CELEBRATE POETRY MONTH!
WEEK 1: MEET JACK PRELUTSKY
Day 1: Surround students with the genius of Jack Prelutsky. Make all of his books available for the class to browse. Have the class check out the poet’s interactive Web site at www.jackprelutsky.com and get to know him as a friend.
Day 2: In Good Sports, Jack celebrates the joy of participating in sports boys and girls play. Have students read a few of the poems aloud. Discuss why the book’s title is so appropriate. Do you have to be a good athlete to be a good sport?
Day 3: Share with students the fabulous shape poems on pages 42–43 of The 20th-Century Children’s Poetry Treasury. Discuss how the physical layout of the poems works with the words. Challenge students to write and design their own shape poems. Create a bulletin board to display the creations.
Day 4: Read aloud Jack’s introduction to the “Nonsense!” section on page 168 of The Random House Book of Poetry for Children. Then read it along with the class at a slower pace. Talk about the fun of the rhymes and the lively language. Why is it so much fun to be silly? Have students try their hand at a poem that might fit into the “Nonsense!” category.
Day 5: Have students write a poem congratulating Jack on being named our
nation’s first-ever Children’s Poet Laureate.
WEEK 2: POEMSTARTS—WHERE WILL YOUR POEM END UP GOING?
Day 1: Introduce Jack Prelutsky’s Read a Rhyme, Write a Rhyme to the class. Copy one of the poemstarts on the board and see how many directions it can go in.
Day 2: Download the free poetry journals at www.randomhouse.com/teachers. There are original poemstarts by Jack Prelutsky that will get students’ creative energy flowing.
Day 3: Have students write their own poemstarts, and then trade papers with a partner and finish each other’s poems.
Day 4: Have students bring home a poemstart and complete the poem with a family member.
Day 5: Host a read-aloud hour where students can read their best poem from the classroom or from home that started with a poemstart.
WEEK 3: BUDDING ANTHOLOGISTS
Day 1: Jack Prelutsky has selected poems for several acclaimed poetry anthologies. Lead a class discussion about the format of The Random House Book of Poetry for Children. The anthology is divided into 14 sections and it includes a table of contents, as well as an index by author, title, first line, and subject. Why is order so important in an anthology?
Day 2: In his introductory letter in The Random House Book of Poetry for Children, Jack talks about his target audience of elementary school students and how he chose poems based on what he knew about them. Discuss the concept of a target audience. What type of poems would students select for an anthology for their parents, their younger siblings, their teachers, etc.?
Day 3: Meilo So is the illustrator of three anthologies selected by Jack: The Beauty of the Beast, The 20th-Century Children’s Poetry Treasury, Read a Rhyme, Write a Rhyme. Have students take a look at her gorgeous art in the three books. How do the illustrations help the poems come to life?
Day 4-5: Now that students understand the concept of an anthology, put together a classroom poetry anthology. As a class decide on the target audience and a catchy title. Next have each student choose a poem that inspires him/her—the poems can be by published poets or by fellow students. Read the selected poems beforehand and decide on a list of categories for the anthology. Write the categories on the board and, as you read each poem aloud to the class, ask for volunteers to come up and write the poem name in the category it best fits into. Type up the anthology and ask for a few volunteers to illustrate the anthology. Depending on the age of your students, you may want to assign the table of contents and index to volunteers. Make copies for each student to bring home and share with their families.
WEEK 4: JUST FOR FUN!
Day 1: Have students send a poem-a-gram to a friend in another class.
Day 2: Make a class recording of students reading their favorite poems or their original poems.
Day 3: Host a poetry writing contest where the winner reads his or her poem over the loudspeaker for the whole school to hear.
Day 4: Invite family members in for tea or punch and have the students read a poem for their guests of honor.
Day 5: Set aside free time for the class to enjoy poetry. Students can write a poem, read a poem, share a poem with a friend, or illustrate a poem.
Sign up for the free Teachers @ Random e-mail newsletter and you will receive a poem a day for the month of April that you can share with students. Go to www.randomhouse.com/teachers to sign up.
OTHER TITLES OF INTEREST
20th Century Children's Poetry Treasury
The Beauty of the Beast
For Laughing Out Loud
Read a Rhyme, Write a Rhyme
Read-Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young
The Random House Book of Poetry for Children
Click here to download the Teacher's Guide PDF