Friday, September 4, 2009

a big little beginning

Poetry Friday is hosted today at Crossover by Kelly Herold.

Today will be my fourth day with a rather phenomenal group of 1st graders. They've all arrived in my RLA classroom reading like 3rd-graders, and on the first day, when we began by reading Chrysanthemum (need I add 'by Kevin Henkes'?) and talking about names, they could all count the vowels, consonants and syllables in their own names. They could fill in a blank to describe their names as short, long, cute, Spanish, "un-comen" and "pawrfl" words.

But in general they write like kindergarteners, and they are only 6, and therein lies my delicious challenge: to lead them into rich, juicy literacy projects that call on their established skills (and not inconsiderable smarts) while respecting their 6-year-old hearts. Where better to start than with Ruth Krauss?

Beginning on Paper

on paper
I write it
on rain

I write it
on stones
on my boots

on trees
I write it
on the air

on the city
how pretty
I write my name

~Ruth Krauss, from the anthology Sing a Song of Popcorn

We started on Tuesday; by Wednesday they'd done their first choral reading, exchanging the "on" lines and the "I" lines, and yesterday we turned our backs on the chart and said it by heart. C'est parti, mes amis! (which is a prettier way to say, "And they're off!)


  1. Wonderful poem - and what a great way to start the school year!!

  2. Great poem. From one Maryland teacher to another, enjoy your three day weekend! I teach middle school. I love the kids, but we just finished a very hectic week 2and I'm ready for a little rest. : ) Looking forward to your new book!

  3. Hooray for a great start to the school year!

  4. This is a lovely poem & perfect for beginning readers & writers! My 7 year old is starting first grade and he is so excited. And my 4 year old is learning to write his name. He can write MOM too, so I am pretty proud. Have a wonderful, exciting, joyful year with your class!


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