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Poet Study - Poems

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A Few of My Favorites:
from Jack Prelutsky

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Mrs. McKeown's Poetry

Introduction:
Use a pair of Groucho Marx type glasses with the large nose on them and make motions to the different parts of the body that the poem discusses as you read the poem.

Be Glad Your Nose is on Your Face

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Be glad your nose is on your face,
not pasted on some other place,
for if it were where it is not,
you might dislike your nose a lot.

Imagine if your precious nose
were sandwiched in between your toes,
that clearly would not be a treat,
for you'd be forced to smell your feet.

Your nose would be a source of dread
were it attached atop your head,
it soon would drive you to despair,
forever tickled by your hair.

Within your ear, your nose would be
an absolute catastrophe,
for when you were obliged to sneeze,
your brain would rattle from the breeze.

Your nose, instead, through thick and thin,
remains between your eyes and chin,
not pasted on some other place--
be glad your nose is on your face!


From The New Kid on the Block, published by Greenwillow, 1984.

Extension:
Have your students choose an (appropriate) part of their body to write about similar to Prelutsky's poem.

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Introduction:
Set the stage, discuss how the students have felt when they have a new kid move into the neighborhood.

The New Kid on the Block

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There's a new kid on the block,
and boy, that kid is tough,
that new kid punches hard,
that new kid plays real rough,
that new kid's big and strong,
with muscles everywhere,
that new kid tweaked my arm,
that new kid pulled my hair.

That new kid likes to fight,
and picks on all the guys,
that new kid scares me some,
(that new kid's twice my size),
that new kid stomped my toes,
that new kid swiped my ball,
that new kid's really bad,
I don't care for her at all.

From The New Kid on the Block, published by Greenwillow, 1984.

Extension:
Ask the students: Have you ever been the "New Kid on the Block"? How did they feel? Or did they ever know someone like the "new kid" in Prelutsky's poem? Have them write in their journals. (either in poem or short essay form)

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Introduction:
Bring as many bears as you can find and try to get enough for the whole class. Let each student hold a bear as you read the poem.

Oh, Teddy Bear

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Oh, Teddy Bear, dear Teddy,
though you're gone these many years,
I recall with deep affection
how I nibbled on your ears,
I can hardly keep from smiling,
and my heart beats fast and glows,
when I think about the morning
that I twisted off your nose.

Teddy Bear, you didn't whimper,
Teddy Bear, you didn't pout,
when I reached in with my fingers
and tore your tummy out,
and you didn't even mumble
or emit the faintest cries,
when I pulled your little paws off,
when I bit your button eyes.

Yes, you sat beside me calmly,
and you didn't once protest,
when I ripped apart the stuffing
that was packed inside your chest,
and you didn't seem to notice
when I yanked out all your hair-
it's been ages since I've seen you,
but I miss you Teddy Bear.

From The New Kid on the Block, published by Greenwillow, 1984.

Extension:
Have the students write a poem about their bear. If they can't come up with a poem that deals with the bear, then have them focus on a childhood security.

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Introduction:
Make spaghetti (casserole) heated and let it fill the air with the smell. Then read the poem.

The Spaghetti Nut

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Eddie the spaghetti nut
courted pretty Nettie Cutt.
They wed and Ed and Nettie got
a cottage in Connecticut.

Eddie said to Nettie,"Hot
spaghetti I've just got to get."
So, Nettie put it in a pot
and cooked spaghetti hot and wet.

Nettie cut spaghetti up
for Eddie in Connecticut.
Eddie slurped it from a cup,
that hot spaghetti Nettie cut.

Then Eddie, Nettie and their cat
that Nettie called Spaghettipet
all sat in the spaghetti vat-
so much for their spaghettiquette.

From The Sheriff of Rottenshot, published by Greenwillow, 1982.

Extension:
Serve the spaghetti.

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Introduction:
Use a yeast container and a shoe polish container. Fill them with something edible that looks similar to the real thing. Keep eating them as you read or act out the poem.

Uncle Bungle

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Uncle Bungle, now deceased,
ate a cake of Baker's yeast,
then with an odd gleam in his eye
consumed a large shoe-polish pie.

His dinner done, it's sad to say,
that Uncle Bungle passed away.
Uncle Bungle, now deceased,
still shines and rises in the east.

from The Queen of Eene, published by Greenwillow, 1978.

Extension:
Have the students write a poem about eating strange and unusual things like this one. Clarify they need to have a person eating strange things and something has to happen to them as a result.

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The Turkey Shot Out of the Oven

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Introduction:
Have you ever had funny things happen in the kitchen? Discuss some of their ideas before you read the poem.

The turkey shot out of the oven
and rocketed into the air,
it knocked every plate off the table
and partly demolished the chair.

It richocheted into a corner
and burst with a deafening boom,
then splattered all over the kitchen,
completely obscuring the room.

It stuck to the walls and the windows
it totally coated the floor,
there was turkey attached to the ceiling,
where there'd never been turkey before.

It blanketed every appliance,
it smeared every saucer and bowl,
there wasn't a way I could stop it,
that turkey was out of control.

I scraped and I scrubbed with displeasure,
and thought with chagrin as I mopped,
that I'd never again stuff a turkey
with popcorn that hadn't been popped.

From Something Big Has Been Here, published by Greenwillow Books, 1990.

Extension:
Have students gather as many poems as they can about kitchen or cooking mishaps or even about food. Make a class anthology with the favorite poems.

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Why Do I Have To Clean My Room

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Introduction:
Read this poem in conjuction with the poem picture book "Clean Your Room Harvey Moon!" by Pat Cummings, published by Aladdin Paperbacks, 1991.

Why do I have to clean my room
when I would rather play?
The crayons scattered on the floor
are hardly in the way.
I almost never trip upon
my basketball or drums,
and I don't pay attention
to cake and cookie crumbs.

Why do I have to clean my room?
I think my room looks nice.
There's pizza in the corner,
but it's only half a slice.
I'm not at all concerned about
the gravy on the chair,
my piles of model planes and trains,
my stacks of underwear.

I will admit some bits of clay
are sticking to the wall.
I scarcely even notice them
and do not mind at all.
Beneath my bed there's just a wedge
of last weeks apple pie,
and yet I have to clean my room ...
I simply don't know why.

From It's Raining Pigs and Noodles, published by Greenwillow Books, 2000.

Extension:
Have the students compare and contrast each one of the poems. Have them record the similarities and differences and then write their own poem about their room.

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My Underdog is Overweight

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Introduction:
Read the poem outloud to the students. After they have heard it, brainstorm another idea for and additional stanza to the poem. Add a stanza as a class.

My underdog is overweight,
he has an underbite,
he tends to tunnel underground
and stay there overnight.

That overactive underdog
is often hard to bear...
he overate my overcoat
and all my underwear.

From It's Raining Pigs and Noodles, published by Greenwillow Books, 2000.

Extension:
Have the student write a stanza on their own.

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I Often Repeat Repeat Myself

Introduction:
I would use this poem to get kids listening to patterns. It would be a great introduction any class.

I often repeat repeat myself,
I often repeat repeat.
I don't don't know why know why,
I simply know that I I I
am am inclined to say to say
a lot a lot this way this way-
I often repeat repeat myself,
I often repeat repeat.

I often repeat repeat myself,
I often repeat repeat.
My mom my mom gets mad gets mad,
it irritates my dad my dad,
it drives them up a tree a tree,
that's what they tell they tell me me-
I often repeat repeat myself,
I often repeat repeat.

I often repeat repeat myself,
I often repeat repeat.
It gets me in a jam a jam,
but that's the way I am I am,
in fact I think it's neat it's neat
to to to to repeat repeat-
I often repeat repeat myself,
I often repeat repeat.

From A Pizza The Size of the Sun, published by Greenwillow Books, 1996.

Extension:
Have the students take the time to think about a time they felt like no one was listening to them. Did they ever feel like they had to continually repeat themselves to be heard? Have them write about it in their journals.

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Poet Study-Jack Prelutsky

Poet Study - Biography

Poet Study - Booklist