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The Study of Poetry and Literature for Children & Young Adults

Poetry Break #2: A Poem Relevant to Mathematics

Introduction: For many students, math is an intimidating subject. This poem both recognizes that fact and provides a note of hilarity so that students realize it really isn't the end of the world "when a long division gets stuck in their brains." This is appropriate for 3rd through 6th grades.

By Beverly McLoughland
Sammy's head is pounding--
Sammy's in pain--
A long division's got
Stuck in his brain--
Call for the locksmith
Call the engineer
Call for the plumber
To suck out his ear,
Call the brain surgeon
To pry out the mess,
Call the Coast Guard
Sammy's head is pounding--
Sammy's in pain--
A long division's got
Stuck in his brain.
Poetry Extension: Read the poem to the students then discuss the stress of a long division stuck in someone's brain. Have the children draw illustrations for  the poem as you read it a second time. Let the children know that help is available with long division and you won't even need to call the plumber!
For a musically inclined class, have the kids rap the poem them come up with their own rap version of a stressful homework assignment. Have them perform for the class.

Hopkins, Lee Bennett. 1997. Marvelous Math: A Book of Poems. Ill. by Karen Barbour. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0689806582


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

Module 4: Poetry Break #3