Love That Poem
Introduction to Poetry

SEPTEMBER 13

I don’t want to
because boys
don’t write poetry.

Girls do.

SEPTEMBER 21

I tried.
Can’t do it.
Brain’s empty.

~ Jack’s first poetry journal entries from the book, "Love That Dog" by Sharon Creech.

You never know from where ideas are going to come.  The inspiration for our class poems are from the book, "Love That Dog" by Sharon Creech.  It tells the story of Jack, a boy who does not want to write poems.  Through his journaling, we learn that soon he comes to love writing poems and gets quite good at it.  It’s a delightful book for teachers and students.  We used the poems Jack’s teacher, Miss Stretchberry read to Jack and his class, such as, "The Tyger" by William Blake, and the following poem as inspirations for our first poems. 

The Red Wheelbarrow

by William Carlos Williams

so much depends

upon


a red wheel
barrow


glazed with rain
water


beside the white
chickens

Sharon Creech found inspiration for the book in a poem she loved by Walter Dean Myers that she had hanging on her bulletin board for three or four years.  The poem, "Love That Boy" sparked a story when she began to wonder what the boy in the poem might love. 

 
Love That Boy
By Walter Dean Myers
 
Love that boy,
like a rabbit loves to run
I said I love that boy
like a rabbit loves to run
Love to call him in the morning
love to call him
“Hey there, son!”

He walk like his Grandpa,
Grins like his Uncle Ben.
I said he walk like his Grandpa,
And grins like his Uncle Ben.
Grins when he’s happy,
When he sad, he grins again.

His mama like to hold him,
Like to feed him cherry pie.
I said his mama like to hold him.
Like to feed him that cherry pie.
She can have him now,
I’ll get him by and by

He got long roads to walk down
Before the setting sun.
I said he got a long, long road to walk down
Before the setting sun.
He’ll be a long stride walker,
And a good man before he done
.

 

    Knowing that I was going to be creating a poetry unit for my students, it was sheer coincidence while watching television one night a show came on about a United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004 - 2006.  His name was Ted Kooser.  The show was a poetry reading and as Mr. Kooser began to read his poems, I became enthralled with the imagery of his words.  I began to wonder how I could present the same experience to my students.  I wanted them to visualize, experience and enjoy, someone else’s words and even try to write their own poems. 
 
    Sometimes things just fall into place because it wasn’t long after this that I was in a bookstore and walked by a table and saw the book, "Poetry Speaks to Children."  This book includes beautifully illustrated poems along with a cd of the poets reciting their poems. What a treat to hear a poem read by the person who wrote it!  Only Robert Frost can read, "Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening" the way it’s intended to be read.  My personal favorite of Robert Frost’s work is "The Road Not Taken", which I shared with my students.
    So this is the journey we’ve taken toward learning about poetry.  We hope it’s a treat to listen to our class as we read our poems. This is only the beginning... there’s more to come!
 
 

 

Topic:
Poetry
Focus Content Area:
Fine Arts

Secondary Content Area:
English/Language Arts
Grade Level:
3
4
5