March 31, 2014

Better late than never... Must Read Mentor Text for Poetry Month!

Mention Spring Break and I'm on a no calendar, no clock schedule! I lost track of time and totally forgot about Stacia and Amanda's weekly Must Read Mentor Text linky... and this week's featured texts are for Language Arts, my area of teaching! Ah well, don't they say that being fashionably late is en vogue? If so; I am, so here goes!

The mentor text that I have selected to share this week is one of my all-time favorites, if not favorite book, and is perfect to use during April, National Poetry Month. I first used this text in my Language Arts methods class back in undergrad school, more than thirty-five years. It has stood the test of time and become a classic children's poetry book... Hailstones and Halibut Bones by Mary O'Neill.

From its early cover...

... and monochromatic pages...

...through its evolution in appearance...

... this is my go-to book when first introducing the concept of imagery (not to mention personification, alliteration, metaphor, etc.). Mary O'Neill makes color come alive for readers of all ages. And if you don't like poetry when you begin this book, you will be a fan when you complete it.

Like acrobats on a high trapeze
the Colors pose and bend their knees. 
Twist and turn and leap and blend 
Into shapes and feelings without end.

The Colors live between black and white
in a land that we know best by sight.
But knowing best isn't everything,
for colors dance and colors sing,
and colors laugh and colors cry -- -- --
Turn off the light and colors die,
and they make you feel every feeling there is
from the grumpiest grump to the fizziest fizz.
And you and you and I know well
each has a taste and each has a smell
and each has a wonderful story to tell...

There are numerous resources and ideas to accompany this perennial favorite from the complete text online to a delightful video created by school children. One of my favorite accompanying activities is to have my students create their own color poems. I no longer have them simply write their poems with pencil on paper, they input their ideas into a website and with the click of a button... VOILA! instant poem.

Click on the graphic above to try your hand at writing an instant color poem, or visit Instant Poetry Forms and select "Color Poem" from the sidebar menu. While I wouldn't recommend having your students write poems in this fashion regularly, this method can be a motivating jump start to a poetry unit or the perfect solution for reluctant poets.

Be sure to stop by Collaboration Cuties to read more Must Read Mentor Texts!

And while you're at it, please stop by the Classroom Game Nook where I am guest blogging today about my favorite classroom game. Author Rachael Parlett is taking time off to spend with her beautiful newborn daughter Clara.

1 comment:

  1. I love this book! I always use this at the start of our poetry unit!! Kids find it so interesting to think of colors that's way! I'm so glad you linked up and you aren't late! It's open all week!
    Enjoy your break!


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