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Teaching Ways of Seeing

The zebra and the pig, for instance, are both celebrated by four different poets. Examining the poems, students can discuss what facts and features each poet chose to discuss. In what ways are their poems alike? Older students can even attempt to identify the poem form used by each writer. After reading some of the examples in this book from both classic and contemporary writers, students can then try their own hand at describing animals both foreign and familiar.

Such poems are an excellent addition to those animal reports and presentations which many teachers already include in their curriculum. Much has been said in educational texts about inquiry learning. From my own experiences, however, I find that students are naturally inquisitive, and there's not much more we need to do but focus their natural curiosity. Poetry can do this! This is an intriguing exploration into diverse and unique habitats of the world.

In the preface, the author explains: "Extreme environments such as deserts, glaciers, salt lakes, and pools of oil may not seem appealing, yet in these places, there is often less competition and more safety from predators. So over time, a variety of animals have adapted to these challenging conditions. This collection of poems celebrates some of these great adapters and the risky places where they live.

Below is a sample poem, written in sonnet form:. Atop a rocky peak, the air is pure, but the wind blows fierce and the climb is steep. Each step must be confident and so sure, there's little need to look before you leap. The ice, the snow, the winter's biting cold require a cozy, insulated coat. What animal lives here, hardy and bold? Behold this king of cliffs, the mountain goat!

Feasting in springtime on grass that is lush, avoiding in summer the sun's blazing rays. Browsing in autumn on stubborn dry brush, learning to deal with the year's hardest days. Living where enemies cannot intrude, it succeeds indeed at this altitude. A fun collection of unusual but authentic holidays, celebrated here in verse. Students will enjoy researching these and other wacky holidays, and even inventing their own to commemorate people, places, and events that are important to them.

See a video trailer here at the Candlewick Press site. Okay, so you may think I cheated on this one. After all, I'm supposed to be giving you purposes for using poetry.

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But if we can't convince our students that one of reading's purest functions is pleasure, then I don't think we've really done our job. So many poems and books of poems exist to fill this classification that I won't even begin to list them all here. So if you have a favorite poem or book you read with students for pleasure, please share it in the comments section below!

This book is an incredibly simple, yet funny and clever book about a dog who may not be a dog at all, but perhaps instead a cat … or is it a squid? This crazy dog sheds one disguise after another, and who knows what he'll be next? It's short, fun, and you'd better be prepared to read it more than once, although its simplicity, meter, and rhyme make it easily accessible to independent beginning readers. Also be sure to check out the cool stuff on the author's site.

Most of us have assigned biography reports, only later to be disappointed when some students fail to capture the greatness of the men and women they studied. What's awesome about biographical poems is that they encapsulate the essence of what makes a person's life memorable and meaningful.

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Use the The Explorers' Graveyard lesson plan for sharing facts and findings when reading biographies. Again, the aim here is to get to what's worth knowing about this famous person. Patrick Lewis yes, him again! The hilarious and revealing tombstone tidings capture in the most clever way the humor of many professions. Take this one, for instance, written for a Book Editor:. Miss Spellings Exclamation points Were myriad!!! She live on the margin. And died. A satisfying mix of heroes and heroines from the world-wide struggle for human rights. Several artists collaborate to illustrate the poems, which can also lead to a discussion of what each artist chose to represent the whole of a person's life in a single image.

For more teaching ideas integrating these poems with informational writing, see the related post at Two Writing Teachers blog. These poems are notable in that they capture the content of each person's character, rather then the rote facts of his or her life. John Thompson's realistically rendered illustrations help to make this title a standout. Keith Schoch is an educator, presenter, and advocate for reading.

This article was published on his blog, Teaching with Picture Books. He also shares resources and recommendations through two other blogs: Teaching that Sticks and How to Teach a Novel. Thanks for reposting this list of resources. I've been a huge fan of REading Rockets for some time, and appreciate all you do to provide teachers and parents with sound advice. Author Interviews Meet your favorite authors and illustrators in our video interviews. Book Finder Create your own booklists from our library of 5, books!

Themed Booklists Dozens of carefully selected booklists, for kids years old. Nonfiction for Kids Tips on finding great books, reading nonfiction and more. Skip to main content. You are here Home. By: Keith Schoch. Related Using Poetry to Teach Reading. Activate prior knowledge Students are most receptive to new learning when they can connect it to what they already know. Recommended texts The Year Comes Round: Haiku Through the Seasons by Sid Farrar and illustrated by Ilse Plume This text presents students with vignettes of each season in the signature haiku syllable, three line form, focusing upon nature with a surprising perspective.

A sample from the book: Lawns call a truce with mowers and slip beneath their white blankets to sleep. If this puddle could talk, I think it would tell me to splash my sister. Establish theme Teaching with a theme and its accompanying guiding questions isn't new to most of us, and the majority of teachers maintain a ready repertoire of methods to establish themes for classroom novels or other literature units see some ideas and a huge list of Universal Themes in my How to Teach a Novel Handout.

Recommended sites and texts for theme The Children's Poetry Archive groups poems by themes, and my class always enjoys reflecting upon poems about death since, after all, every novel we read seems to be about death! Many poems on this site are read aloud by their authors, and my students especially love hearing The Carrion Crow read aloud. A common theme in upper elementary and middle school novels is Change. This highly recommended book features 20 thought-provoking poems from contemporary writers, with extensive lesson plans which help students to better understand each poem, and to apply it to other texts and their own experiences.

Students can compose and publish their own poems using the Theme Poems interactive from ReadWriteThink. Explore language If you're anything like me, you struggle to teach students grammar in way that is motivational or memorable. Recommended sites If you're seeking to help students learn parts of speech, check out the Language Adventures from Gibbs Smith.


These highly engaging and hilarious books focus on discrete parts of speech through the incorporation of rhyme and humor, and later editions contain learning activities, definitions, and reproducibles related to the book's topics. One of my favorites is Getting Dressed , a wonderful poem featuring personification. In addition to the many poems she shares on the site, you can have her work for your very own in her newly published collection of poems titled Forest Has a Song.

Finally, check out this Figurative Language lesson on personification and alliteration from TeachersFirst. Recommended books Alphabest: The Zany, Zanier, Zaniest Book about Comparatives and Superlatives by Helaine Becker This probably isn't a poetry book, since each page contains just three words such as Fuzzy, Fuzzier, Fuzziest but it reads like poetry, and helps kids understand how adjectives can be changed to compare two or more things. Focus on facts Creating poetry is a wonderful way for students to share information they learned through class or independent study.

A sample from the book: Gold is the dome of the mosque, big and grand. Set a scene Before launching a science, social studies, or math unit, I often used poetry to set the scene.

Ways of Seeing Lesson Plans for Teachers

Recommended texts Water Sings Blue by Meilo So So, provides the denizens of the deep with their own voices, priming student curiosity about life in the ocean. Inspire writing If you're seeking ways to get students writing, poetry is an effective vehicle to transport them to success. In addition to Poetry Mentor Texts inspiring students to write their own verse, this book will also provide you with ideas for using poetry as a creative response format for other disciplines as well: Poetry shouldn't be just a part of the language arts curriculum.

See new perspectives One of poetry's transcendent powers is its ability to refocus, if not totally transform, our point of view. Recommended texts Make Magic! Do Good! Ignite curiosity Much has been said in educational texts about inquiry learning. Below is a sample poem, written in sonnet form: Top of the World mountain goats Atop a rocky peak, the air is pure, but the wind blows fierce and the climb is steep. Provide pleasure Okay, so you may think I cheated on this one. Recommended texts A Dog is a Dog by Stephen Shaskan This book is an incredibly simple, yet funny and clever book about a dog who may not be a dog at all, but perhaps instead a cat … or is it a squid?

Capture character Most of us have assigned biography reports, only later to be disappointed when some students fail to capture the greatness of the men and women they studied. Recommended sites Use the The Explorers' Graveyard lesson plan for sharing facts and findings when reading biographies. Recommended online tools for writing poetry Rhyme Brain isn't just another rhyming site; instead, it has three functions: rhyme creator, alliteration creator, and portmanteau creator.

The results for the latter two tools are pretty impressive, and lend themselves to some real playfulness with language. At WriteRhymes , it's as easy as "As you write, hold the alt key and click on a word to find a rhyme for it … " That's it. You can Copy, Save, or Print from the site. Recommended resources for poetry month Stenhouse Publishing has compiled a wonderful collection of poetry lesson plans and teaching ideas from about a dozen of their best-selling professional resources.

Check out the Poetry Sampler , available as a pdf download directly from the publisher. ReadWriteThink is a go-to resource if you're seeking poetry lesson plans complete with interactive or printable components. From the search page, you can narrow down the results by grade level, resource type, or popularity. If needed, here's an extensive glossary of poetry terms. I wish each term was accompanied by an example, but a good place to start regardless. If you can't find a term there, then you can likely find it in this Glossary of Poetic Terms. The Children's Poetry Archive is a wonderful collection of poems selected just for children, and read by their creators.

Tweenverse is a fun collection of poems by Richard Thomas. No activities included here, but you'll several of these to be perfect as mentor texts for helping students write verse to reflect on their own experiences. The Poets. Poetry for Tough Guys features poems written by Steven Micciche, mostly aimed at guys. Don't worry; it's still kid appropriate! Perhaps a good stop for reluctant boys to gain entry into verse. Keith Schoch Reprints You are welcome to print copies or republish materials for non-commercial use as long as credit is given to Reading Rockets and the author s.

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