Entries Tagged 'Poetry' ↓
November 18th, 2013 — Poetry, Writing Games & Activities
FROM read-aloud books to television jingles to crazy tongue twisters, rhyming words can instruct or entertain kids of all ages. Let your kids try this rhyming poetry game, and see how much they learn while they’re busy playing with words!
In this game, children become beggar poets who earn their living by creating clever word pairs and short rhyming poems. If one of your youngsters has a hard time finding words, don’t wait until he’s frustrated—let him think for a few minutes, then help him choose from a word list in a rhyming dictionary.
You need currency for this game, so pick something you have plenty of on hand. You could use:
- Pennies and nickels
- Monopoly money
- Bright buttons, beads, dried beans, or even paperclips!
Now, prepare a list of words your children must rhyme—at least four words for each child. Take age into consideration when writing your word list:
- One-syllable words for kindergarteners and first graders (see, cry, bug, light)
- Two-syllable words for second and third graders (raccoon, singing, couches, cuddle)
- Three-syllable words for fourth, fifth, and sixth graders (lemonade, telescope, underground, evergreen)
A Penny, Please: Rhyming Words
The game begins with a lively conversation. Feel free to catch up on washing dishes or folding laundry while you recite your pairt:
Children: Rhymes for sale! Rhymes for sale!
Mom: Little beggars, what do you want today?
Children: We’re selling rhymes! Haven’t you heard? Do you need a rhyme for your favorite word?
Mom: Let me see…. I do need a rhyme for “bug.”
Children: Rug! Snug! Plug! Pug!
Mom: Thank you, that’s just what I needed today. Here are pennies for everyone.
A Dollar Earned: Rhyming Poems
Now, ask each child to write a short rhyming poem with the word pairs they just created. Suggest one of these simple rhyme patterns:
I open my eyes and suddenly see (A)
A creature staring back at me. (A)
Six tiny legs make others cry (B)
But I am brave–my eyes are dry. (B)
Before I catch this tiny bug, (C)
It starts to run across the rug. (C)
Then I flip on the amber light (D)
And, oh! That gives my bug a fright! (D)
I dreamed I was a silly raccoon (A)
In moonlit branches singing. (B)
I laughed at lightning, thunder, monsoon, (A)
And in the trees kept swinging. (B)
My raccoon house had comfy couches (C)
Where little raccoons could cuddle. (D)
Our blankets were in sturdy pouches, (C)
Until I dropped them in a puddle. (D)
AAB CCB DDB
I bought a pint of lemonade– (A)
Just before the big parade– (A)
And hid it underground. (B)
You looked into your telescope (C)
And watched for deals on cantaloupe (C)
But fruit was nowhere to be found. (B)
We climbed a sturdy evergreen (D)
And shared the milk from my canteen (D)
With chocolate to go around. (B)
A Poet’s Reward
When a child completes his rhyming poem, pay a “dollar” in return. It doesn’t matter if the poems are silly or fanciful. The goal of this poetry game is to teach a love for words and a better grasp of syllables and meter.
Finally, your beggar poets have earned their day’s wages. Let them buy lunch, snacks, or desserts from your kitchen. And, while they’re busy munching away, encourage them to think of words for Mom to rhyme tomorrow!
Discover Other Poetry Lessons
How to Write a Cinquain Poem
How to Write a Diamante Poem
How to Write Haiku
How to Write a Cento (Patchwork) Poem
Daniella Dautrich is a WriteShop alumna and a graduate of Hillsdale College. She and her husband fill their home with books on writing, literature, and computer science. Daniella also blogs at www.waterlilywriter.com.
June 5th, 2013 — Poetry, Writing & Journal Prompts
Slip in some summer writing by having your children create an acrostic poem! Each line can be one word, a phrase, or a sentence. See how creative you can be! Afterwards, illustrate your acrostics or decorate the page with photos cut from a magazine.
Click the image above to download the prompt. If you would like to share this prompt with others, link to this post. Do not link directly to the PDF file. Feel free to print this PDF file for your own personal use. Please do not sell or host these files anywhere else.
Here’s a link to May’s printable writing prompt, and be sure to check back each week for more Writing Prompt Wednesdays!
May 27th, 2013 — Poetry, Quotations
O! thus be it ever when freemen shall stand,
Between their lov’d home, and the war’s desolation,
Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the Heav’n rescued land,
Praise the Power that hath made and preserv’d us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto – “In God is our Trust;”
And the star-spangled Banner in triumph shall wave,
O’er the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.
~ Fourth Stanza of “The Defence of Fort McHenry”
Francis Scott Key wrote “The Defence of Fort McHenry” during the War of 1812. The Baltimore Patriot published the poem on September 20, 1814. A congressional resolution declared these famous words – now known as “The Star-Spangled Banner” – to be our official national anthem on March 3, 1931.
This Memorial Day, we gratefully remember all those who have given their lives defending our country and our freedom.
April 22nd, 2013 — High school, Poetry
WHEN you think of free verse poetry, do words like modern, unfamiliar, or even scary come to mind? It’s probably because much of modern poetry is either too confusing or too graphic.
The good news is that some poets have combined the best of literary talent and historic research, and their work is too good to pass up! That’s why I am recommending Margarita Engle and her free verse novel The Poet Slave of Cuba for our April celebration of National Poetry Month.
This is the story of Juan Francisco Manzano, a talented boy growing up on the sugar plantations of nineteenth-century Spanish Cuba. His greatest curse—and his greatest blessing—is this: he is the Poeta-Esclavo, the Poet Slave.
Engle’s book masterfully portrays the tragic struggles and sweet triumphs of a slave culture in the not-so-distant past. The stories, while tastefully drawn, do portray human suffering in a stark, startling manner. For that reason, this book is recommended for high school, or perhaps junior high at the parent’s discretion. As you read this book, keep in mind the following tips for teaching free verse poetry.
1. Compare Free Verse Poetry with Prose
Poets usually write free verse poetry using grammatical, non-rhyming sentences. Their free verse stanzas might look deceptively similar to prose. Help your children understand the difference between poetry and everyday prose using this exercise:
- Choose a stanza from The Poet Slave or other poem. Example: I am the big brother of two freeborn babies, twins / a brother and sister, my own / free, so free, / while I am not.
- Ask your child to rewrite the stanza in their own words, using as few words as possible. Example: I am older than my baby brother and sister. They are twins. Both of them are free, but I am not free.
- Read the two versions out loud until your children can hear the difference.
2. Read Aloud to Understand Lines and Pauses
A line in a free verse poem can be as long as a sentence or as short as a single word. Poets put great care into making each line the perfect length to convey a thought or a feeling. Teach your children about pauses at the end of lines by taking turns reading aloud:
- Practice breathing at the end of lines, not in the middle of them.
- Take shorter pauses at the line break when a sentence in one line is continued in the next.
- Take longer pauses at the line break when the two lines have separate thoughts.
You may also enjoy a more in-depth discussion of stanzas and line breaks in free verse poetry.
3. Identify Imagery and Themes
In The Poet Slave, references to feathers, wings, and birds start appearing in the very first stanza. This poem, however, is not about birds. The story is about a mind, soul, and body longing to be free. Note how the imagery (feathers, wings) and the theme (freedom) are closely tied together.
When you study free verse poetry, help your children identify the key images in the poem. Ask them to keep a list of ways these images are used. Most importantly, help them see the parallels between the imagery and the overarching theme.
4. Watch for Alliteration
In The Poet Slave, the proud Marquesa says:
They flicker all around him, like fireflies in the night.
This is an example of alliteration. This poetic device is fun to find—and even more fun to read. Keep an eye out for alliteration when reading free verse poetry.
5. Listen for Sound Patterns
Teach your children to be aware of sound patterns in free verse poetry. Interesting sound patterns show up when the words in a poem mimic the sounds in the story. We can almost feel la Marquesa slowly exhaling when she says:
The sight of so much invisible music
makes me sigh.
6. Try a Hands-On Experience
The Poet Slave of Cuba offers a first-person glimpse of a house slave’s world: the central courtyard, the tiled floor mosaics, the delicate blooms of tuberose and jasmine. When you read a free verse poem with your children, try to find real-world examples of things in the poem. For example:
- The art enthusiasts in your family will appreciate making a mosaic with brightly colored scraps of paper.
- If you live in California or Florida, you might visit a historic Spanish-style home such as the Casa de Rancho Cucamonga.
7. Make a Character Study
A character study can be as informal as a lunchtime discussion between you and your child. It can include a T-Chart to compare the inner qualities of two characters in the story. Or, you may assign a character study essay. Your older child will choose one person in the poem (such as Juan) and write about how he learns to overcome his own character flaws.
For example, the poet slave Juan is surrounded by superstition from an early age, and he sometimes wishes that he knew how to pray. His journey into manhood teaches him not only about faith in God, but also about the true meaning of mercy.
I hope you’re excited to try a study of free verse poetry with your family, and especially your high schoolers! If you want to start with a shorter poem, try one of these classics:
Daniella Dautrich is a WriteShop alumna and a graduate of Hillsdale College. She and her husband fill their home with books on writing, literature, and computer science. Daniella blogs at www.waterlilywriter.wordpress.com.
April 15th, 2013 — Poetry
THIS THURSDAY, April 18, is Poem in Your Pocket Day. It’s a day when ordinary folks do unusual, unexpected things . . . when beautiful and noble thoughts are hidden away just out of sight, tucked inside a common exterior (in this case, probably denim). All this reminds me of one of my favorite heroes: The Scarlet Pimpernel.
If you and your family have not yet read the classic novel by Baroness Orczy, run to the library right now because you’re in for a treat. Then, why not join me in making Poem in Your Pocket Day 2013 a day to remember – Scarlet Pimpernel style!
Choose a Verse for Poem in Your Pocket Day
If possible, visit the home of an old, mysterious relative. Ask to see their library, and pull the oldest book of poetry off of the dustiest bookshelf you can find. A yellowed page with long-forgotten pressed flowers should provide the perfect passage for Poem in Your Pocket Day.
Or, consider one of these ideas:
Write It Down
Now it’s time to copy your poem by hand (using a quill pen, of course). For an extra splash of adventure, try one of these projects on for size:
- Write your poem on a white piece of paper, and carefully fold it into a square note. Then, ask an experienced adult to singe the edges with a match, candle, or stove flame. Now, it will appear that you have saved a precious poem from destruction by fire.
- Make a tiny scroll. Write down your poem, roll the paper tightly, and tie it with a red ribbon. Others might just believe that you are carrying a royal announcement in your coat lining.
- Make a tiny book. If you feel especially inspired, give it a cloth cover (leather or silk are preferred). Write one line of your poem on each page. Now, dip the edge of each page in water. This will make your pocket poetry book appear to be a relic of several long ocean voyages.
What to Do With It
The whole point of Poem in Your Pocket Day is to share the wonder and grace of poetry with others.
You can always share your poem selection on Twitter—the modern, up-to-date way—using the hashtag #pocketpoem. However, I think the Scarlet Pimpernel would have especially approved of the following methods:
- Mail your poem to a dear and faraway friend. Tell your friend that you carried this poem in your pocket for a whole day, and you thought of your friend every hour.
- Place your poem in a sea-worthy bottle, and set the bottle afloat. Someday, someone will find this beautiful poem, and wonder for years to come about the person who sent it.
- Read your poem and say it to yourself until you have it memorized. When someone asks about your day at the dinner table, you can reply something like this:
I went out to the hazel wood, / Because a fire was in my head, / And cut and peeled a hazel wand, / And hooked a berry to a thread; / And when white moths were on the wing, / And moth-like stars were flickering out, / I dropped the berry in a stream / And caught a little silver trout. (William Butler Yeats, “The Song of a Wandering Aengus”)
You can also check out these Poem in Your Pocket Day ideas.
How will you celebrate Poem in Your Pocket Day 2013? Leave a comment and let us know if you joined in on the fun!
Daniella Dautrich is a WriteShop alumna and a graduate of Hillsdale College. She and her husband fill their home with books on writing, literature, and computer science. Daniella blogs at www.waterlilywriter.wordpress.com.
This post may contain affiliate links. Read our full disclosure policy.
May 9th, 2012 — Holiday & Seasonal Ideas, Poetry
MOTHER’S DAY is right around the corner. Time for breakfast in bed, roses, homemade cards, and extra snuggles!
There’s just one teeny-weeny problem: unless your children are self-motivated (or Dad’s on the ball), you may find yourself pouring your own orange juice, quietly weeping into the pancake batter, and emailing yourself a sappy e-card to mark the occasion!
Instead, be proactive and ask your children to write or create something special for you for Mother’s Day. Whether it’s a letter, essay, card, poem, or simple crafty gift, it will bring you joy to bask in your children’s sentiments on your special day!
Mother’s Day Writing Prompts
Journaling about Mother’s Day can help your kids focus on the important role of motherhood. Whether they write about special times you’ve shared together or ways you show love to your family, your kids may gain a better appreciation of what it means to be a mom.
Type up, print, and cut out the following prompts. Tell your children how much you love getting special notes and letters from them, and invite them to choose the prompt(s) they want to write about. Make craft supplies and fancy paper available in case they also want to create a card.
- Tell why you love your mom.
- Explain how you know your mom loves you.
- Tell how you know your mother loves being a mom.
- Write about some important things you have learned from your mom.
- What are some things you can do to make your mom’s life easier?
- What do you think is the hardest part about being a mom?
- If you could give your mom anything in the world for Mother’s Day, what would it be?
- Describe something that made your mom really happy.
- Write about five things a good mom must do.
- How can you tell when your mom is proud of you?
- Write a list of 10 things you appreciate about your mom.
- What are three of your favorite things about your mom? Write about them.
- Why is it important to celebrate your mom with her own special day?
- Write a prayer thanking God for the things that make your mother special.
Mother’s Day Poems
- Write a cinquain or haiku poem about mothers (or about your mom).
- Write an acrostic poem about your mom using the letters in the word “MOTHER.” Older kids might enjoy the challenge of using all the letters in “HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY,” while younger ones can write a simpler acrostic using “MOM” or “LOVE.”
- Ask a young child to think of words that describe you (soft, huggable, kind, loving, beautiful, warm, friendly). Then have her compare some of those traits to familiar things. For example, she might say, “Mommy is as soft as a marshmallow.” Help her create a simile poem like this one:
Mommy is as sweet as _______.
Mommy is as gentle as _______.
Mommy is as huggable as _______.
My mommy is ________.
Mother’s Day Cards and Crafts
I realize it may be hard to actually ask your kids to make you a Mother’s Day card or gift, but maybe you can hint to your husband or teen to organize younger children to make one of these fun crafts!
No matter how your family celebrates you, I pray each of my mom friends enjoys a special Mother’s Day surrounded by those you love the most.
. . . . .
What was your most memorable Mother’s Day? OR, what is the most special Mother’s Day gift you’ve received?
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy.
April 25th, 2012 — Poetry
TOMORROW IS April 26, and that means it’s the fabulous Poem in Your Pocket Day!
The idea is simple: select a poem you love during National Poetry Month then carry it with you to share with co-workers, family, and friends on April 26. “Poems from pockets will be unfolded throughout the day with events in parks, libraries, schools, workplaces, and bookstores. ~Poet.org
Ideas to Try
I love these little-known but oh-so-celebratory holidays, and there are many clever ways to embrace Poem in Your Pocket Day! With a little bit of simple preparation today, you’ll be all set to celebrate tomorrow.
- Keep a short poem in your pocket. Look at it often and memorize it.
- Type up and print some favorite poems and pass them out in your community.
- Distribute bookmarks with your favorite immortal lines.
- Post a poem on your blog or social networking page.
- Add a poem to your email footer.
- Text a poem to friends.
- Tweet a poem using the hashtag #pocketpoem.
SHARE! What poem will you keep in your pocket on April 26?
April 24th, 2012 — Poetry
AS WE continue celebrating National Poetry Month, I’d like to share a few more great (and free) online resources with you.
Poetry-Writing Workshop with Karla Kuskin – Children’s poet Karla Kuskin helps children turn their words and ideas into descriptive and powerful poems.
Ms. Kuskin includes writing tips that she uses when she writes her own poems, as well as ideas children can use to revise their work.
10 Compelling Reasons to Memorize Poetry – Memorizing a poem can be one of the most fulfilling and fun ways to explore poetry.
10 Classic Poems - Some of the world’s most popular classic poems
Poetry Foundation – Browse for poems by title, poet, or subject matter such as ”Animals” or “Stars, Planets, Heavens” (both found in the Nature category).
Poetry in Homeschool - Need help incorporating poetry into your homeschooling? Jimmie of Jimmie’s Collage shares ideas, resources, and links.
Poetry-writing Tips for Children (or anyone!) – Plus a bonus list of 20 poetry anthologies to browse
Interactive Word Mover - Using this online too that’s similar to magnetic words, children can move individual words around to create original poems.
Poetry + Letter Writing = Fun
Not only is April National Poetry Month, it’s aslo National Card and Letter-Writing Month! Here are two ideas for incorporating poetry and letter writing.
Write a Letter to a Poet - Let the poets who you are reading know that you appreciate their work by sending them a letter.
Put a Poem in a Letter – Next time you send a letter or holiday hello, treat the addressee to a poem as well. You can put a poem directly into the text of your letter or include a typed or handwritten copy in the envelope.
Have you ever memorized a poem? What is one of your favorites?
April 16th, 2012 — Poetry
I’m excited to welcome Mystie Winckler as a guest blogger today as we continue celebrating National Poetry Month. You can follow Mystie’s musings at her own blog, Simply Convivial.
POETRY IS a wonderful component to add to our homeschools. It develops language patterns, listening skills, and complex thinking ability. Andrew Pudewa writes:
There is perhaps no greater tool than memorization to seal language patterns into a human brain, and there is perhaps nothing more effective than poetry to provide exactly what we want: reliably correct and sophisticated language patterns.
But poetry can also be intimidating.
Here are some simple steps that my family has taken to incorporate poetry:
Particularly when the children are elementary and younger, focus on introducing and enjoying poems together. Don’t worry about analysis or interpretation or even comprehension. Just let them experience and enjoy poetry at their own level.
Allow the time and space for love and taste to develop before teaching content and analysis. Then the analysis in later years will be more like sharing thoughts about common friends and less like dissecting a dead frog.
Mystie Winckler is a wife, mother, homemaker, and home-educator. Mystie has been married for ten years to her only sweetheart, Matt, a software programmer and web developer; both Matt & Mystie were homeschool graduates themselves. Now they raise & educate their four-going-on-five children. Mystie blogs at Simply Convivial on homemaking, home-educating, reading, and organizing.
April 9th, 2012 — Poetry
APRIL IS National Poetry Month. Here at In Our Write Minds, I’m posting a different poetry activity or tip list each week to help you incorporate more poetry into your homeschooling.
Pick one or two of these activities to do with your children to celebrate this special literary month. Together, discover the joy of poetry!
1. Write Magnetic Poems
Put up a magnet board (a cookie sheet works great) with magnetic words and encourage family members to create their own poems. Get them started by reading short poems together and posting some of them near the magnet board.
Check out these fun magnetic word kits:
2. Enter a Poetry Contest
Encourage your budding poets to enter a contest. Here are several to consider:
Warning: There are lots of poetry contests out there, but they’re not all worth entering. Steer clear of bad poetry contests!
3. Hit the Library
April 8-14, 2012 also happens to be National Library Week!
Check out several poetry anthologies from the library and keep them in a basket or on a shelf, along with pads of paper and pencils.
Encourage your children to read several poems each day, writing down the titles and authors of their favorites. When you return the anthologies, have each child check out a book of poems by just one author. For example, if your child wrote down a Shel Silverstein poem on her list, she may want to check out Where the Sidewalk Ends, A Light in the Attic, or another book of poetry by Silverstein.
4. Host a Poetry Slam
A poetry slam is a competition where poets read or recite their original work. Host an open mic night or poetry slam where children are encouraged to share their own poems with family, friends, or your homeschool group. Enjoy homemade treats and present awards for “Most Original Poem,” “Best Use of Rhyme,” “Happiest Poem,” or “Best Alliteration.”
Give these a try! When you enjoy, share, and celebrate poetry, you begin building a lifelong appreciation for this well-loved genre.
Share one thing your family or classroom is doing to celebrate poetry this month.