Monday, April 8, 2013

It's Monday! What are You Reading? April 8, 2013

OK, Something very fishy is happening to my blog today. Earlier my entire post vanished! So, I fixed it. Then as dark clouds began to loom overhead (not really but it helps my mood) today's Poetry post mysteriously jumbled itself up. I think it is crazed garden gnomes tampering or my fonts have gone ballistic and have taken over my blog. Woe is me.

I will try one more time to correct it.

I recently jumped on Jen and Kellee's bandwagon over at Teach Mentor Texts and started writing a weekly blog post for It's Monday! What are You Reading? They were inspired by Sheila at Book Journeys.

This past week, I introduced a poetry unit to my Pre-Kinder three year old class - Kinder class.

Poems that Rhyme

I began with the stunning poetry book "In the Wild" and I asked the students to listen for words that rhyme. Sometimes I would pause before the end word in the rhyming pattern and the kids would shout out their best guess. They did a great job. If you do not have this book in your collection, get it asap! It is visually stunning and a great way to introduce poetry to young readers.

In the Wild by David Elliott
Illustrated by Holly Meade
Publisher: Candlewick Press

Publisher description: From the lion standing alone on the African savannah to the panda in a bamboo forest, from the rhinoceros with its boot-like face to the Arctic polar bear disappearing in the snow, the earth is full of curious and wonderful animals, each more extraordinary than the next. David Elliott’s pithy, lyrical verse and Holly Meade’s stunning woodcut and watercolor illustrations reveal a world of remarkable beauty and wonder — and offer an enticing introduction to both favorite animals and poetic forms.

Lyrical Poems

Mother Goose and Friends
selected and illustrated by Ruth Sanderson
Publisher: Little Brown and Company

Next, we reviewed some nursery rhymes we have been reading this year. I wanted to include lyrical forms of poetry and nursery rhymes were familiar to this age group as I had already provided them with a good foundation in the genre. We formed a circle and held hands and sang "Ring Around the Rosy" ending in a big tumbled heap on the carpet as we "all fall down" amid an avalanche of giggles.

Next, I plopped down a big old fake bush in the middle of the story-time carpet and we walked in a circle singing "Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush". I threw them a bit of a challenge by alternating the direction of the circle with each changing verse. We pretended to wash our hands, wash our faces, brush our hair, and brush our teeth along with each corresponding verse. This movement and song activity allowed us all to shake some wiggles out and prepare for our next few books.

Non-Rhyming Poems and The "awwww" Factor

Then I hit 'em with a powerful weapon. Nothing gets a kid quicker than a cute little puppy face and the next two books had major "awww" factor.

I Didn't Do It by Patricia MacLachlan
and Emily MacLachlan Charest
Illustrated by: Katy Schneider
Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books

After wowing the kids with the puppy faces, I spoke to them about poems that do not use rhyming words. Instead, these poems make you think about what is happening in the poem. Poems where you need to use your imagination and think like a dog. They loved pretending to think like a dog. The favorite poem in this book was Pretty Puppy. I was very impressed that even the three year olds were able to grasp that Pretty Puppy was looking into a mirror.

Once I Ate a Pie
by Patricia MacLachlan and Emily MacLachlan Charest
Illustrated by: Katy Schneider
Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books

Browse inside "Once I Ate a Pie"

My favorite poem to perform was Wupsi because it was so darn cute. The kids loved Pocket, an adorable poem about a little dog so small that he could fit inside a coat pocket. They thought it was hilarious when I whispered the repeated word "tiny" throughout the poem. The text was normal size but each use of the word tiny was written in very teeny tiny text. Pocket the dog was so sweet looking and she doesn't understand why everything she owns is so tiny because she sees herself as HUGE!

Haiku Poems

Dogku by Andrew Clements
Illustrated by Tim Bowers
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers

Dogku grabs you from the very first page. A lovable stray peers through a kitchen door at a pink bath-robed mom cooking the morning breakfast for her family. Will she shut the door and send him away? How could anyone refuse those precious eyes begging to be loved?

"There on the back steps,

the eyes of a hungry dog.

Will she shut the door?"

This charming dog's tale is the perfect book for introducing the poetry form of Haiku. In fact, every page with text is made up of a haiku. After explaining what a Haiku poems was, I asked students if they knew how to count the number of syllables or word parts for the word "puppy" Yes, they knew how to count word parts and puppy had two word parts. We then practiced sounding out syllables of commonly used words and then I read the first page as kiddos held up a finger for each syllable they heard. We counted the syllables in the first line and sure enough we counted five syllables. Next, we counted the second line and heard seven syllables. Then we listened carefully as I read the third line and we were back to five syllables. We all agreed that the first page was a Haiku poem. We then read the second page with text and applied the same test again determining it was a haiku. Rather than drag out the lesson with such young children, I read the rest of the story straight through and focused on other aspects of the story. I just wanted to provide a brief introduction to Haikus.

Really terrific Dogku resources:

Use this Eduscapes Power Point slide show for teaching the process of Haiku.

Visit Simon and Schuster's site for a peek into the book. Dogku

dogku ppt

Found at

Here are some other books that I finished this week:

I really enjoyed Scarlet, the sequel to Marissa Meyer's Cinder.

Which is Round? Which is Bigger?

by Mineki Mamada
Publisher: Kid Can Press

I really loved this surprising gem of a book. It was originally published in Japan and has been translated into English. Terrific for Preschool lessons. So many good literature connection activities come to mind.

Miracle Mud
Lena Blackburne and the Secret Mud that Changed Baseball

by David A. Kelly
Illustrated by Oliver Dominguez
Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group

I really loved the bright bold illustrations and the story was very entertaining. Kids will be searching their yards digging up their own miracle mud after reading this one. Hmmm, I think a possible science experience in the library might be in order. Messy yes, but cool.

I actually read a ton of books this week but it's hard to keep up with them all. I have added 217 new books to our school library since March 1st and manually cataloged and processed them all. Today, I stopped in at Barnes and Noble to pick up a book for my son and ended up with ten more books for the library. Here I go again!


  1. No fair! I really don't need picture books, but I love to read them to my dog, so now I want to get all of the dog ones out of the library! They look so cute. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Some of my favorite cute poetry books! Feel at a loss not having Dogku in my library... I partnered it with Won Ton in the past...

    1. I completely forgot I had that book! I am pulling it from my shelf right now. I bought it specifically for the purpose of teaching Haiku. How could I have forgotten? Too much going on in my life I suppose. Author visit tomorrow with Hank the Cowdog's John R. Erickson.

  3. OK, but fair warning, these books are as intoxicating as walking into an animal shelter. You develop a sudden desire to have one in your home. :)

  4. Hi Julee, not very familiar with blogspot - I know that eats up most of my comments and sends them into oblivion, I didn't realize it also does the same thing with actual posts. Yikes! Too bad I didn't get a chance to see your picture books.

  5. Thanks Myra, I was fortunate enough to have a second tab open with my current post so I was saved! It took a bit of doing but I added most of the post back in and left a bit out. Thank you for stopping by. I have learned a very valuable lesson in backing up posts. I have always been great at saving documents but this experience was new to me.

  6. Today has been a "come and go" day. Twice I have had to redo today's post. I think it is mysteriously cursed! First it was here, then it went away. Then it was here again, and then it was jumbled up. Go figure.

  7. I have Once I Ate a Pie, but haven't seen I Didn't Do It. Dogku looks adorable! Thanks for sharing the Powerpoint, too!


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