Sunday, May 20, 2012

Poetry Unit Part II

I posted a blog at Pre K and K Sharing during April, which was poetry month. I promised some people that I would post my continuation of my poetry unit and also share what I do throughout the whole school year with poetry! 

So here it is: Poetry Unit Part II and more!! 

Well, we moved on to tongue twisters and riddles. I start by telling students they are going to learn some fun tongue twisters. The usual response is: "What is a tongue twister"? So I explain to them that tongue twisters are sentences or verses that much like a poem and they are really hard to say...many of the words begin with the same sound or similar sounds and when we try to say them, our tongue gets twisted in our mouths and it makes it hard to say! I then share some fun, well known tongue twisters such as: How Much Wood Could a Woodchuck Chuck? Sally Sells Seashells, and Peter Pipe picked a pack of pickled peppers. Some of the kiddos will pipe up and say, "I know this one!" And they enjoy learning the new ones and trying to say them better than I do! And the best part, is that they are practicing their verbal agility and their ability to articulate certain sound sequences!  

After introducing some tongue twisters, I begin to read riddles from our various riddle books. I teach the kiddos how riddles work: First we have to have an "answer", an answer is the topic, or what our riddle is about. Once we have that then we have to come up with THREE clues that DESCRIBE what our riddle is about. Last we have to ask the question, "Who am I?" or "What am I". I write several examples in front of the students and let them answer them. Then we write a couple together. Once the students start to feel a little more confident, I pull the boys out into the hallway (while my aide stays in the room with the girls) and we come up with a riddle to try to trick the girls. The following day, I take out the girls and we write a riddle to try to trick the boys. Also, throughout the week, I write a riddle of the day. The students read it, then answer it and this is how I take attendance in the morning.  

The riddles lead us right into our zoo/farm unit where the kiddos will write their own riddles about a zoo animal. I give each student a brown paper sack with a Beanie Baby in it. Their job is to peek inside the bag and write a riddle about that animal. Then I pair up the kiddos and they read their riddles to each other. Their partner has to guess what animal their partner wrote their riddle about! We then hang our riddles up on the lockers. I tell the kiddos to write their answers on the back so when someone stops by to read their riddle, they can check and see if they guessed correctly! Here are my kiddos writing their animal riddles and sharing them!

I then put the riddle writing paper in the writing center so that students could write their own poems during centers or during choice time! The riddle paper is a half sheet of paper, with a place for the students Name, three lines for their three clues and a line with a question mark so they will remember to ask their question at the very end. To get a copy just click here

Get on your time travel gear...
We are entering my time travel machine 
and heading back to the beginning of the school year now.




 And here we are safely back at the beginning of the school year in my classroom! I had always taught poetry in my classroom when I first started teaching but thanks to a dear friend and colleague, about 2-3 years ago,  I started P.I.G. folders in my classroom. P.I.G. stands for Poetry is Great! It is a three prong folder where students keep every poem that we do throughout the school year! We do one poem per week where I teach them various skills such as letters, sounds, rhyming, syllables, alliteration, sight words, vocabulary words, acting, ordinal numbers, and many other skills. Each Friday, I give the students a copy of the poem and they glue it into their P.I.G, folder. Then we go through and highlight the letter or sight word that we focused on throughout the week. This way, when they go home, their parents know what we have been working on and ask their child about it. Also, so the students will remember what we worked on. then students draw a picture to go with their poem. This helps with making those text connections. This folder goes home every Friday and parents sign at the bottom to let me know that their child has read the poem to them. Then they send it back on Monday. I have students keep their P.I.G folders in their book boxes during the week to read.  This is part of their familiar reading. Here is an example of one of our poems in the poetry folder...

I usually choose poems that go with the season, holidays or our theme! This year, however, I changed it up and used sight word poems to really teach the sight words that are assessed on the report card. This made a HUGE difference in their ability to read those sight words consistently! 

Another great idea that I got from a friend/colleague was to "act out" the poems. I used to only do this when I would do a poem like "Five Little Pumpkins" or "Five Little Reindeer" or the finger-plays,  but I now love to do it with the nursery rhymes and other poems that allow! After introducing, reading through the poem a few times, and discussing key vocabulary words, I randomly choose students to come up and act it out. (I of course, have talked to students about what acting is and I have given them several examples in the past). I have the students come up to act it out, I do not give them any help but just tell them to remember what we talked about and as the rest of us read the poem, their job is to act! 

Poem/Nursery Rhyme: Little Miss Muffet
Key vocabulary words to discuss: Tuffet, curds, whey, beside, frightened

After we discuss those key vocabulary words, students are encouraged to give ideas of what they could do when acting out the poem. Then I pull 1-2 (depending if I want an actor for the spider) names from the cup and have those students act it out! 

Many times, I choose poems that students can sing, and they tend to LOVE those type of poems. I taught them two poems written my Alan Katz and my students still sing them to this day! They even got a chance to perform them during Poetry Month! The two poems are "Stinky Stinky Diaper Change" and "Take Me Out of the Bathtub". If you don't have Alan Katz's book, you must get it! 

POETRY; it fills our lives with rhyme and laughter, love and sorrow, happiness and joy! Share it with your students and they will learn to appreciate it too! 

To get a copy of my P.I.G. folder cover, parent letter and parent sign off sheet, just click on them! 
Download it and open it in Word, then you can edit it with the font that you want! If it doesn't work, feel free to email me at:

1 comment:

  1. Another great post, Carie! I love to hear about what you doing in your classroom! Jill