Wednesday, April 16, 2014

SHARKS: Linking Informational Text and Poetry (repost from StarWalk KidsMedia)

The following post is from the April newsletter of StarWalk KidsMedia:

Read like a Writer—
Write like a Poet:
CCSS-aligned activities for National Poetry Month

This month we shift to writing and take a look at the link between informational text and poetry, using Anchor Standard 2 from the Anchor Standards for Writing: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.2: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content. April's featured selections from StarWalk Kids Media offer wonderful mentor texts to support this Standard and even have some fun in the process!

For grades 3–5: A poem or an essay?
shark Children love poetry. It's short. It has rhythm and beat. It raises pictures in your mind. It uses words very precisely to inform you, delight you, scare you, or make you laugh. And it leaves you with a feeling that is somehow deeper than a mere collection of facts. Yet as Jane Yolen wrote about her collection, Sea Watch, poetry can be a powerful means of conveying complex ideas. "It is amazing how much research goes into each poem, because the poem has to be accurate as well as poetic."

Choose one of the poems from Sea Watch. Warning: Sharks is easy to understand but it offers both information and a deeper meaning along with the thrill. With the whole group, read the poem and consider, what is fact? What is interpretation? Notice the precise choice of words such as "bear-trap jaw." What do you think Jane Yolen is saying about people, even though this poem is about sharks?

Ask your students to research an animal of their choice. The StarWalk Library offers 83 books about animals and animal behavior including Giant Shark, by Caroline Arnold. Then, using one of the poems from Sea Watch as a mentor text, invite them to write a short poem about their chosen animal that gives information and also says something deeper about the animal's place in nature or how it relates to humans. Don't just copy the poem, but use the techniques you observed in the whole-group discussion. Extend the project by having students illustrate their poetry with drawings or images from the Internet.

Share the poems. In ancient times poems were made to be told and sung!

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