Poems for the School Year
with Connections to the Common Core
compiled by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong
Pomelo Books 2012 -- official release date September 1
This supremely practical anthology, which will be available in both soft-cover book and e-book versions, is the latest feat of magic worked by that Daring Duo of Poetry, Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong.
It contains 218 new poems by 75 of the best poets now writing for children, but unlike other quality anthologies of literary poetry, this one is organized with the busy classroom teacher in mind (and I should know). In other words, it's the best of educational and literary publishing all rolled into one lively package!
It includes 36 poems for each grade level K-5, which is one for each week of a standard 180-day school year. Even better, the poems have been organized according to broad themes that repeat for each grade level, so that in Week 1, all grade levels enjoy a "School" poem, in Week 18 every kid K-5 gets a "Human Body" poem, and in Week 29 there are poems about...poetry! There are heartfelt and serious poems under themes like "A Kinder Place" and "Families," and hootingly playful poems under "Stuff We Love" and "Nonsense." By the end of the school year, when kids have had lots of poetry experience, the themes are related to poetic devices such as "Metaphor and Simile" and "Personification," addressed at accessible levels.
For the few teachers who are truly poetry-phobic, this anthology is a gift. It says, "Take a few minutes just one day a week to make poetry your focus...we'll help you do it right, do it in community, and enjoy all the rewards!" To support the less confident, each poem comes with 5 quick tips for sharing, teaching, enjoying:
*a hook for introducing the poem,
*a developmentally appropriate way for students to join in reading and speaking the poem,
*ideas for discussion and teachable moments,
*and finally, a connection to another poem in the anthology or another poetry book to explore.
Of course, many more teachers will be doing as I'll do, dipping in here and there to select poems not by week but by theme, and looking beyond my own grade level to find other gems that I'll bring into our curriculum through content connections, writing and performance. I'll be highlighting some of my favorites in coming posts, and you can bet that those of us contributors who also participate in Poetry Friday in the Kidlitosphere will be sharing more tips and tricks and on their blogs, too!