From the REC Bookshelf. For more ideas and books, see Playing with Words; Poetry in Preschool.]
Joyful Ways to Teach Young Children to Write Poetry by Jodi Weisbart (Scholastic, New York, 2001). Often we assume that children are naturally poetic since they love to play with rhyme. However, teachers who utilize proven strategies like those in this text can optimize children's language development and writing skills while fostering the creative spirit.
is the website of author and poet Kenn Nesbitt. Although the site definitely promotes the sale of his work, there are some fun free tools for classroom and home use. Users can listen to a variety of online poems, podcasts, and the turn-the-page copy of My Hippo Has the Hiccups!
Would-be authors can use the interactive rhyming dictionary and read Mr. Nesbitt's tips for writing poems.
At Tips for Teaching Poetry
, you'll find tips for preparing to teach poetry, for reading and writing poetry, and much more.