Poem In Your Pocket Preview

It’s hard to believe that our month-long poetry celebration is coming to an end, but we’re going out in style. Tomorrow is Poem In Your Pocket Day. The teachers and I have worked with students to write and select poetry to carry in our pockets tomorrow. Poems were also placed in the lounge for faculty and staff to put in their pockets. Now, the media center is transformed into a poetry cafe and we have back-to-back classes the entire day to come and read poetry. Each table has a tablecloth, poetry books, battery-operated candle, and die-cuts. Students will enjoy a lollipop while listening to their peers and teachers read their poems. Here are some pictures to give you a sneak peek at what our poetry cafe will look like tomorrow.   We’ve encouraged everyone in the school (teachers, students, paraprofessionals, secretaries, custodians, lunchroom staff, EVERYONE!) to carry a poem tomorrow.  It’s going to be great.   See you tomorrow.

New Kate DiCamillo Book

I am so excited! As I was working on an author study for fourth grade today, I visit Kate DiCamillo’s website. Most of you know that she is my favorite author. To my delight, there was information about a new novel coming out in the Fall called The Magician’s Elephant. Kate even has the first chapter available to read on her site. There’s also a video of her reading the first chapter.  Can this get any better?  I really want to drop everything and read this chapter right now, but I have work to do. I’ll definitely read it tonight.

Poetry Slams and Photo Stories

Today fourth grade has been in the media center for the first half of the day. This morning they held a poetry slam where students read poems that they selected, poems they wrote, and poems that they added to. Many students memorized their poems and practiced public speaking and performing. Here’s a 27 minute video of their performances.

Later, Mrs. Cole’s class came and created short photo stories using self-drawn illustrations. Students read poems that they selected or poems that they wrote on their photo stories. Here are some examples:





Poetry Reading!

We would like to thank the UGA Athletic Association for selecting our school as one of the sites for their Mission Renewal Day. They donated 23 poetry books to our media center and came today to read the poetry in every classroom in the school. After reading the poetry, the readers assisted teachers and students in classrooms with creating poetry and other reading activities. Watch a video here of some of the readers reading poetry and working with students. It was a fantastic morning of celebrating poetry. Thanks to the UGA Athletic Association for promoting poetry during National Library Week and Poetry Month.

New Poetry Books

We just received a new shipment of poetry books for our media center thanks to a donation from the UGA Athletic Association and profits from our book fair. Guest readers are coming on Monday from UGA to share them with students. Here’s a list of the books and some possible uses for them in classrooms.

• Hummingbird Nest: a book written as a journal. Great for doing poetry about nature observations
• In the Spin of Things: a book about motion. A great tie-in with science, machines, and motion.
• Bone Poems: poems about dinosaurs.
• Today at the Bluebird Café: poems about birds
• A Poke in the I: concrete poems. There are many unique shape poems in this book. Some are complex. Great to show many ways of doing concrete (shape) poems.
• A Kick in the Head: a book filled with different forms of poetry. It tells about each form in the back. I love the “found” poem, which is where you look for poems in unexpected places (phonebook, street signs, newspaper, magazine, cereal box, etc)
• Earth Magic: poems about the Earth. Great tie-in with Earth Day and writing poems about conservation and the natural world.
• Monarch’s Progress: All poems about butterflies, monarchs, and migration.
• If the Shoe Fits Voices from Cinderella: Poems from many perspectives in Cinderella tales. A great way to write a collection of poems from many different points of view.
• Birds on a Wire: a collection of renga poems (ancient Japanese verse where poets take turns adding verses)
• Winter Eyes: poems about winter
• Hey You! Poems to Skyscrapers, Mosquitoes, and Other Fun Things: poems written specifically to different objects. Good for thinking about letter writing in a poem form.
• Wing Nuts Screwy Haiku: not your traditional haiku. These are like haiku but they break the rules. A great way to show that not all poets follow the rules of poetic form.
• Behind the Museum Door: a collection of poems about museums. Good for showing how to write a collection of poems about a particular thing or place.
• A Pocketful of Poems: short poems. Good for showing
• Zig Zag Zoems for Zindergarten: poems that focus on being in Kindergarten. Good for thinking about poems from school experience.
• The Place My Words are Looking For: a collection of poems from many great poets and each poet tells about what poetry is for them. A great way to learn where poets get their inspiration.
• Thanks a Million: poems of thanks written for various people and things. A great way to write “thank you’s” to someone in a poem form (even our guest readers)
• Once Around the Sun: a poem about each month of the year.
• Yum! Mmmm! Que Rico! America’s Sprouting: haiku about food. It tells about each food and where it comes from/how it’s used. A great way to show how to write a poem and also include information writing.
• Frankenstein Takes the Cake: poems about monsters
• Silver Seeds: a book a acrostic poems
• Once Upon a Tomb: a book of epitaphs for gravestones. A great way to write a short poem and create your own dead poet grave yard.
• Monumental Verses: poems about famous landmarks. A great way to tie in social studies and write poems about GPS places/landmarks.
• The Great Frog Race: another collection of nature-inspired poems with great examples of personification and similes.
• Knock on Wood: poems about superstitions
• Thirteen Moons on a Turtle’s Back: poems about a Native American year. Another good tie-in to GPS social studies.
• Read a Rhyme Write a Rhyme: gives examples of poems and then includes a writing activity (your lesson is done!). It gives possibilities of how to start the poem and possible rhyming words to use.
• Hey You C’Mere a Poetry Slam: fun poems for reading aloud.
• Mural on Second Avenue and Other City Poems: poems about the city.
• Come with Me: poems for a journey
• Falling Down the Page: a book of list poems. Gives a great description about how poets write list poems and is filled with fun examples. A great way to have students create a list of words and then add rich description to them to create a poem.
• Honey, I love: the book that Deborah Wiles referred to in her lessons with students.
• A Foot in the Mouth: poems to speak, sing, and shout.
• Jazz: a collection of poems all about jazz. Great to tie in to jazz music and people.
• Flamingos on the Roof: poems about people in an apartment building. Great for writing a collection of poems about what happens inside one building.
• One Leaf Rides the Wind: a Japanese counting book
• City Love: poems about the city
Pieces a Year in Poems and Quilts: poems about the seasons

Poetry Lessons

Today I did a poetry lesson with Mrs. Cole’s 4th grade class. We looked at a variety of books that used personification, but we also studied list poems from Georgia Heard’s new collection, Falling Down the Page. Students voted on writing a list poem or a free form poem that used personification. They chose free form! Here is their poem and a video of their poetry reading.

I also taught another concrete poetry lesson with Kindergarten, but we stretched ourselves as writers in this lesson.  We wrote a poem about a lamp.  First, we made a list of all of the parts of a lamp and then I drew our picture.  Then, the students started thinking of words that described each part.  I wrote the words onto the shape as they said them.  Here’s a picture of our poems, but I also typed them for your enjoyment.


By Mrs. Cole’s Class

I fall down the rocks

Roaring in fear as I fall

to the water below

Boom! Boom! I hit the river floor

I’m wet and cold and have no pulse

Fishes flying through me

Fishes tickle me

Water sliding down slippery rocks

I swoosh and I fall



By Mrs. Boyle’s Class

Soft, Scary

Dark, Bright


Pull switch

Smooth, skinny




Kindergarten Poem: A Book Is….

poetryMrs. Carney’s class came to the media center today and studied concrete poetry. Concrete poetry takes on the shape of what it’s about. As a class, we created a poem about a book. Although the version in this blog doesn’t look like a book, our poem that we wrote together on the Smart Board filled the shape of a book (see the picture in this post).   To write this poem, we read lots of concrete poems.  Then, the students brainstormed possible topics.  After choosing “book” as our topic, we made a list of possible lines.  Finally, we chose lines from our list to include in our poem.  Enjoy!

A Book Is…
By Mrs. Carney’s Class

A book is…

a poem
our imagination
an adventure
a story
made out of wood
a cover filled with words
A book is…
A book!

Personification Poems

Today Mrs. Selleck’s class visited the media center and studied poems that used personification. We used a lot of poems from Dirty Laundry Pile: Poems in Different Voices selected by Paul B. Janeczko. We also wrote a poem together called Shoe. Students chose the topic and various students gave lines to include in the poem. After we wrote together, students individually crafted their own poems and shared at tables and with the whole group. Here is a video of some of their sharing.

Shoe by Mrs. Selleck’s Class

As I flip flop around
and my hands hit the floor
I’m not tied anymore
Take me off and rest your feet
So I can rest again
I hate smelling the stinky socks
Now I’m tired
And your feet smell!
I hate it when the giants
smash me on the ground.
Occasionally, I see pink, round blobs.
I walk on four legs
but not like a dog.
Tall and Thin.

Battle of the Books

Our 5th grade Battle of the Books team competed today in the Clarke County School District Battle fo the Books. Thirteen elementary schools competed in two preliminary rounds of questioning. Our team, Whit Davis Elementary, and Timothy Road Elementary made it into the final battle. It was an extremely close match, but we are happy to announce that Barrow Elementary won the CCSD Battle of the Books for this year. The trophy now sits in our media center for one year until the next battle is held in 2010. Congratulations again to Neal, Jared, Chow Chow, Nicole, and Serena. Thanks for reading so carefully and representing our school so well!