Category Archives: Elementary School

World Read Aloud Day Is Coming | Knowledge Quest

On Thursday, February 16, 2017, something special is happening.  Something that has the potential to make a real difference in a child’s life.  That something is World Read Aloud Day. What Is World Read Aloud Day? World Read Aloud Day… Read More ›

Source: World Read Aloud Day Is Coming | Knowledge Quest

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How We Haiku — Teaching Stories 11

 

It’s one thing to appreciate haiku, but it’s a totally different animal to teach it.  Teaching requires flexibility, passion, and a degree of mastery of the subject that allows the teacher to converse freely and energetically enough to engage the audience in a learning moment… wherever and whenever that teaching moment occurs.

Check out this inspiring Teaching Story – How We Haiku.

Source: How We Haiku — Teaching Stories 11

Historical topic picture book: “Mr. Lincoln’s Whiskers” (1996) by Karen B. Winnick

Mr. Lincoln's Whiskers by Karen B. Winnick Lexile Retrieved from https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3633302-mr-lincoln-s-whiskers

Mr. Lincoln’s Whiskers by Karen B. Winnick Lexile 420 Retrieved from https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3633302-mr-lincoln-s-whiskers

In 1860, Grace Bedell is an 11 year girl who has taken a liking to the gentleman from Springfield, Illinois who is campaigning for the presidency of the United States.  While there is disagreement among her family members who is the right man for the job, Grace supports Lincoln.  Grace accepts that her social status as both child and girl renders her opinion inconsequential, yet she devotes herself to the idea of helping Mr. Lincoln be the preferred candidate for all those whose opinion does matter.  With consideration of Mr. Lincoln’s kind yet sad visage, Grace decides to encourage Mr. Lincoln to grow a beard to take after the fashion of the day.  Grace writes to Mr. Lincoln with her suggestion, and waits for a reply despite being teased by others for thinking a man of such prestige would waste his time to respond to a small girl.  Mr. Lincoln does respond, however, with kindness and an air of familiarity, pleasing Grace and impressing the community that doubted the power of a little girl.  Time passes, and word is sent that Mr. Lincoln has won the presidency.  On his way from Illinois to accept his position in Washington, D.C., Abraham Lincoln makes a stop in Grace Bedell’s hometown.  Mr. Lincoln has taken Grace’s advice and grown a beard; the first President of the United States to wear a beard, all owing to the suggestion of a little girl.

Abe Lincoln clean shaven, and with a beard. Retrieved from http://www.lettersofnote.com/2010/12/all-ladies-like-whiskers.html

Abe Lincoln clean shaven, and with a beard. Retrieved from http://www.lettersofnote.com/2010/12/all-ladies-like-whiskers.html

I was attracted to Mr. Lincoln’s Whiskers for three reasons.  First, I liked the alternate perspective of a major historical figure.  In this case, the story’s point of view was of a young girl admiring Abraham Lincoln, rather than the more common approach of retelling the story of Abraham Lincoln.  Second, I liked that the main character behaved and expressed thoughts that are representative of what might be typical of an 11 year old girl;  often stories written about historical figures reveal omniscience which tends to be unbelievable.  And lastly, I LOVED the fact that this story was based on actual correspondence between an 11 year old girl and Abraham Lincoln, thus making available to elementary students a fundamental aspect of research and historical inquiry – the primary source.

“She hurried over to her desk.  She took a sheet of paper and dipped her feather-quill pen into a pot of ink.  By the light of the moon she wrote…” (p. 8)

Letter to Abraham Lincoln, from Grace Bedell c.1860 Retrieved from http://www.lettersofnote.com/2010/12/all-ladies-like-whiskers.html

Letter to Abraham Lincoln, from Grace Bedell c.1860 Retrieved from http://www.lettersofnote.com/2010/12/all-ladies-like-whiskers.html

At the end of the story, a turn of the page reveals photographs of the actual correspondence between Grace Bedell (age 11 in 1860) and Abraham Lincoln, the gentleman from Springfield, IL who is campaigning for presidency of the United States.  A very close friend of mine, who happens to be a veteran elementary school teacher and former middle school teacher, shared my enthusiasm when I told her about this surprise ending of Mr. Lincoln’s Whiskers.  She pointed out that it is exceedingly difficult to teach students at the elementary level using historical primary sources that are relevant and meaningful (let alone, readable!).  Often the language is difficult to understand, and the subject matter more often than not concerns the perspectives and events of adults.  A connection to a major (and  favorite) historical figure such as Abraham Lincoln, to the perspective of a child of the same time period is gold to a teacher dedicated to bringing relevance and depth to history in the classroom.

“The chug-a-chug got louder and louder.  A bell rang.  Gray clouds rose from the engine’s smoke stack.  People shouted and waved flags.  The long, dark train drew into the station.

Grace stood on her toes but she could not see over the stovepipe hats and feather bonnets.  Where was Mr. Lincoln?  Was he speaking?  Should couldn’t hear with all the clapping and cheering.” (p. 25)

This story can be used in the classroom in a variety of ways.  With a Lexile of 420, this would be a perfect selection for reading alone or partner-reading in lower elementary grades.  Text is inlaid over full page illustrations that denote period costume and events.  The story representation of the correspondence between Lincoln and Miss Bedell are written in proper letter format on white background.  Mr. Lincoln’s Whiskers can be used to direct students in identifying and applying correspondence format.  This story could also be a great supplement to US history lessons, exploring Abraham Lincoln and the presidential election of 1860, or exploring other historical elements like gender disparity.  This story can be used to compare and contrast elements of the historical time period to its counterpart in the 21st century.  And of course, this story allows primary sources to be brought into the elementary classroom in a relevant and inspiring manner.  Using Miss Bedell’s letter as inspiration, students can compose their own letters to the President.  With presidential election season upon us, it might also be an opportunity to introduce civic responsibilities.

AASL:  3.3.4 Create products that apply to authentic real-world contexts.  4.1.3 Respond to literature in various formats and genres

CCSS:  CC.3.W.7 Conduct short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.  CC.3.SL.1.d  Explain own ideas and understanding in light of discussion.

For some ideas on how to incorporate Mr. Lincoln’s Whiskers, check out the links below:

Children’s Literature: Social Studies:  https://childrenslit-socialstudies.wikispaces.com/Mr.+Lincoln’s+Whiskers+Reinforcing+Activity

Smithsonian National Museum of American History Reading guide for Mr. Lincoln’s Whiskers: http://amhistory.si.edu/ourstory/pdf/lincoln/reading_whiskers.pdf

http://amhistory.si.edu/ourstory/activities/lincoln/

Education World: Five parts of a letter: http://www.educationworld.com/a_tsl/archives/07-1/lesson003.shtml

Resources

American (2011). Crosswalk of the common core standards and the standards for the 21st-century Learner. Huron St. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/aasl/sites/ala.org.aasl/files/content/guidelinesandstandards/commoncorecrosswalk/pdf/CrosswalkEnglishStandardAll1-4.pdf

Reading is a window to the world. (2007). . Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/aasl/sites/ala.org.aasl/files/content/guidelinesandstandards/learningstandards/AASL_Learning_Standards_2007.pdf

Winnick, K. B. (1996). Mr. Lincoln’s whiskers. Honesdale, Pa: Boyds Mills Press.

 

Teaching math through managing money: “Alexander, Who Used to be Rich Last Sunday” (1978) by Judith Viorst

“Last Sunday, when I used to be rich, I used to have a dollar.  I do not have a dollar any more.  I’ve got this dopey deck of cards.  I’ve got this one-eyed bear.  I’ve got this melted candle.  And… some bus tokens.” (p. 25)

"Alexander, Who Used to be Rich Last Sunday" by Judith Viorst, Illustrated by Ray Cruz. Lexile 570 Adult-directed Retrieved from https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/181131.Alexander_Who_Used_to_Be_Rich_Last_Sunday?from_new_nav=true&ac=1

“Alexander, Who Used to be Rich Last Sunday” by Judith Viorst, Illustrated by Ray Cruz. Lexile 570 Adult-directed Retrieved from https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/181131.Alexander_Who_Used_to_Be_Rich_Last_Sunday?from_new_nav=true&ac=1

One of the surest ways that I know to get students of any age to understand math is to deal with money.  And only slightly less effective is to apply principles of mathematics to favorite foods like cookies, pizza, and candy.  Children learn the advantages of money at a very early age: Money is useful to get things that they want.  They learn the values of coins and bills, and learn to negotiate payment for services (chores), as they observe and interact with their families and local community.  In my experience, even the most mathematically resistant student will look like a wiz when posed with a math problem headed by a dollar sign.  Percentages, fractions, proportions, and even algebra are more easily navigated if money is the topic.  Of course this is not to say that students are financially literate.  When I came across Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday (1978) by Judith Viorst, I was instantly attracted to the possibility of not only using this picture book for math instruction, but for financial literacy instruction as well.

"Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day" by Judith Viorst, Illustrated by Ray Cruz. Lexile 970 Adult-directed Retrieved from https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46677.Alexander_and_the_Terrible_Horrible_No_Good_Very_Bad_Day

“Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” by Judith Viorst, Illustrated by Ray Cruz.  Lexile 970 Adult-directed    Retrieved from https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46677.Alexander_and_the_Terrible_Horrible_No_Good_Very_Bad_Day

Alexander (the same beloved character from the well known story Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (1972) by Judith Viorst) has received a dollar bill from his grandparents on their visit, but cannot manage to save his money.  Over the course of a week, Alexander has squandered his treasure.  To add insult to injury, Alexander is faced with his older brothers’ uncanny ability to hold on to their money.  Tortured by their teasing and taunting, Alexander retaliates prompting his Father to fine him for his bad behavior. (I have a special appreciation for this: My father would fine me and my siblings for bad behavior, rather than doling out other more common types of punishments.)  Lamenting his poor money management skills, Alexander discovers that it is difficult to save money, and equally as difficult to earn money; but to spend money is far too easy!

Uses in the Classroom

There are so many uses for this picture book in the classroom.  I feel comfortable that this would be a well-received story from kindergarten through 6th grade, because Alexander is a familiar and well-loved character.  Alexander is also imperfect, making him an especially engaging and sympathetic character.

“Mom says if I really want to buy a walkie-talkie, save my money.  Saving money is hard.” (p.11)

Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday can be used to develop reading and listening skills in young and emergent readers.  Short bursts of text (Lexile 570) surrounded by white space are supported by highly expressive black and white illustrations, adding visual context clues to aid in comprehension of the corresponding text.  Key words are repeated throughout the story, and stylistic patterns pop up throughout the story, reinforcing the iterative learning process.  Because the context of the story is familiar and relevant to the audience, the life skills lessons being taught serve as an extra layer for learning.

“It isn’t fair that my brother Anthony has two dollars and three quarters and one dime and seven nickels and eighteen pennies.” (p.1)

Math instruction or practice can be easily integrated into the reading experience.  Students can be directed to add up the amounts that Alexander spends using mental math skills , or as a challenge, they can subtract from his starting point of one dollar.  Students can also be challenged to add the amounts each of Alexander’s brothers have, computing numerical value from money vocabulary listed in the story.  Students can chart Alexander’s spending, practicing organization of data.

“My father told me to put the dollar away to pay for college.

He was kidding.” (p. 8)

Financial literacy – which includes understanding the value of money, as well as developing skills in handling money responsibly – can also be addressed using Alexander, Who used to Be Rich Last Sunday.  Class discussion of choices – what, how, and why choices are made – and the repercussions of those choices is a great place to start.  Discussing and demonstrating the hows and whys of saving money is another great lesson in financial literacy.  Finally, discussing the ease with which Alexander spends his money compared to the difficulty he has to make money will help students understand the value of money not just as currency for purchasing, but demonstrating the value of money as payment for hard work.

For examples of lesson plans check out the following:

Second grade lesson plans:  Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday  – Financial and economic concepts

Scholastic Lesson Plans, Grades 3 – 6: Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday – Understanding Opportunity Costs

Second grade lesson plans: Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday – Making Choices

Kindergarten through 2nd grade lesson plans: Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday – Coin Values

AASL: 1.1.2 Use background knowledge as context for new learning

CCSS: 5.NF.6 Solve real world problems involving multiplication of fractions and mixed mumbers  K.CC.4a Understand the relationship between numbers and quantities  K.MD.3  Classify objects into given categories; count the numbers of objects in each category; sort the categories by count

Resources

American (2013). Crosswalk of the common core standards and the standards for the 21st-century Learner. Huron St. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/aasl/sites/ala.org.aasl/files/content/guidelinesandstandards/commoncorecrosswalk/pdf/All_Math_Standards.pdf

Common core state standards initiative. (2016). Retrieved March 14, 2016, from http://www.corestandards.org/Math/Practice/

Crawford, J. (2011). Math solutions lesson from the classroom Alexander used to be rich A lesson for grades K–2 overview of lesson. Retrieved from http://www.mathsolutions.com/documents/alexander_used_tobe_rich_i39.pdf

Grade Two making choices. (2005). . Retrieved from https://www.texasbankers.com/docs/alexander.pdf

Reading is a window to the world. (2007). Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/aasl/sites/ala.org.aasl/files/content/guidelinesandstandards/learningstandards/AASL_Learning_Standards_2007.pdf

Second grade – mathematics – FITC. Retrieved March 14, 2016, from http://financeintheclassroom.org/passport/second/math.shtml

Shirley. (2012, March 28). Resources and lesson plans for financial literacy. Retrieved March 14, 2016, from Integrated Studies, http://www.edutopia.org/stw-financial-literacy-resources-lesson-plans

Upromise. Retrieved March 14, 2016, from http://teacher.scholastic.com/upromise/3_6lessonplan/

Viorst, J., & Cruz, R. (1972). Alexander and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. New York: Atheneum

Viorst, J., & Cruz, R. (1978). Alexander, who used to be rich last Sunday. New York: Atheneum.

 

The works of David Macaulay: Science and engineering illustrated

I was first introduced to the works of David Macaulay by my 3 year old nephew.  He’s in his first year of college now, as it happens, deciding on whether he would like to focus on engineering or design as a career. Like the causality dilemma (“Which came first, the chicken or the egg?”), it’s difficult to tell whether my nephew was influenced by Macaulay’s books, or whether he was attracted to Macaulay’s books because he was inherently drawn to engineering and design.  Regardless, my nephew was enthralled by the drawings at a very early age, and later on entranced by the explanations that Macaulay provided on the logic, engineering, and mechanics behind the structures and machines he featured in his books.

"Cathedral: the story of its construction" by David Macaulay. Retrieved from https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/769471.Cathedral

“Cathedral: the story of its construction” by David Macaulay.  Lexile 1120  Retrieved from https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/769471.Cathedral

Cathedral: The story of its construction (1973) is Macaulay’s first publication, and received the Caldecott Honor Book award in 1977.  Over-sized (9″ x 12″) like a common picture book, Cathedral is anything but a common picture book.  It tells the story of the conception and construction of a 13th century Gothic cathedral in France with 79 beautifully illustrated pages detailing the structural design, the people, geography, and other contextual  elements seating the structure in time and place.  Each page, on average, incorporates only one paragraph of text off-set by considerable white space, appealing to emergent readers and advanced readers alike.  With a Lexile of 1120, Cathedral can captivate a broad audience with its easy to understand explanations and commentary, however, I recommend adult-direction for younger readers even though the pictures alone can be a satisfying exploratory experience.

While Cathedral (as with most of Macaulay’s works) focuses primarily on the practical and logical matters of engineering, Macaulay also includes historical context, explaining not just the hows, but the whys as well.  Adding this extra layer gives depth to the information, connecting the scientific concepts to the human experience, and the building of communities.  Macaulay also includes descriptions of the craftsman and the tools that they use, further enhancing the human connection – suggesting the possibility of developing such skills and mastery in the reader.

"The New Way Things Work" (1998) by David Macaulay. Retrieved from https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/109533.The_New_Way_Things_Work

“The New Way Things Work” (1998) by David Macaulay. Lexile 1180  Retrieved from https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/109533.The_New_Way_Things_Work

Since his first publication in 1973, Macaulay has published a new book nearly every year through 2010.  While most of his works are similar to Cathedral, focusing on engineering and mechanics, the topics vary from architecture of the Egyptian Pyramids to the mechanics of a toilet and the civil engineering of a sewage system.  Where Macaulay stays true is in his exceptionally detailed illustrations and his comprehensive (and entertaining) explanations, making his works a go-to for any child eager to understand the workings of the world around them.

"The Way Things Work" (1988) by David Macaulay. Retrieved from https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/304889.The_Way_Things_Work

“The Way Things Work” (1988) by David Macaulay.  Lexile 1180  Retrieved from https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/304889.The_Way_Things_Work

Included in his works are the titles The Way Things Work (1988) and The New Way Things Work (1998).  While still incorporating masterful illustration, Macaulay created these compendia to  include explanations of fundamental scientific concepts like the mechanics of movement, harnessing the elements (flying, floating, etc), electricity & automation, the digital domain, and the invention of machines.  Again, Macaulay uses illustrations and concise explanations to convey the science behind these swooping concepts, but this time uses the aid of a friendly woolly (pictured above) mammoth as host and chief demonstrator of the ideas.  This friendly character increases the approachability of the concepts for younger readers and those not predisposed to scientific inquiry, making these excellent additions to a the reference section of a school library or classroom.

Building Big logo from PBS.org Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/buildingbig/

Building Big logo from PBS.org Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/buildingbig/

Building Big  –  Lexile 1260

ALA Notable Children’s Books 2001

Booklist Editor’s Choice – Books for Youth, Older Readers Category, 2000

New York Times Notable Books – Children’s Books 2000

Parents’ Choice Awards – Nonfiction, 2001

Finally, owing to Macaulay’s in-depth and comprehensive approach to the otherwise daunting (to the lay person) concepts of structural and civil engineering, PBS has created a series of fascinating video broadcasts that apply the principles Macaulay discusses – applying them to actual structures and engineering projects.  Building Big (2000), a companion book to the PBS series of the same name, focuses on planning major civil engineering projects, identifying the design problems, and resolving those problems using practical application of engineering principles and the tools of the trade.  Both the book and the five part PBS series investigates bridges, domes, skyscrapers, dams, and tunnels.  This combination of educational videos, additional educational guides ( including labs and hands on activities), and companion book make this a fantastic selection for a school STEM (or STEAM) program.

NGSS: Meets standards across K – 12 in Engineering & Design Storyline, particularly “Ask questions, observe and gather information about a situation people want to change; identify the problem and its resolution.

CCSS:  Meets standards across broad range of grade levels, including RI.2.1 Ask and answer who, what, when, where, and why and demonstrate understanding of a text; RS/TS7 Integrate quantitative of technical information expressed in words of a text with visual version of that information

AASL: 1.1.3 Develop and refine a range of questions to frame the search for new understanding. 2.1.5 Collaborate with others in the exchange of ideas to come to new understandings, come to conclusions, and problem solve.

Resources

Achieve, Inc. (2013). DCI arrangements of the next generation science standards. Retrieved from http://www.nextgenscience.org/sites/default/files/NGSS%20DCI%20Combined%2011.6.13.pdf

American (2011). Crosswalk of the common core standards and the standards for the 21st-century Learner reading standards literacy in science/technology all AASL standards common core crosswalk. Huron St. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/aasl/sites/ala.org.aasl/files/content/guidelinesandstandards/commoncorecrosswalk/pdf/ReadingLitSciAllStandards.pdf

H, W. (2000). BUILDING BIG: Home page. Retrieved March 12, 2016, from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/buildingbig/

Macaulay, D., Macaulay, D., & Houghton Mifflin Company. (1973). Cathedral: The story of its construction. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.

Macaulay, D. (1988). The way things work. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Macaulay, D., Ardley, N., & Macaulay, D. (1998). The new way things work. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.

Macaulay, D. (2000). Building big. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Reading is a window to the world. (2007). . Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/aasl/sites/ala.org.aasl/files/content/guidelinesandstandards/learningstandards/AASL_Learning_Standards_2007.pdf

 

Poetry for youth: A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein (1981)

A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein (1981)

(Lexile: Not available ATOS: 2.0; Grade level equivalent: 3.2; see New Research on Text Complexity for more information)

Buckeye Children’s Book Award (Ohio): Grades 6 – 8

Garden State Children’s Book Award (New Jersey): Children’s Nonfiction

William Allen White Children’s Book Award ( Kansas): General Category

When I was a little girl, my Mom read poems to me and my siblings.  She had committed many to memory, delighting us with a perfectly timed poem inserted to grab our attention.  I still have many of those poems at the ready for the times I need to delight a messy group of little ones.  I haven’t met a small child who doesn’t love a well executed poem.

I’ve found that poetry isn’t much of a touchy subject for young children.  Most cherish the rhythmic meter and rhyme of a poem, lending itself to memorization.  It is not uncommon to come across small children joyously repeating a favorite poem as they busy themselves with play, much like the young adult habit of singing a favorite song.  Poems, especially those intended for small children, are often short and evocative, and meant to be read over and over; something every child is hard-wired to demand.  But around the age of 11, when reading resistance begins to take hold over many children’s reading experience, poetry seems to be the first format to go – at least traditional poetry.  By the early teen years, the acceptance and enjoyment for poetry gets replaced with lyrics to popular songs played on the (digital) radio.

In my experience, around the 4th and 5th grade when students have become more independent readers, gravitating toward chapter books with complex story lines and well developed characters (think Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, etc.), collections of poetry begin to gather dust on bookshelves.  But there is one exception:  Silly poems are still a favorite.

Shel Silverstein is a master of the silly poem, complimenting his well crafted words with pen-and-ink images that spring off the page in giggles.

The Sitter

“The Sitter” from A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein (1981)

THE SITTER

Mrs. McTwitter the baby-sitter,

I think she’s a little bit crazy,

She thinks a baby-sitter’s supposed

To sit upon the baby.

 

Silverstein’s mastery is in his ability to play with words and ideas, drawing attention to the absurdity of the mundane, and reframing the reader’s perspective to include a deeper or broader meaning of words and ideas.

BORED

I can’t afford a skateboard.  I can’t afford an outboard.  I can’t afford a surfboard.  All I can afford is a board.

"Bored" from A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein (1981)

“Bored” from A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein (1981)

Silverstein’s acumen for soberly addressing topics of human experience with an air of fun and frivolity makes his poetry appealing to children, teens, and adults.  Silverstein’s poetry appeals to the human spirit, which is why his poetry can be taught to a broad age range and to varying depths.

A Light in the Attic is filled with examples of well executed literary devices, like alliteration, consonance & assonance, malapropisms, oxymorons, and hyperbole.  While the vocabulary is not particularly complex (though rich in sight words), Silverstein’s clever use of words, and his knack for drawing from the audience’s background knowledge of common experiences, creates layers of meaning in his poems.  Additionally, the format of the book, with text off-set by wide open spaces and guiding pen-and-ink drawings, invites the reader to linger on each page contemplating the deeper meaning of Silverstein’s rhymes.  These are not just thinking poems, but they are also feeling poems connecting to our sense of self and place in this big world.

Bringing Poetry into the Classroom

April is National Poetry Month, if you were looking for an excuse to bring poetry into focus in your classroom.  Take a look at poetry.org for some ideas for lesson plans or on celebrating National Poetry Month with your students.

One of my favorite activities for emergent readers is “Poem in my Pocket.”  After introducing poetry to your class, exploring different authors, styles, lengths, and tone, have students spend some time reading poetry on their own, with a partner, or at home with parents.  The objective is to select a favorite poem that, on a selected day, the student will carry with them “in their pocket” to share with friends, teachers, or anyone they encounter in their daily routine.  This allows for iterative practice reading, and also gives the student opportunity to (think about and) converse about the meaning of the poem and why they like it.  It might also prove to be an opportunity to memorize a favorite poem, providing a lifetime of entertainment.

AASL: 4.1.1 Read for pleasure; 4.1.8 Use creative formats to express personal learning; 4.3.1 participate in social exchange of ideas; 4.4.1 Identify own areas of interest

CCSS: CC.3.SL.1.d Comprehension & Collaboration: Explain own ideas and understanding in light of discussion; CC. K(1,2,3).L.4 Vocabulary acquisition & use: Determine meaning in unknown words or phrases based on reading context; CC.1.R.L.1 Key ideas and details: Ask and answer questions about key details in text

For late elementary, you might try the Walt Whitman, Poet and Keen Observer lesson plan, or a variation on the same theme incorporating visual literacy skills and finding deeper meaning in a selected poem related to a visual cue (photograph, painting, drawing).  For a large array of photographs and artwork, try exploring The Commons on Flickr, the Library of Congress, or Found on National Geographic (a Tumblr.com blog).

AASL: 2.1.1 Apply critical thinking skills to information to construct new understanding, draw conclusions, and create new knowledge; 1.1.7 Make sense of information from diverse sources; 1.1.9 Collaborate with others to broaden or deepen understanding; 1.3.4 Contribute to the exchange of ideas within the learning community

CCSS: CC.4(5).SL.1.c Comprehension and collaboration: Pose and respond to questions, and contribute to discussion; CC.4(5).SL.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions; CC.1.R.I.4 Craft and structure: Ask and answer questions to clarify meaning of words and phrases in text

Resources

American (2011). Crosswalk of the common core standards and the standards for the 21st-century Learner. Huron St. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/aasl/sites/ala.org.aasl/files/content/guidelinesandstandards/commoncorecrosswalk/pdf/CrosswalkEnglishStandardAll1-4.pdf

Literary-Devices. (2010). Literary devices. Retrieved March 10, 2016, from http://literary-devices.com/

Poets, A. of A. (2014, May ). Walt Whitman, poet and keen observer. Retrieved March 10, 2016, from https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/lesson/walt-whitman-poet-and-keen-observer

Reading is a window to the world. (2007). . Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/aasl/sites/ala.org.aasl/files/content/guidelinesandstandards/learningstandards/AASL_Learning_Standards_2007.pdf

Silverstein, S. (1981). A light in the attic. New York, N.Y: Harper & Row.

Supplemental information for Appendix A of the common core state standards for English language arts and literacy: New research on text complexity. Retrieved from http://www.corestandards.org/assets/E0813_Appendix_A_New_Research_on_Text_Complexity.pdf