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The Study of Poetry and Literature for Children & Young Adults

Poetry Break #5: A Poem that can be matched with a book of nonfiction

Introduction: I picked this because my name is Mary and when I was in fourth grade my mother bought me a lamb. Strictly for that reason! I was one of six children and the only one with my own sheep. And yes, I did take it to school one day. My teacher was very receptive to new ideas and turned it into a fun learning experience for the whole class.

By Alice Schertle
They look
like the
soft gray caps of mushrooms
too big to be believed.
Burlap sacks of         something.
Sometimes they look just
like piles of laundry.
Plumped up pillows.
Lumps of clay.
They look like old tombstones
sunk down shoulder deep.
Then one starts moving off
across the meadow
and all
the others            follow,
like sheep.
Poetry Extension: Read the poem to 1st through 4th graders. Instruct them to listen carefully to figure out what you are talking about. Pay attention to the line breaks and the built in pauses as you read.
At the end ask the children what they thought we were reading about.
Discuss how things can appear as something else from a distance.
Then introduce the guest speaker--a weaver from the local Weaver's Guild. If coordinated ahead of time she will bring in raw wool to tease, comb, then roll and have each child spin into yarn with a drop spindle. When the children are done, they each will have their own real wool yarn they made themselves.
If time is available, children can write a poem about the experience of creating yarn from raw wool or what they plan to make with their yarn.

Schertle, Alice. 1999. A Lucky Thing. Ill. by Wendell Minor. New York: Harcourt Brace & Company. ISBN 0152005412


Nelson, Robin. 2003. From Sheep to Sweater. Minneapolis, MN: Lerner Publications. ISBN 022507161


Click on the following link to proceed to the poetry book review.

Module 4: Poetry Book Review