Heather over at the Well Read blog, and a fellow Twittermoms mom, had a very fun and educational post about teaching poetry to kids.
This may not be exactly how Heather envisioned my post to be, but I'll share some thoughts and poems as well as answer a few of the questions she has for other homeschooling parents regarding teaching poetry. Below are her questions in bold, and my answers:
Who is your favorite poet?
One of the first poets I loved was Li Bai who wrote some of the most moving poetry I've ever read. Yes, I can read this poem! It was one of the first ones my mother taught me. This brings me to a tangential story: I was schooled in Hong Kong until the age of 8, never learning any poetry there. (Perhaps they taught it in older grades, or perhaps it wasn't taught at all; I don't know.) Once we immigrated to Canada, my parents decided that they must do something so that my sister and I maintain our heritage, so they (mostly my mom who was a certified teacher in Hong Kong) took it upon themselves to teach us Chinese through poetry, essentially homeschooling us in that topic even though "homeschooling" was not in their vocabulary.
My next favorite poet was Alexander Pope, whose biting wit was well-suited to my teenage angst-ridden self. Robert Frost is a perennial favorite. Of the modern day poets, my favorite two are children's writers: Helen Frost and Rebecca Kai Dotlich. They are as lovely people as they are superb poets.
Can you think of a poetry lesson that was extremely meaningful, productive, or just plain fun?
When we did Shakespeare in our literary co-op (and we study him at least once a year), the kids got to learn about his inventing words for his plays and poems and a little bit about the bawdy bits. That was, I think, when we laughed the most in a poetry lesson.
I also liked when we taught the kids limericks and got to write our own. :)
Do you include modern poetry in your lessons?
I am sorry to say I don't incorporate more poetry into our everyday learning, but we have learned about modern poetry. Some of our favorite forms are acrostics and concrete poems.
How do you define the worth of poetry?
Poetry is just like music - it works a part of the brain that may not get as much use normally, and therefore makes you a more whole person. At least that's my hypothesis!
My boys have been part of a literary co-op for four years now and have learned some of their poetry through that. I also have done a poetry unit with ds#1 back in 2005 using the Scholastic "Teaching 10 Fabulous Forms of Poetry" book, learning a few things I never knew myself.
I'd like to leave you with two of my favorite poems, and a recommendation that you also visit the Florian Cafe: Poetry Commotion.
"Fog" by Carl Sandburg
The fog comes
on little cat feet.
It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.
"On the Collar of a Dog" by Alexander Pope
I am his Highness's dog at Kew
Pray tell me, sir, whose dog are you?
Didn't that shake you and quake you and made you goose-pimply all over? ;)
And whoever knows where that "shakes you, quakes you" quote comes from wins a little prize! Seriously. Just tell me in the comments section. I don't know what the prize is yet, but I'll think of something. ;)
Have a great Sunday!
"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be." ~ Douglas Adams