EducationWorld is pleased to feature these fun language arts activities adapted from School Volunteer Handbook: A Simple Guide for K-6 Teachers and Parents, by Yael Calhoun and Elizabeth Q. Finlinson (Lila Press, 2011).
School Volunteer Handbook (including two CDs, one of all the handouts and one of the GreenTREE Yoga 5-minute classroom yoga breaks) contains more than 50 activities and lessons, retails for $25 (with free shipping) and is available at www.lilapress.com (visit site for free downloads).
About the authors
Yael Calhoun, MA, MS, RYT, is an author and educator who has taught preschool through college. She also has worked as an environmental planner and has written over a dozen books. Currently, she is a cofounder and the Executive Director of GreenTREE Yoga, a nonprofit committed to bringing the benefits of yoga to diverse populations.
Elizabeth Q. Finlinson, LCSW, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and has worked as a school therapist, volunteer coordinator, and as a private practitioner specializing in children and families. She teaches character education and physical education and is an active school volunteer.
What makes children of all ages howl with laughter, explore their dreams and jump with joy? Why, poetry, of course. Poetry is enriching and fun, and it is a natural for the classroom. Here are some simple, interactive ways to enjoy poetry with kids.
Be organized. Have the pages marked so there is no lag time.
“I Was Walking in a Circle...” by Jack Prelutsky is the perfect poem for starting the activity (it’s in The 20th Century Children’s Poetry Treasury). Ask the children to let you know when the poem ends. It’s written in a circle, so it never ends! When they finally realize this, you will have their interest.
Share more poems. Share the rest of your poems.
Keep It Going!
Three minutes of “Acting Up.” Act out “Can You Dance a Question Mark…?” by Carl Sandburg (in Song and Dance by Lee Bennett Hopkins).
Celebrate poetry with a beat. Hip Hop Speaks to Children, edited by Nikki Giovanni, includes a beautifully illustrated book and CD with poems being read to a beat. This resource features a wonderful selection of artists from Mos Def to Langston Hughes. Best of all, you can move to the poems.
A poem about me. Make a silly poem by writing the child’s first name down the left side of the paper. Each letter begins something silly that he or she likes to do. Illustrate the poems!
Memorize a silly poem. Reciting silly poems is a great way to ease transitions or just get the day back on track. Some easy and fun poems are:
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