I love poems
I love poems. Children do too. Poetry is a great way of introducing children to the joy of language, as well as to features such as rhythm, rhyme, alliteration, similes and metaphors. What is taught through poetry can be as simple or as complex as required by the ages of the children or your teaching purpose.
One of the great benefits of teaching young children through poetry is the fun aspect. It’s enjoyable for teachers and students alike and, when children innovate on poems to create poems of their own, very motivating.
With St Valentine’s Day not far away it is timely to read and write love poems. One of my favourite poems for writing with young children is based on the traditional camping song I love the mountains. I was taught the poem by the amazing literacy educator Bill Martin Jr at a reading conference in the 1980s, and used it with every group of children I taught thereafter. I have previously written about that on my other blog here.
The repetitive structure and easy melody invites children to join in and is easy for children to use in writing poems of their own, whether they are emergent, beginning, or advanced writers. The poems can be completed using pictures or words.
This is one of my favourite versions of the song.
Although this version has four verses, I tend to use just the first when teaching the song for innovation. It gives the children more opportunity for coming up with ideas of their own.
Here are the lyrics to the first verse:
I love the mountains
I love the rolling hills
I love the flowers
I love the daffodils
I love the fireside
When the lights are low
This is how I would present the song to the class:
First, I would teach them the song.
Next, we would innovate, writing a poem of our own together. Writing collaboratively leaves some of the power of composition with the children, but allows the teacher to guide with meaning and rhythm. Although the original version does include rhyme, I didn’t consider it essential for my beginning writers.
Then then children would write one of their own independently. I loved hearing the children sing their songs to themselves as they wrote, ensuring they had the appropriate rhythm. They required little encouragement to share their songs with each other; and they always enjoyed publishing them in a card to present to a loved one, usually a parent or carer, on Valentine’s day.
Writing poems like this is easy. Try it yourself. What items would be in your poem?
When children know the song well, why not add a few actions, such as those in this video.
What a great way to put a little activity into the day, to get them moving between lessons, during transitions or wait times, or before dismissing them for lunch or at the end of the day. “Send them home happy” was always my motto. Mind you, I often used a special chant for that!
I have prepared a resource that includes:
- teaching suggestions
- a copy of the poem
- a template that can be displayed on the interactive whiteboard for collaborative writing, or printed for children’s own writing
- a chart for brainstorming things children love
- a ready-to-print card in which children can publish their poems.
This is a free resource. Simply register for access.
I hope you and your children enjoy writing your own “I love” poems. I’ll see you next week with some suggestions for developing an “I can do it!” attitude. In the meantime, enjoy the weekend.
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