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Volume 2 Issue 7
August 2004


Dog Days Poetry

WELCOME! to Education World's Early Childhood Newsletter. Each month, I'll share some ideas on a familiar teaching theme. Hopefully you will find a new activity idea or two -- or a new twist on one of your old favorites! Since I know you are very busy, I'll be short and sweet -- like most of activities I suggest.

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August is here, and with it the heavy, sultry dog days of summer's end. These are days well spent in the shade of a tree with children gathered around and a book of poetry at the ready. It's a great time for children to revel in the power of words that can make them laugh, cry, and "see" the world around them in a new light.

Anne Guignon
Editor, Early Childhood Education Newsletter


--- Read the first two lines of William Wordsworth's poem "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud" (found at https://www.bartleby.com/145/ww260.html) and search the sky for "lonely" clouds. (What makes a cloud "lonely"? What other "feeling" words might describe a cloud or clouds?)
--- Collect cloud words. Spend a day or week creating a word bank -- words describing the clouds in the sky. Encourage children to find words for the colors, shapes, and sizes of the clouds they see. Remind them that they can find words when they are not in school too. Perhaps they might contribute one word describing a cloud seen outside of school.
--- Cloud art. Provide cotton balls, white paint, and blue paper (light and dark) so children can make representations of clouds. Write descriptive cloud words on each piece of cloud art.
--- More cloud art. Use shaving cream on bare tabletops for group finger paintings of clouds. (These are as fleeting as clouds in the sky, and leave you with a clean tabletop and children with clean hands!)

--- Read the poem "Day at the Beach" (found about halfway down the page at https://smallbusiness.yahoo.com/) and discuss the activities taking place at the beach that day.
--- Listening. Children can listen for the rhyming words -- splash, crash; reach, each -- and almost rhyming words -- sand, can -- and identify the action words.
--- Beach art. Write the poem on a long piece of craft paper, then ask children to illustrate the poem, including feet, breaking waves, rocks, boys, seashells, girls, sand, sand castles, outstretched arms...
--- Memorize. Memorize the poem. This is short and sweet, easy to memorize.

--- Making up your own number poems can get your class off to a quick poetic start. List items in the classroom or on the playground that can be counted. Begin with one item and count to ten (or start with ten and go backwards), such as:
One teacher's desk
Two open doors
Three shelves of blocks
Do any of the items rhyme? Where might they go in a poem? In what order will you use the items? Which ones go together? What other words can we add to better describe the items? How might we tie it all together for the poem's end?
--- More counting poems to share. Find a great collection of counting poems and finger plays at http://www.preschoolrainbow.org/preschool-rhymes.htm.

--- Ice cream poem. Introduce your students to the familiar "I scream, you scream, ...ice cream!" (Find a printable copy at http://www.teach-nology.com/worksheets/early_childhood/nurse/iscr/.) Which words rhyme?
--- A twist on the ice cream poem. How many variations of the poem can you create? What other words might be substituted for "ice cream?" What words can be used in place of "scream?" What kind of words are these?
--- Stop the screaming! Celebrate, of course, with ice cream.

In that shade I spoke of at the beginning of this newsletter, read some of the following poems to children. Just enjoy -- and maybe read again and again and again. Some will have students rolling on the ground laughing; others are longer poems that will provide a great listening experience.

Try these poems at Erin's Children's Poetry Page:
--- "Weather"
--- "The Story of Fidgety Philip"
--- "Eletelephony"
--- "The Purple Cow"
--- "Granpa Dropped His Glasses"
--- "Mr. Nobody"
--- "Jabberwocky"
--- "Wynken, Blynken, and Nod"


Check out the following Web sites for more background and activities.

Miss Lisa's Theme Sharing: Summer Themes
Filled with summertime activities, poetry, and songs about watermelons, sunshine, lightening bugs -- and more!

Gayle's Preschool Rainbow
A great collection: finger plays, action poems, nursery rhymes, and songs.

A presentation of familiar nursery rhymes. Many children today have not learned these old rhymes and may love the way the words slip off their tongues and the silly visual images they create. Great for memorizing and acting out! (These rhymes are from a previous era and some are no longer appropriate. Choose carefully.)

A to Z Teacher Stuff
Poetry activities, most for students grade 3 and up, BUT, I know that early childhood teachers can adapt many for their use!

Bella Online—Fingerplays, Music and Poems for Small Children

Scholastic—Internet Field Trip: Poetic Wealth on the Web
A great resource for poetry of all genres.

Erin's Children's Poetry Page