Gear up for Poetry Month: part 1

April is Poetry Month!  If you’re like me, you have good intentions, and then April just creeps up on you and you don’t give poetry the time it deserves in the spotlight.  Maybe I can help over the next few posts with some ideas.

One kind of poem you might like to try is called the “Fib.” I learned about it last year at about this time from Greg Pincus over at Gotta Book.  Though he didn’t create it as a poetic form he coined the term “Fib” poem because it’s based on the Fibonacci sequence of numbers.

The poem is six lines long, with a total of 20 syllables, in this order:  1,  1,  2,  3,  5,  8.  Like haiku, it’s short and sweet!  I tried it with third graders and it worked well.

You can read what the Poetry Foundation has to say about it and how its popularity exploded due to Pincus here.

Below are two I wrote rather quickly. The first is about my after-school beverage of choice, and the second is about my cat.  Enjoy, and give these a try with your kiddos!

Tea

Hot,

Soothing,

Calms my nerves

With steaming goodness.

Black, white, green, herbal—take your pick!

Black

Cat

Kermit

Mellow now

Chase a mouse? Not him!

He’d rather snooze and snooze and snooze.

Tempe Wick: a colonial gal with spunk!

As I mentioned last time, I’m going to blog occasionally about a book that I’ve rediscovered in my travels through my shelflist.  The idea is to reacquaint myself (and you, my readers!) with some gems which sometimes get forgotten in all the excitement around the new books and the hype around the “hot” authors in any given year.

This Time,TempeWick? by Patricia Lee Gauch is such a book.  Based on the real-life figure of Temperance Wick, it is the story of a young girl and her responsibilities during the Revolutionary War. Tempe is no ordinary girl.  Patricia Gauch refers to her as “surprising” and “clever.” Why?  Lots of reasons, not the least of which is that she’s able to hide her horse Bonny in her bedroom for several days right under the noses of colonial soldiers engaged in a mutiny (and desperate for horses to go to Philadelphia!).

Gauch does a wonderful job showing the reader what makes Tempe so surprising and clever.  For this reason it is a perfect book to use when working on character traits, as so many teachers do.  You can read it in one sitting during library time, then either that same day or next time you can revisit the story and build an essay or Better Answer Sandwich about Tempe’s character.

My third graders have responded well to this book in the past.  Depending on your curriculum, you might have to do a little work providing some context about the time period and the war, and kids will appreciate the author’s note about how much of the story is “true” at the end of the book.  A great read, and still in print!