For my 2008 series on poetry in the classroom I wrote a post entitled School Daze. In that post I mentioned some of my favorite poetry books about school, including I Thought I'd Take My Rat to School: Poems for September to June, School Supplies: A Book of Poems, and Do Buses Eat Kids?: Poems About School. Since then, a number of new titles about school have been published. Now seems like a good time to mention them.
First Food Fight This Fall: And Other School Poems, written by Marilyn Singer and illustrated by Sachiko Yoshikawa, follows a group of children as they learn and grow over the course of a school year. These poems are written in the children's voices and fairly sing about the highs and lows of school. What's most interesting is that readers will see how the kids grow and change over the course of the year. Here are two poems that show this growth.
The Class I Hate
don't wanna shoot a basket,
or join a baseball team,
or walk the balance beam.
Would I care to climb a rope,
run, or tumble? One word: nope!
I don't even like to swim.
Guess what class I hate.
The Class I Love
Hickory, dickory, dock,
hurry up, hurry up, clock!
I want the time to pass
so I can get to class.
Here's the crazy thing:
I can cha-cha, rumba, swing,
do merengue, salsa, too.
There's no dance that I can't do.
Yes, I know what I once said.
But now I love, love, LOVE Phys. Ed.!
Poems ©Marilyn Singer. All rights reserved.
Stampede!: Poems to Celebrate the Wild Side of School, written by Laura Purdie Salas and illustrated by Steven Salerno, is a collection of poems that recognizes and celebrates the ways kids mimic the behaviors of animals. The poems are funny, clever, and clearly recognize the ups and downs of being a kid. Here is one of my favorites.
NestingThe poem "Tomorrow Is Picture Day?" is also a favorite, but it's so much better when the author reads it. Take a look!
I'm one quiet fox.
My desk is my den,
with quizzes, smooth rocks, and
a note from a friend.
I tuck deep inside
the hollowed-out wood
to make me feel safe when I'm
Poem ©Laura Purdie Salas. All rights reserved.
Messing Around on the Monkey Bars: And Other School Poems for Two Voices, written by Betsy Franco and illustrated by Jessie Hartland - This collection of school poems takes readers on a ride around the school and schoolyard, beginning with the school bus and ending with the final school bell. In between there are poems about lunch money, homework, recess, the library and more. In the author's note Franco says "Though these poems can be read silently and enjoyed by a single person, they are the most fun when read aloud by two people." This is followed by a graphic that shows what the voices look like. In the poem below, the plain font is Voice 1, the bold font is Voice 2, and the larger bold font is for both voices to speak at the same time.
Messing Around on the Monkey BarsYou can also download a teacher's guide for Franco's book.
Time for recess!
Here we are,
on the monkey bars!
Hand over hand,
fast or slow,
our friends below.
Skipping two bars,
by just our knees.
above the ground,
and tumbling down.
here we are,
on the monkey bars!
Poem ©Betsy Franco. All rights reserved.
Here are some additional resources for thinking about school-themed poetry.
- The Poetry Foundation has a nice article entitled Poetry Goes Back to School.
- Elaine at Wild Rose Reader has a wonderful post on going back to school with poetry.
- The Giggle Poetry site has teacher and principal poems, school lunch poems, homework poems, school blues poems, school activities poems, and more!
- Poetry for Kids also has some school-themed poems.