Elementary School Poetry – Week Four

“Radio” is another great poem from Poetry 180. It’s accessible and fun. City kids get this one real quick.
I can’t locate where I found “Could Have Been Worse” at the moment. It’s a humorous poem from a poetry book for kids, probably one of those anthologies of poems that kids like. It’s one of those “underwear” poems that makes kids groan. Lots of fun to read.
Addendum: I decided to do an internet search before I posted this, and sure enough, I located it. It’s from Kids Pick the Funniest Poems – and I found it reposted online as well. Enjoy!
“The Farewell” is a great poem to read. It’s also one that I might bring up later when we talk about trust and distrust.
“Knoxville, Tennessee” is a great poem by Nikki Giovanni. It’s in our reading anthology; there’s a small unit on poetry. But it comes with illustrations. I like students to read (or hear) poems on their own without illustrations. Pictures made by someone other than the poet guides student interpretations, and I want them to come up with their own interpretation.
“The Poet” is a fun one. Poets write poems about poetry and poets. This is a good example of that.

5 thoughts on “Elementary School Poetry – Week Four

  1. What a wonderful selection.

    Radio brought up an old cop memory of car I saw parked on the street when I was working in a high crime area. There was a sheet of paper taped inside the passenger window that said, “There is nothing of value in this car. Everything has been stolen. The doors are unlocked, please do not break another window to get in.”

    I understand why children would enjoy Could Have Been Worse. If anything will interest children in poetry, humor is it.

    The Farewell is an interesting, well-written poem. I can understand using it for a lesson in trust issues, but it and Could Have Been Worse are the two outliers.

    I was looking for a consistent theme between the poems, something to tie them together. All I could find was the extensive use of anaphora. Was that it, or was it just happenstance? Maybe it’s because I came to understand anaphora so late in life that I think it’s pretty advanced for fourth or fifth graders.

    In any event, my poetry education continues. Thank you, Richard.


    • Mike, glad you liked those poems. There’s no conscious theme. I’m just choosing poems that I like that I think my students will like as well. I think some of them are pretty advanced for fifth graders; I think that’s part of the point for me. I want to feel like I’m stretching them a bit – or asking them to stretch. On the other hand, i think we could do with a bit more humor – a little more silly to go with the serious.



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