Sunday, March 30, 2014

A Pocketful of Poetry for Poetry Month

Keep A Poem In Your Pocket

By Beatrice Schenk de Regniers

Keep a poem in your pocket

And a picture in your head
And you'll never feel lonely
At night when you're in bed.

The little poem will sing to you

The little picture bring to you
A dozen dreams to dance to you
At night when you're in bed.

So - -

Keep a picture in your pocket
And a poem in your head
And you'll never feel lonely
At night when you're in bed.

I really enjoy using this poem to introduce poetry month (April).  It's a nice tool for explaining to young poets how a poem is able to "paint a picture in your mind."  Poems are so special because of their short nature.  The poet must pay careful thought to EACH and EVERY word in a poem in order to achieve the precise feelings and imagery sought.  We are talking pretty heavy stuff here!  Can you tell I have been reading Lucy Calkins?

To celebrate poetry month, I start by making sure each of my young readers (for those of you that don't know, I teach a combination of first and second graders in an innovation school) have a book of poems in their browsing boxes.  They love this.  Among my favorites are Jack Prelutsky and Shel Sliverstein, of course.  I let them "book shop" for their own poems even though some may be a little bit off with their reading levels.  Shhhhhhhhhhhhh!

I also celebrate an addition to our Morning Meeting routine.  I place a poem of the day on my morning message easel.  We share it after we read the morning message and solve my riddle/joke of the day.  After we choral read the poem, I ask my students what do they think, feel or notice.  This question is vague and open ended, but I do this on purpose.  I want my young poets to discuss what the poem means to them, NOT to me.

In addition to these two new routines, I put out my Pocketful of Poetry center and resources.  It includes 18 task cards good for any poem.  Students simply select a poem and respond to the task card on the stationary provided.  Tasks include searching for rhyme, figurative language and themes.  They also include writing a critique, discussing the poem's setting, visualizing and discussing feelings.  

I also use my cards for sharing poems to change up the way we read poems with partners, in a small group, during guided reading, etc.  We experiment with choral singing, cumulative choral reading, line-a-child reading, call and response reading, dialogue reading, impromptu reading and refrain reading.  All of these cards (with what they mean) are available as part of my Pocketful of Poetry resource.

For my second graders, or advanced firsties, they take some time to look at a poem in a more technical manner using my Pocketful of Poetry Student Glossary.  They hunt through a poem and answer the questions provided with help of the glossary (written in child friendly language).  The items include rhyming pattern, rhythm, author's purpose, speaker, descriptive language, figures of speech, summaries, audience and critiquing.  This part of my poetry study can be done over, and over again.  Once I model the steps whole class, it's a great "What to Do When You Are Done" activity.

I did want to share some pics of my putting together this product over the weekend.  I made it last year, but am finally implementing it this year in my classroom.  I'm a busy guy; things take time you know.  

Here I went printing away.  This took awhile as there are a lot of pages in this resource.  


Next up was laminating and cutting, laminating and cutting--repeat.  I have my own personal laminator at home and another personal laminator at school.  I was tired of transporting them back and forth.  I'm not the only one with two, right?

I had a mini-3D display board that a colleague gave to me last year (Thank you, Judith).  She knew I would find something to do with it and, and she wasn't joking.  I had some extra chevron borders from September, so I glue-gunned them to make a fun border that matches the heading banner pocket.  

I used Velcro patches to attach the pockets to the display.  I attached the task cards this way so that the poets could grab a pocket and a poem, take both to their seats and get right to work.  When done, they would just place the pocket back on the display.  I numbered the board so they would match the numbered pocket back up appropriately.

And this, folks, is what you call my classroom-bound, finished product. 

Stop on by my TpT store for a detailed description of this product by clicking HERE.  Happy poetry month!  What do you do to celebrate?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Mr. Giso's Room to Read Bright Idea #14

Make a Set of Stacking City, Country and State Cups

Well it's certainly been busy, busy, busy since we came back from February vacation.  For those of you unfamiliar with this New England custom, we have a week off for President's Day.  Spring is here, but is definitely NOT in the air, for we are getting snow and maybe a (fingers crossed) two hour snow delay tomorrow.  I have been battling a three week sore throat--along with my students and colleagues as well.  YUCK!

I started our mini unit in social studies covering "City, Country and State" today with reading the all familiar book, Me on the Map by Joan Sweeny.  If you have not used it before to introduce this concept, you don't know what you are missing.  In this book, we trace the many global "addresses" of a young girl from Kansas.  Students are easily introduced to the theme that "we live in many places."  The sequence of events build from the immediate location of the character (her room) to the entire world in this sequence.
•my room
•my home
•my street
•my city/town
•my state
•my country
•my world

From this read aloud, I continue my introduction by demonstrating this concept a step further using a set of those baby/toddler stacking cups.  For this concrete model, I label the following using a permanent marker--starting with the smallest cup.
•city or town
I know this varies slightly from Me on the Map, but I prefer to include the terms continent and planet (rather than world).  As you can see, a set of these eight stacking cups works nicely.  My young geographers can stack and unstack the cups saying their address, their state, their country, etc.  It's great practice whole class, small group, with a partner or independently.

After this introduction, I make a flip book that I have customized to our city, state, etc.  It's done with good old cutting out pictures and permanent marker.  Sorry, I would love to post it for you.  I did, however, really enjoy coming across these two ideas.  Look at these nesting cans featured on Teach Beside Me's blog.

You can also download (for free!!!) this concentric circle idea from Courtney Quinlan by clicking HERE.

Please share other ideas you have on teaching this popular social studies concept.  I'd really enjoying hearing about them.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

It's a Mrs. Wishy-Washy Kind of Sunday!

 Happy Sunday folks.  I'm excited to share Hameray Publishing's celebration of Mrs. Wishy-Washy and all her funny farm antics.  As you may know, I contribute to their Classroom Literacy Blog.  Check out my posts, to date, by clicking HERE.  Who doesn't love Joy Cowley's Mrs. Wishy-Washy and all of her adventures with her friends the Cow, Duck and Pig?  Like her, I have an obsession with cleanliness and have no luck keeping my floors clean in this New England wintery weather.  My dogs, Toby and Winston, do a number on my house.  They are pros at tracking in the snow and mud on a clean hardwood floor.

The rhyme, rhythm and repetition common in Cowley's books are great for my younger readers.  When high frequency words are introduced, they are done nicely in context to promote automaticity.  I like how the story structure of a Mrs. Wishy-Washy adventure is linear and comical--perfect for introducing my readers to the problem and solution in fictional texts.  As a series, my readers gravitate towards filling their browsing boxes with her tales when book shopping for independent reading material.

Mrs. Wishy-Washy, along with her husband, make us laugh.  Her barnyard friends make me chuckle when the pretend to be sleeping when it's time to take a bath.  It's adorable when a mirror is introduced to the characters for the first time.  I enjoy a good mystery and am eager to find out what happened to all Mrs. Wishy-Washy's corn.  All of these familiar plot lines are favorites among my students too.

To celebrate, I'd like to share Hameray's Mrs. Wishy-Washy Contest.  Enter it by clicking HERE.  All you need to do is follow a few simple steps to win books, puppets and more.

I'm also offering up a little contest of my own thanks to the folks at Hameray--the chance to win a title chosen at random from the Mrs. Wishy-Washy Big Book collection mailed to you.  Sorry, but you need to live in the 48 contiguous states to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Mrs. Wishy-Washy is on Facebook, so be sure to shoot her a "like."
For more information on Hameray's outstanding literature collections, find them on Twitter, Pinterest, or Facebook.  Have a good week and do Mrs. Wishy-Washy a favor and STAY OUT OF THE MUD!

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