Sunday, January 6, 2013


All over the United States teachers are dreading going back to school tomorrow.  Here’s an idea that will give you something to look forward to every Friday, while planting a love of poetry and a special memory in children’s hearts.

Write a note asking each family to send in a box of instant hot chocolate and an old coffee mug.  Explain that you will end each week with the “Poetry Café” where children can listen to poetry, recite poetry, and enjoy a mug of hot chocolate.  This will be an engaging way to develop listening skills, oral language, and an appreciation of literature. 

Build children’s interest in the “Poetry Café’ during the week by talking about how COOL it’s going to be.  “Yummy hot chocolate and poems!  I can’t wait!”  Display poetry books and give children sticky notes so they can mark the ones they would like you to read.  On Friday afternoon heat water in a coffee maker  (Your school cafeteria might have one you can borrow.)  Demonstrate how to cut the top off the package of hot chocolate and carefully pour it in the cup.  Fill the cups with hot water and ask the children stir them slowly.  When everyone is ready, turn off the lights, and let the magic begin! 
*Tell the children if they like a poem they can snap their fingers.  (Apparently, that’s what the beat poets used to do.)

*Invite 5 students each week to memorize a poem and recite it to the class.

*Choose a poem each week for choral reading and fluency practice.  Read over favorite poems on Friday.

*If you teach in a low income area I bet you could get a Sunday school class, civic group, education sorority, or grant money to help purchase the mix and mugs.

Note!  A CHILD'S GARDEN OF VERSES by Robert Louis Stevenson was my book when I was little.  We didn't have many books, but those we did have were reread and LOVED!  I still get a warm feeling when I look at that book!  It's a reminder that in spite of all the Core Standards and 21st Century Skills, we still must connect with children's hearts!