A few weeks ago I mentioned having a poem of the week as part of our daily routine as a way to introduce poetry to Joey. Our first poem, “:The Arrow & The Song” by Henry Longfellow, I choose from the Gutenberg’s list of poems every child should know.
I originally thought of doing a poem a week, but realized that would be a lot of preparation on my end and may be too short of time for Joey to become acquainted with the poem. So, we’ll have a new poem every 2 weeks. This has worked out well and Joey has the poem memorized, although he recites it at warp speed.
This is what our Poem of the Week board looks like:
How I Made the Board
I have laminated the labels, put the poem in a protector sheet (I cut off the edge you’d put in a binder) and used double-sided tape to stick it to the board. I cut another protector for the poet section making a smaller sleeve.
To secure the end I cut, I put double-sided tape between the sheets and on the edges, hence the blue strips so you can’t see the tape. Gotta keep things pretty, right?
With the protective sleeves, I can just switch the poem and the poet info out.
On the right, I put a cork board and a bag holding pictures of key words in the poem. Originally I thought having a felt type flannel board would be good, but decided it would be too much work and cost to cut my own pictures out of felt every few weeks.
For our first poem, I picked something I thought would interest Joey. He likes pretending he has a bow and arrow, so “The Arrow & The Song” seemed a good fit.
Each morning after our calendar, we recite the poem together. Joey picked it up pretty quickly and when there was a phrase he struggled with I’d say it again being careful to enunciate, then we’d say it again. As Joey would pick up the picture pieces, I’d recite the poem again.
For the information on the poet, I wrote up a mini bio from Wikipedia and the Longfellow society. I keep the information basic: where the poet was born, his main occupation, famous works, and what style of poetry he wrote.
I wanted to have a basic format that would be easy to keep up with subsequent poets, while still introducing Joey to different styles of poetry.
Key Word Pictures
While we recited the poem, Joey would pick up a key word picture as it was said. This poem was pretty easy, because Joey was able to act out the poem with the pictures. I know other poems will be more abstract, but this was a part he really enjoyed and helped to make the abstract more concrete.
This part also gave us the chance to talk about what the poet was saying and what it meant.