Today, again my students meet with me by starting our lesson in our classroom meeting place-our rug near the easel. I remind students of the ocean poems we’ve recently read. We also do a quick review of the vocabulary we’ve acquired about poetry using our poetry anchor chart, including terms such as stanza, line, poet, poetry, etc.
At this point, I lean in and tell my students, “Boys and girls… guess what? Today, I’m going to read you my very favorite ocean poem!” I hear a few students gasp! I add, “The poem I’m going to read today is my favorite for a reason, but I’d like to see if you can figure out why it’s my favorite first, without me telling you just yet!” I’ve instantly got my students hooked! They’re wondering which poem might be my favorite, already trying to make guess, or starting to think over which poem we might not have read just yet!
At this point, students head back to their seats and we pass out our poetry books that we’ve been using to learn about and practice reading ocean poetry. I say to the students, “Alright boys and girls, let’s turn to page 7 where we will find my favorite ocean poem, entitled “Song of a Shell”, which is written by Violet L. Cuslidge.” I tell the students that as I read today, I want them to think about why this might be my favorite poem. They can think about what they know about me, and what I like, or don’t like, to help them make some guesses as to why this might be my favorite poem. Then I begin to read the poem to the students.
Once I’m done reading, I tell the students that I bet they may have some guesses as to why this is my favorite poem. I ask the students to turn and talk to their tablemates about their guesses, or prediction, as to why this might be my favorite poem! As the students talk, I listen in, and this is really a fun part of the lesson! I’m listening for vocabulary usage of poetry terms, as well as making mental notes of which students are demonstrating active speaking and listening skills. But, as I do, it’s so fun to hear what the kids come up with!
After a few minutes, I regain the students’ attention using our Clapping Ball (see my Strategy Lessons folder for more information on the Clapping Ball). Then I ask students from each table group to share what the group was thinking! It’s again fun to listen to what each group is thinking, but something interesting happens. While I discuss with the students about their ideas, I point out that not each group had the same idea as to why this is my favorite poem. I ask the class, “Do you think this okay? Can we have different ideas?” The students agree that yes, we could all have different ideas! I agree with the class, and tell them that now that they have made their best guesses, I wonder if they would like to know why this is actually my favorite poem. Of course, all the students say, “Yes!”, so I share with them what this poem means to me, or what I see when I read this poem. I tell the kids that this poem reminds me of great times I’ve had with my family, many of which have taken place by a seashore! I love this poem because it reminds us that we don’t have to go to a special place in order to remember it; instead, we can think back to the memory, or even use something as simple as the sound of the shell (or the song inside of the shell) to remind us of a special memory! What a neat poem!
I tell the kids, “Boys and girls! I am so proud of you because you just did something wonderful-you demonstrated that you know sometimes poems can be interpreted differently by different people, based on their interests, knowledge of a topic, feelings at that moment, and more! This means that we can “see” different things in poems since we are all different. We make meaning from poems about what they might mean to us, and this helps us identify our own point of view, as compared to the narrator’s (or author’s or poet’s) point of view!
Now I tell the students that we will read another poem together today as a class. This time though, as I read this poem to share it with them, I’d like them to draw what they “see” in their minds. This time, we share the poem “Seal Lullaby” written by Rudyard Kipling. I read as the students draw, and when they are finished, I again ask the kids to turn and share with their tablemates what they saw. In particular, I ask the students to have a conversation about the following:
-What was this poem about?
-What do you think the poet, or author, was trying to tell us?
-What did you “see” when you heard the poem?
After the students are done discussing, I tell the students that know I’d like them to choose a third poem from our poetry books. They can choose any poem they’d like to read. I tell the students that I’d like them to read this poem carefully, again drawing what they “see” in their mind when they read this poem. But, then I add a bit. When they finish their drawing this time, I’d like them also write about the poem. I’d like for the students to write about their point of view! Tell me what your point of view was when reading this poem. What did you think it was it about? What did you think or feel about this poem? Then, I ask the students to compare their point of view to that of the poet by deciding, either yes or no, they have the same point of view as the poet, and then explaining their thinking in writing. As students work, I circulate around the room to further clarify any misconceptions or answer any question for students, as well as to discuss with them about their point of view about the poems they’ve chosen to read.
At the close of the lesson, I regain students attention and remind students that poetry is a neat form of text because it can mean different things for different people. I ask the class, “Is there someone that has the “right” point of view?” The students all respond with “No!” I ask, “Why not?” Students offer that a person’s thinking is their thinking, and even though it may be different than the poet’s thinking, it’s okay because it belongs to them! “Yes! That’s right! Everyone has their own point of view, and while sometimes, it may be the same as the poet or author, it can of course be different as well! Well done today recognizing your own point of view!”