Friday, February 6, 2009

Module 1

POETRY BREAK: SCHOOL/LIBRARY/BOOKS-- A poem about school, the library or books and reading


Read this poem to children before they visit the library.

Please Bury Me in the Library

By J. Patrick Lewis

Please bury me in the library

In the clean, well-lighted stacks

Of Novels, History, Poetry,

Right next to the Paperbacks,

Where the Kids' Books dance

With True Romance

And the Dictionary dozes.

Please bury me in the library

With a dozen long-stemmed proses.

Way back by a rack of Magazines,

I won't be sad too often,

If they bury me in the library

With Bookworms in my coffin.

Lewis, J. Patrick. 2005. PLEASE BURY ME IN THE LIBRARY. illus. by Kyle M. Stone. New York, NY: Harcourt, Inc. ISBN 0152163875.


Give the children a checklist and send them on a scavenger hunt in the library looking for the following items mentioned in the poem: novels, history, poetry, paperbacks, kids' books, romance books, dictionaries, prose, magazines.

Talk about new words and what they mean: stacks, dozes, proses, bookworms, coffin.

Point out the rhyming words: stacks/paperbacks; dance/romance; and so on.

Choose a favorite activity and try to think of rhyming words about that activity.

Write a poem about a favorite activity.


POETRY BOOK REVIEW: HOPKINS ANTHOLOGY-- A poetry collection compiled by Lee Bennett Hopkins

Hopkins, Lee Bennett.1983. THE SKY IS FULL OF SONG. illus. by Dirk Zimmer. HarperCollins. ISBN 0060225823.


This small book is a collection of poems about the seasons. It is colorfully illustrated with linocuts by Dirk Zimmer.


The poems would be a great addition to a storytime or lesson about weather, the seasons, or holidays included in the collection. Read a poem to correspond with the beginning of a new month. Invite the children to write about the weather or the changing seasons. Children will enjoy examining the artwork in the book and experimenting with the process of printmaking or stamping. According to Wikapedia, "linocut is a printmaking technique, a variant of woodcut in which a sheet of linoleum (sometimes mounted on a wooden block) is used for the relief surface. A design is cut into the linoleum surface with a sharp knife."



February is Black History Month. It can be a challenge to celebrate with young children who cannot grasp the concepts of slavery, equality, and the contributions of African American inventors and leaders. They can, however, appreciate the unique characteristics and culture of African heritage. CHERISH ME is a charming book based on the poem by Joyce Carol Thomas that will appeal to all people, regardless of age or skin color.

Thomas, Joyce Carol. 1998. CHERISH ME. Ill. by Nneka Bennett. New York, NY: HarperFestival . ISBN 0694010979


This book will work well with any age group, but will especially appeal to very young children. The poem is simple and elegant. The words and images are familiar to very young children, yet interesting and meaningful to older listeners. Each line is depicted on a two page spread with pictures of a beautiful and energetic young African American girl. The illustrations are big, bright, and bold enough to share with a group. The poem is repeated at the end of the book on one page, lending itself to a second reading of the poem, alone without the pictures.

After reading the book and poem, discuss the background of Joyce Carol Thomas. Read the class the following excerpt from The University of Tennessee Website where Thomas currently teaches.

"Joyce Carol Thomas was born into a large family of migrant cotton pickers in 1938. The fifth of nine children, she spent much of her childhood working in the fields alongside her parents and siblings. She was born and educated in Ponca City, Oklahoma, although during the picking season she traveled with her family to many of the surrounding areas, staying in the homes of friends, relatives, or fellow workers. She usually missed the beginning of the school year to work in the cotton fields. Although her family was not well-off, and had little leisure time, Thomas grew up among the stories her friends and family told to lighten the long workdays. This exposure primed her to enjoy reading, and by the age of ten she was an avid reader."

Accessed from the University of Tennessee Website, February 6, 2009

This brief biography of Joyce Carol Thomas will inspire rich discussion, including:

1) how Thomas's background might have influenced the imagery she uses in the poem.

2) how Thomas's interest in reading and her education affected her life, particularly her professional accomplishments.

3) the definition of migrant workers, and what life must have been like for Thomas and her family.

Joyce Carol Thomas writes poetry and books for children, young adults and adults. She has won many awards for her writing. Her book, THE BLACKER THE BERRY, was a 2009 Coretta Scott King honor book. Choose this or any one of her works to read and discuss after introducing students to this prolific author and her work with her poem, Cherish Me.

Cherish Me

By Joyce Carol Thomas

I sprang up from mother earth

She clothed me in her own colors

I was nourished by father sun

He glazed the pottery of my skin

I am beautiful by design

The pattern of night in my hair

The pattern of music in my rhthym

As you would cherish a thing of beauty

Cherish me


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