The fish and I are studying one poem each month this year. I wanted us to start off with something fun and familiar so I chose one my favorite childhood books of theirs, Chicky Chicky Chook Chook by Cathy MacLennan, as our first poem of the school year. I loved this book when they were younger because it contained so many good examples of descriptive language.
We started by reading the book together a few times. Then, we studied further using the following plan over the course of the month:
Drawing Pictures: After a few readings, we discussed what we pictured in our minds when we listened and discussed how many different scenes there were. We decided there were six separate scenes for this poem: the animals playing in the sun, the animals sleeping, raining on the animals, the rain stops and everything is wet, the sun dries everything, and the animals go to bed. Then they drew each scene. Visualization of a story is an important piece of reading comprehension and developing this skill will help them for years to come.
Discussing Rhyme and Rhythm: We went through each page of the book and wrote down the rhyme scheme. Big Fish (3rd grade) understood the concept of rhyme scheme. I just had Little Fish (1st grade) answer whether two words rhymed, which was a good review of rhyming for him.
Discussing Descriptive Language: Using our Descriptive Language Anchor Chart, we spent one day discussing the imagery in the poem and another day discussing alliteration and onomatopoeia. As I read the poem, they raised their hand when they heard an example of the target concept. Note: we keep our anchor charts in page protectors and in a thin three ring notebook so we can flip to them as needed during a lesson.
Copy Work: Starting mid-month, the fish spent several days copying the poem. Little Fish is still working on printing and I wrote the poem out line by line on his paper so that he could just copy the line above. He wrote about three lines per day. Big Fish practiced his cursive while copying the poem and was able to copy from a typed version of the poem onto his own paper. He also wrote about three lines per day.
Memorization: Near the end of the month, they practiced reciting the poem several times. Little Fish needed some extra prompting to remember each line and I found that giving him the first word of the next line was usually enough to get him back on track.
Click here for a list of all the poems we are studying this year.