Pumpkin Patrol - Poems and Songs October 08 2009

Poems and songs in the classroom present and reinforce curriculum in a nonthreatening and fun way, even with older kids. I love to use them in my classroom, and below is a variety of ways to put them into practice!

First up, make them a part of your Pumpkin unit:

Student Books

Using white paper, fold four or five sheets horizontally so that they make a small book. Staple them in the middle so that the pages stay together. Have students decorate the front of these poetry books. When you review the poems in class, have photocopies of them in a size that will fit into their poetry books - they can cut and paste the poems in the books, decorating the pages as you go through them, and they can keep them in their Pumpkin Folders. Use any extra pages for original Pumpkin Poems!

Reading Reinforcement

Using poems and songs each day is a great way to encourage fluency in your readers, regardless of age level. Poems and songs lend themselves to word and rhythm practice, and are fun and entertaining. Poems are also full of imagery and parts of speech - take out a few adjectives and challenge kids to replace them with different descriptive words, or introduce or review similes and metaphors that you find in pumpkin poems and songs.

Display Around the Room

Use the leftover sentence strips to display the poems around the room - glue them onto orange butcher paper and have kids decorate for fun (or decorate them yourself). If they're already around the room, you can refer to them during different Pumpkin lessons, reinforcing skills or ideas. Intersperse these poems with copies of original poems that your students create.

I have provided ready-made poems (see below), but once you dive into the poetry, you'll find that your kids will be anxious to create some poetry of their own.

Opportunities for Original Pumpkin Poems

Shape Poetry

Shape poetry is a poem made of a lengthy descriptive sentence (or maybe two) that are wound around to make the shape they represent. ReadWriteThink has a great example, and something you could use with a projector or with kids in a computer lab to practice shape poems. When you think they're ready, have a template of a pumpkin photocopied or have them create a pumpkin and use their poem with their original art.

Acrostic

What is the subject of your poem? Boil it down to one word, then write that word vertically on a piece of paper. The letters of your subject are now the first letters of each line of your poem.

Acrostic poems are fairly common, but it's actually difficult to write a really good one. I've found that kids want to plug in words simply because they start with the letter they need, but don't actually have anything to do with the subject of the poem. It might be a good idea to set up some structure, such as the poem has to tell a story about a pumpkin in a patch, or describe a pumpkin. Acrostic poems can have one word per letter (more difficult to write a really good one), or a phrase or sentence per letter. I practiced and came up with this one:

Plump and orange
Under a vine.
Many cute
Pumpkins for
Kids to find.
I think carving pumpkins is
Not very kind!

Comparison

Comparison is one of my favorite forms of poetry. It gives kids enough structure to get really creative, to stretch and see how they can make connections between two objects that seem to have nothing in common. This form is also a great way to teach about simile and metaphor.

I wrote the following poem (the comparison isn't really a stretch). But I used a simile to start, which could easily be changed to a metaphor, and I compared two objects.

A pumpkin's like a full moon
Sitting round and low -
In the starry evening,
The pumpkin seems to glow!

Here is the skeleton to help kids write their own comparison poems:

A pumpkin is like a  (noun)
(verb ending in -ing)
(adjective)  and (adjective)
(preposition - when, in, around, etc)
and (place or time)
(Completion of the comparison)

Ready to Use Poems

 Here are a few poems and songs to get started! Some include lesson plan suggestions or extensions.

 What Am I

To Pumpkins at Pumpkin Time

Pumpkin song

Pumpkin Seeds

Have You Ever Seen A Pumpkin

 (Poetry collected by Sherri, from Allentown, PA)

Have fun!

Just joining us? Read Pumpkin Patrol - Getting Started! for more ideas and activities!