I will approach the teaching of this unit by first reviewing with the students some simple rhymes that they remember from Kindergarten and Pre-School, such as "There was an old woman who lived in a shoe" and "The Itsy Bitsy Spider". I will then pose the question "What is a poem?" As a group, we will brainstorm what we thing a poem is and chart our answers. I will read different types of poems by a variety of authors. An example of a poem that I would use would be "Eddie Edwards" by Carol Diggory. This is a poem about a bow named Eddie who is wild and a pest, but is admired by others. "Wavy Hair" by Shel Silverstein and "Something Big Has Been Here" by Jack Prelutsky would be other examples that would be read to the students. Through hearing, reading, and discussing examples of poetry, the students will realize that poems come in different types and sizes. As much time will be spent on this step as is needed in order to have the students feel comfortable with the rhythm and verse of poetry.
The next step will be to familiarize the students with acrostic poems. This would be accomplished by first explaining the format. The selected topic is one word or name and each letter in this word or name is elaborated on with other words or phrases. For example, if a student chose the name Sue, the acrostic would look something like this:
A good source of acrostic examples is
Autumn, An Alphabet Acrostic
by Steven Schur, where the poem "Dog" can be found.
Poetry from A to Z
, by Paul B. Janeczko, contains the poems "Daniel", "Sister", and "PL" which will be used to illustrate acrostic poems using someone's name. After hearing the poetry the students will write their own name, brainstorm and list words that describe or relate to then, and then will write their own personal acrostic to illustrate it.
The students will be introduced to the subject of families in the second week of the unit. But before the students begin to write, read and discuss poetry based on family, we will need to discuss the structures of family in America. The students will be asked what they thing a family is, and their answers will be written on a chart. I will then read the story
by Carol A. Johnson, and the poem "Families" by Dorothy and Michael Strickland. In the story Family, Carol A. Johnson describes how members are related and fit into the family circle. The poem by Dorothy and Michael Strickland list various members of a family. These will help children to start thinking of their own families and how each person is related together. We will then compare the members mentioned in the story and poem to those on our chart. Through discussion, we will see families can consist of two parents, a single parent, siblings, grandparents, and extended members such as aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. A new chart will be started so the children can collaborate on a sample poem. I will as then for words that describe a specific family member, such as a grandparent. Once the children have compiled their list of words that relate to a grandparent, we will begin to put together two sample poems. These poems will be written in either free verse or acrostic style. After we finish the sample poems, we will refer back to our chart so the children may choose which family member they will write their first poem about. Using the example list for the grandparent, the children will make up their own list of describing words for the family member they have chosen and write their own poem. The students will continue to read and hear poems about families in their classroom. Their teacher will provide time and resources for them to continue working on their poetry. One of the resources the students will have access to will be a book that contains family poems by various authors, titled
I Want Another Little Brother - Poems About Families
, illustrated by Anna Currey. The students will also be able to access poetry web sites found on the Internet in order to read the published poems of other children. During the students Art time, the Art teacher will do a lesson in which the students make an illustration to go with a final draft of a family poem of their choosing. The finished poems will be placed in each student's individual file to be brought out at a later time during this project.
The concept of community is part of the second grade curriculum and is therefore a natural progression to follow the study of families, which are one of the components of a community. The classroom teacher will introduce this part in their classroom as part of their curriculum. The students will explore what a community is, who and what make up a community, and what the functions of a community are. The teacher will accomplish this by using the materials that are in their Social Studies unit. I will build upon the knowledge that the students acquired in class by sharing poetry that talks about communities and neighborhoods. On of the books that I will be using to accomplish this will be
Night on Neighborhood Street
by Eloise Greenfield. In this book, Greenfield writes poems that recall life on Neighborhood Street. After hearing and discussing poems about neighborhoods and communities, the second grade teacher and I will take the students for an observational walk around the community that surrounds the school. The students will make observations about how the part of the community around the school is structured and who might be living there. After we have completed our walk, we will make a chart of our observations and compare it to what we have already learned to see what differences and similarities there might be. The students will then be asked to give contribute one sentence describing what they saw or learned. As a group, we will then make up one poem using the sentences that were given by each student. We will practice reading the group poem together and individually. The students will then pick one sentence of the poem and will make an illustration to go along with it. The group poem and pictures will then become part of a bulletin board display about communities. The students will also be asked to make a diorama of what they saw and to write a poem consisting of four sentences to describe their diorama. The dioramas will then be displayed in the library for everyone to see.
This week will be devoted to studying the celebration of Kwanzaa and family traditions. The students will learn about Kwanzaa and family traditions by hearing and reading stories about it and doing simple research using library resources and the Internet.
Kwanzaa is a celebration that was started in the United States by an African American teacher by the name of Dr. Maulana Karenga. The first celebration took place in 1966 to honor African American people and their past. Kwanzaa starts on December 26 and lasts for seven days. Dr. Karenga took the word Kwanzaa from the Swahili language, meaning first fruits of harvest. In Africa, it is customary to celebrate the harvest before the dry season begins. This holiday was started so that African Americans could learn about their African history and customs. It also helped African Americans to create their own customs. Many celebrate this holiday by getting together with family and friends to share food and exchange presents.
I will read the story
Kwanzaa An African American Holiday
by Sharon Gayle, to familiarize the students with this celebration. I will ask the students to give me words that would describe what Kwanzaa is and how it is celebrated. We will then discuss the seven principles or reasons for Kwanzaa. The principles will be listed on a chart and the students will give me descriptive words to explain each principle. I will then ask the students to choose one principle and to write and acrostic poem about the principle they have chosen. We will then compile the poems into a booklet about Kwanzaa. The students will also use the Internet to research more findings about Kwanzaa.
Many customs are handed down from generation to generation. The African American culture is full of oral traditions as is evident in their gospel music, folktales and songs. African American slaves, for the most part, were not allowed to read or write, and therefore they relied heavily on oral traditions. The students will hear some of the stories that started as oral traditions, such as the one found in
A Story A Story
and African tale retold and illustrated by Gail E. Haley. They will also hear stories from the book
Her Stories African American Folktales, Fairy Tales, and True Stories
as told by Virginia Hamilton. The students will become acquainted with trickster tales from the stories found in this book and this will lead them to explore other trickster stories that are found in the library.
The students will then explore their own family traditions and customs. The students will be asked, "What is a tradition?" They will learn through discussion and hearing stories that a tradition is an act that is done by all members of a group, such as a family, and is repeated regularly and is something that adults teach to their children and in turn the children teach to their children. To gain a better understanding of this concept, I will read the story
Mirandy and Brother Wind
by Patricia C. McKissack. This is a story about a little girl names Mirandy who tries to capture the wind as her partner in order to win first prize in the junior cakewalk dance. This story is based on the cakewalk dance that was introduced by slaves and is rooted in African American culture. The dance is done by couples that strut and prance around a large square while keeping time to the music. The couples were judged on their dancing appearance and their grace, by a group of elders. The winning couple got to take the cake home. After hearing the story, the students will participate in their own cakewalk dance. Our cakewalk dance will be done more like musical chairs, with couples that are at a corner of the table at the stop of the music receiving a cupcake. This will continue until every couple has had a chance to win a cupcake.
This will lead us to explore the traditions and customs that are practiced in each student's family. The students will do this by interviewing the member of their own family. Each student will ask a set group of questions when conducting their interview.
- What is one family tradition that we celebrate?
- How do we celebrate this tradition?
- How did this tradition start?
- When did it start?
- What is another tradition that we have?
- How and when did it start?
After completing their interviews, the students will share their findings with their classmates. They will then write a poem telling about their favorite family custom or tradition.
During their Music time, the Music teacher will introduce the students to some of the work songs of slaves, spirituals, gospels, and jazz pieces. She will choose these songs from the book
How Sweet the Sound
that was compiled by Wade and Cheryl Hudson. The students will select one song that they will practice to use in the program that will be presented to the school with Mrs. Martin and Ms. Sutherland's classes at our ending program.
This week will bring us to the close of our unit and out "Hot Chocolate House" presentation. During this week, the students will be selecting poems from their folders that they will be using to read during out poetry reading at the Hot Chocolate House. They will practice reading their selection and make revisions if any are necessary to make. They will make their final copy using Microsoft Word. They will also make invitations to send to their parents, Mrs. Martin and Ms. Sutherland's classes, the Art teacher, the Music teacher, and the Principal. The invitations will be made on the computer using the Sierra program. The students will plan the program and refreshments to be served. They will work together to make decorations and to make the Library over to look like a coffee house.
During this week the students will also choose one of their poems that they would like to post on a children's poetry website. Their teachers and I will assist small groups at a time to post their poem on the Internet.
This week will also be used to evaluate the students' progress, and to see what worked with them and what didn't. The student evaluation will consist of checking to see if the students accomplished all the steps during the u nit that were required, such as:
- Does their folder contain at least two or three examples of an acrostic poem?
- Are the examples done correctly?
- Are there examples of free form poetry?
- Are there poems for the various topics covered: family, community, customs or traditions?
- Are there illustrations to accompany those poems that needed to be illustrated?
- Did they participate in discussions?
- Did they recite a poem out loud?
- Did they read a poem out loud?
- Were they able to write their poem using Microsoft Word?
- Did they post a poem on the Internet?
- Did they make a diorama?
The classroom teacher and myself will perform this evaluation. The students will do a self-evaluation on how they thought they did. This evaluation will consist of the following:
- I listened to my classmates' poems
- I completed all my work
- I did a neat job
- I did a good job writing and reading my poem
The students will be asked to circle a number that represents how they thing they have performed. The scale will range from the number one, which will represent the least effort/could have worked harder to the number four, which will represent the best effort/terrific job done.