Thursday, April 21, 2016

NPM Celebrations - Kindergarten Day

April 21st is Kindergarten Day. This day celebrates the birthday of Friedrich Frobel (born in 1782), who is credited with starting the first Kindergarten in Germany in 1837.

This seems like a good time to celebrate the joys of play at school with a selection of poems about recess.

Stampede!: Poems to Celebrate the Wild Side of School (2009), 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.

King of the Jungle (Gym)

From metal branch
to metal vine,
I dip and dive—
this jungle's mine.

Back and forth
I soar and swing.
On monkey bars
I'm Monkey King!

Playground Sparrows

In one wave, we fly the coop.
We flood the field, we slide and loop.
We flock together, shout and whoop.
Then school bell rings, and—

Poems ©Laura Purdie Salas, 2009. All rights reserved.

Messing Around on the Monkey Bars: And Other School Poems for Two Voices (2009), written by Betsy Franco and illustrated by Jessie Hartland, is a collection of school poems that takes readers on a ride around the school and schoolyard, beginning with the school bus and ending with the final school bell. 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 Bars

Time for recess!
Here we are,

messing around
on the monkey bars!

Hand over hand,
fast or slow,

calling to
our friends below.

Skipping two bars,
skipping three,

dangling down
by just our knees.

Swinging up
above the ground,

missing bars
and tumbling down.

Hooting, howling,
here we are,

messing around
on the monkey bars!

Poem  ©Betsy Franco, 2009. All rights reserved.

For information on how to use this book in the classroom you can download a teacher's guide for Franco's book.
I Thought I'd Take My Rat to School: Poems for September to June, selected by Dorothy Kennedy and Illustrated by Abby Carter, contains 57 poems that describe the range of experiences children have in school, from classroom pets, to school supplies, recess, mean kids, and more.

by Lilian Moore

The children
scribble their shadows
on the school yard,

on a great blackboard—

lanky leg
running into
lifted arm shadows
bouncing ball shapes
into skinny upside down shadows
long monkey bars

a cloud
across the morning sun
wipes out all
like a giant

Poem  ©Lilian Moore. All rights reserved.

The Bug in the Teacher's Coffee: And Other School Poems (2002), written by Kalli Dakos and illustrated by Mike Reed, is an I Can Read Book designed to introduce poetry to children learning to read independently. The mask poems in this book are short, rhymed, and full of bouncy fun.

Monkey Bars

Rightside up,
and upside down,
Back and forth,
And all around,
The kids
are making monkey sounds!

Poem  © Kalli Dakos, 2002. All rights reserved.

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.

by Jenna & Abigail

I'm the very bet at tag.
It's my great claim to fame.
I can zig and I can zag.
I'm the very best at tag.
I'll let the cat out of the bag—
my dog taught me the game.
I'm the very best at tag.
It's my great claim to fame.

My classmates call me Snail.
At tag, I'm always It.
My real name's Abigail.
My classmates call me Snail.
I wish they'd let me bail.
I'd much prefer to sit.
My classmates call me Snail.
At tag, I'm always It.

Poem ©Marilyn Singer. All rights reserved.

Hello School!: A Classroom Full of Poems (2001), written by Dee Lillegard and illustrated by Don Carter, is a collection of 38 very brief poems for young children. These short poems describe furniture, school supplies, and daily events in an early childhood classroom.

They hang around
stare at the sky . . .
wait to be sat on
so they can fly!

Slippery slithery
Slide says, Go!
This is not time to be shy
or slow.

Poems ©Dee Lillegard, 2001. All rights reserved.

That's it for today. I hope you'll join me tomorrow for our next celebration.

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