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The Study of Poetry and Literature for Children & Young Adults

Poetry Module 2: Major Poets


Poetry Break #1
A Poem by Shel Silverstein
Introduction: I chose this poem because I could picture a room full of 3rd graders wiggling and jumping, trying to do the dances in the poem. Also, the idea of a dancing bear escaping from the circus just to find someone new to dance with is hilarious.

Danny O'Dare
By Shel Siverstein
Danny O'Dare, the dancin' bear,
Ran away from the County Fair,
Ran right up to my back stair
And thought he'd do some dancin' there.
He started jumpin' and skipin' and kickin'
He did a dance called the Funky Chicken.
He did the Polka, he did the Twist,
He bent himself into a pretzel like this.
He did the Dog and the Jitterbug,
He did the Jerk and the Bunny Hug.
He did the Waltz and the Boogaloo.
He did the Hokey-Pokey too.
He did the Bop and the Mashed Potata,
He did the Split and the See Ya Later.
And now he's down upon one knee,
Bowin' oh so charmingly,
And winkin' and smilin'--it's easy to see
Danny O'Dare wants to dance with me.
Poetry Extension: This poem will be perfect for restless 3rd graders in desperate need of a break. Read it slowly and have the kids listen. Then, tell the kids to stand by their desks and move if they want to and read it again faster with rhythm and bounce  You will be amazed at some of the contortions the children do trying to act out the poem and keep up with the rhythm at the same time. Then when they are all tired out and everyone is seated again, have a discussion on which animals can be trained to dance. Each child can write and illustrate a poem with their particular choice.

Silverstein, Shel. 1996. Falling up. Ill. by Shel Silverstein. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 006248033


Click on the following link to proceed to the next poetry break.

Module 2, Poetry Break #2