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Happy Poetry Friday. I love this poem because it reminds all of us of the most important part of our jobs: the children.

The Children

By Mark Jarman

The children are hiding among the raspberry canes.
They look big to one another, the garden small.
Already in their mouths this soft fruit
That lasts so briefly in the supermarket
Tastes like the past. The gritty wall,
Behind the veil of leaves, is hollow.
There are yellow wasps inside it. The children know.
They know the wall is hard, although it hums.
They know a lot and will not forget it soon.
When did we forget? But we were never
Children, never found where they were hiding
And hid with them, never followed
The wasp down into its nest
With a fingertip that still tingles.
We lie in bed at night, thinking about
The future, always the future, always forgetting
That it will be the past, hard and hollow,
Veiled and humming, soon enough.

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Here is a fun poem to use with your students! Happy Poetry Friday!

 

Tom Tigercat

By J. Patrick Lewis

Tom Tigercat is noted
for his manners and his wit.
He wouldn’t think of lion,
No, he doesn’t cheetah bit.
Tom never pretended
to be something that he’s not.
I guess that’s why we like him
and why he likes ocelot.

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Are you thinking about the end of the school year? At this point it seems so close, yet far away, right? Here is an inspiring poem to get you the rest of the way to the end — you are not traveling alone!

Up-Hill
By Christina Rossetti
Does the road wind up-hill all the way?
Yes, to the very end.
Will the day’s journey take the whole long day?
From morn to night, my friend.

But is there for the night a resting-place?
A roof for when the slow dark hours begin.
May not the darkness hide it from my face?
You cannot miss that inn.

Shall I meet other wayfarers at night?
Those who have gone before.
Then must I knock, or call when just in sight?
They will not keep you standing at that door.

Shall I find comfort, travel-sore and weak?
Of labour you shall find the sum.
Will there be beds for me and all who seek?
Yea, beds for all who come.

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I was browsing my poetry books and wanted to share this one with you. It’s from an anthology called Small Talk: A Book of Short Poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins (another of my favorite poets).

What Are Heavy?
by Christina Rossetti

What are heavy? Sea-sand and sorrow.
What are brief? Today and tomorrow.
What are frail? Spring blossoms and youth.
What are deep? The ocean and truth.

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Here is a great poem for these lengthening days. Happy Poetry Friday!

 

Bed in Summer
Robert Louis Stevenson

In winter I get up at night
And dress by yellow candle-light.
In summer, quite the other way,
I have to go to bed by day.
I have to go to bed and see
The birds still hopping on the tree,
Or hear the grown-up people’s feet
Still going past me in the street.
And does it not seem hard to you,
When all the sky is clear and blue,
And I should like so much to play,
To have to go to bed by day?

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Here’s some information to share with parents at conferences this year… Did you know that children who know 8 nursery rhymes by heart at age 4 will be among the best readers by the time they are 8? (Mem Fox in Reading Magic). This is because children who know nursery rhymes usually can play with language and its sounds and have developed phonological (and phonemic) awareness. Pre-K, kindergarten, and first grade classrooms should be filled with rhymes! How about this one for starters?

Higglety, Pigglety, Pop
by Samuel Goodrich (1846)

Higglety, pigglety, pop!
The dog has eaten the mop:
The pig’s in a hurry,
The cat’s in a flurry,
Higglety, pigglety, pop!

This is a nice nursery rhyme to use with young children learning to read because of the sight words, the, in, and a. Also, there are several CVC words that are easy to decode including pop, mop, dog, pig, and cat!

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Since I am visiting my daughter in the Caymans, an ocean poem seemed fitting. This one is from just-published Kate Coombs’ Water Sings Blue. The accompanying watercolor illustrations make you feel like you’re on the island! When I arrived, the first thing that caught my eye on the ground was a small hermit crab crawling over the sand. Love this poem!

Ocean Realty

My name’s Frank Hermit.
Here—take my card.
So you want a house
with a porch and yard?

I have listings for periwinkles,
whelks, and wentletraps;
turbans, tops, and moon shells;
a palatial conch, perhaps?

That one’s not available—
I’m waiting for the snail
to vacate his townhouse
and put it up for sale.

But this place has a deck
and a nice view of the land—
beachfront property
is always in demand!

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Aileen Fisher

This poet received the NCTE Award for Poetry in 1978. To read more about her, check out this link.

Her words are timeless and will be loved by children in your 21st century classroom!

My Cat and I

When I flop down
to take a rest
my cat jumps up
upon my chest.

She kneads my sweater
with her paws…
and sometimes even
uses claws.

She rubs my chin
and purrs away,
as if I am
a game to play!

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Several years ago, a friend shared the most interesting poetry book with me called Fly with Poetry: An ABC of Poetry written and illustrated by Avis Harley (Boyds Mills Press, 2000). It includes samples of 26 different kinds of poetry! Here’s one called a doublet. In a doublet, a word is changed, one letter at a time, into another word and arranged vertically in the poem.

How Can You Change Sleep into Dream?

Instead of falling into sleep

by counting sheep I listen for rhythms

inside my head: the cheep of a chickadee,

rain on my cheek,

a murmuring creek,

the creak of new shoes,

or cats lapping cream. These are the rhythms

that flow through my dream.

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This past week was National Library Week. In honor of that, here is a poem by J. Patrick Lewis. Happy Poetry Friday! And be nice to your librarian!

Library Lady
J. Patrick Lewis

If you’re looking for good fiction,
Welcome to my jurisdiction!
I’m the Dewey Decimal Guard,
Who can find the perfect story,
Humor (witty), horror (gory),
Novels (great), adventure (glory)….
Let me see your library card.

No, there’s nothing’s more exciting
For a kid who’s reading writing
Than to fricassee a mind,
‘Cause a book is like an oven-
What it’s cookin’ is book lovin’.
Set the temperature then shove in
Every brain cell you can find.

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