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Integrating literacy in K-12 classrooms.
Poetry and the Four C’s: Critical Thinking
April 2, 2017 By Jessica
In honor of April being National Poetry Month, we are excited to bring you a series of blog posts on the 4Cs in poetry. Today’s post will focus on critical thinking. (P.S. This is what we do! We love helping teachers find ways to incorporate innovative teaching strategies into their already existing content! Contact us if you’re interested in a full or half day professional development. )
(Looking for the other 3 Cs? Communication and Collaboration , Creativity – check them out!)
Critical Thinking in Poetry
When students are given a poem, we want them to think critically about the obvious message as well as the implied message. Thinking critically about a poem includes evaluating, analyzing, and interpreting the message, and students must spend plenty of time with the text applying these skills so they are able to explain their interpretations with text evidence. This will not happen overnight or with one lesson! Take your time and scaffold lessons to help students be critical readers of poetry!
The high level of thinking we want from our students will come when they have ample time to practice asking questions about what they are reading, as well as make inferences, and have open discussions about what they are reading. The poem will need to be read many times and there are tools to help! Here are a few:
- Poetry Out Loud . Another great site where students can listen to poetry being recited. A huge difference here is that students are reading the poems instead of the author. There is a lot of power in students seeing other “regular” kids reading poems with enthusiasm. Not to mention, this is an interactive site if the students (and you) would like. Your own students could enter contests and competitions. The first section allows you to listen (just audio) or watch videos of the poem being recited. You can also find poems and you are given tips on reciting poems. While on this site, don’t miss the teacher section ! It has strong lesson plans to help you teach poetry.
- Poetry in Commercials. I always believe we should start with where the students are in their learning. Students are exposed to poetry through music and other media, but sometimes don’t realize it. Commercials the kids perk up to usually have a beat or a poem attached. Use those clips to have students think critically about the poem, why the poem was chosen, and how it is helping to sell the product! And now, we are teaching Media Literacy as well! Here are some videos you might like to share: iPad Air , Nike (wings) , Levi’s , Sprite , and Nike (soccer) .
- For a great list of questions to help you prompt students’ critical thought, check out this site .
Content © 2024 Jessica Rogers and Sherry McElhannon of Literary Fusions and literaryfusions.com. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s authors and owners is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Literary Fusions and literaryfusions.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
January 24, 2018 at 1:46 pm
This great for our 6th grade G/T students.
January 25, 2018 at 7:42 am
Excellent! Please let us know how it goes.
October 27, 2021 at 9:33 pm
Thank you for the information. I am looking for more research about classic poetry and critical thinking.
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Critical Material For Critical Thinking
To me, critical thinking has always been about looking at something, whether a poem, a piece of art, or an idea, appreciating what is good about it, and questioning what I felt was not good about it, while trying to keep an open mind to the opinions of others, but maintaining my own independent opinion. This is something I encourage my students to do; praising independent thought and ideas that are new, even if strange. Also to me, critical thinking is something that requires creativity. But what is creativity? Hodges (2005:53-54) outlines the following as features of creativity:
1. Using imagination
2. Pursuing purposes, aiming to come to a particular finishing point
3. Being original
4. Judging value, i.e. assessing quality, coming up with one’s own ideas, as well as looking at their ideas and those of others in a critical light.
To this, I would add the following in my lessons to encourage critical thinking:
5. Provoking thought, rather than just checking language comprehension, language use and practicing skills.
6. Exposing students to a variety of literature, art and music.
Keeping these 6 elements in mind, below I explore some of the practical possibilities they open up in every day lessons, looking at poems, comics and music, all of which I have experimented with in class and used as platforms to encourage creativity in my students and make learning more fun and diverse. For each, I have included question types I would ask to provoke thought, force students to be imaginative and think creatively and critically.
Poems are a great way to learn language, especially with higher levels. They provide examples of various grammar structures and are rich in vocabulary. They also provide examples of punctuation use, but most importantly, they provide a lot of food for thought. Working with poems, students can explore various themes, look at rhymes, and tap into their feelings and emotions through poetic expression. In class, students can look at shape poems and create their own around an object of interest to them. They could look at poems from various periods of history and from various cultures, identifying elements of politics, or tradition. They could explore deeper meanings and try to read the mind of the poet, each providing their own opinions on what the writer was thinking and why they think so. Another idea might be listening to a poem and drawing the images that come to mind or writing down one’s feelings as they listen to a poem. A good example of this kind of activity might be This Is Just to Say by W C Williams, with which students might pick on feelings of enjoyment, followed by guilt and the seeking of forgiveness. They may also be able to relate to the speaker in the poem, as he describes a normal incident that could happen to anyone.
Questions: How does the shape affect the poem? Do you think the shape means something? Why did you choose that particular shape? Which poem do you identify with and why? What is the poet trying to say? Which lines in the poems tell you this? Do you agree with the poet? Has something like this happened to you? How did it make you feel?
Comics present students with a more colourful and friendly way to do some reading. They provide spoken language in context and expose students to a variety of grammar structures. Their stories and the characters in them are also quite popular with the younger generation who have seen them in movies or animations growing up. The most famous of these are Batman, Spiderman and other well – known superheroes. Working with comics, students can be presented a problem in society that needs fixing, such as bullying in the neighbourhood, or a large company destroying the environment. Students can identify good guys and bad guys, creating a plot around the story of a superhero. This would require the creation of a superhero, identifying his or her super powers, costume details and other information about them. They could then illustrate and write their comic. It seems like a large project to work on and may take some time but scaffolding and breaking it up into a few focused lessons will make it easier for everyone.
Questions: Which character do you like most in this comic, and why? What are my superhero’s options in this scenario? What are the powers that would be most useful to my superhero? Whose superhero do you like the most in the class? Why? What do you like about this plot? What would you have written differently in this comic?
Music Music helps people relax. It provides common ground for discussion and sharing interests. It brings people and cultures together. It also provides language, much the same way as poetry or comics do and allows students to explore emotions and themes in a language context. As such, it has its own place in the classroom, especially with the youth. In class, students could listen to songs they like, sharing their favourite ones and talking about the kind of music they like and why. Students could take lyrics from songs to inspire their own songs, creating one of their own and sharing with or performing for the class.
Questions: Which one did you like better, and why? What was good about the first song? What did you not like in the second song? What do you think of the singer as an artist? Which artists would you like to see do a song like this? Which lines in the poem are your own? How can I change the ones I stole to make them mine? What can I do to make the rhythm better?
References: Hodges, 2005. Creativity in Education. University of Cambridge. pp. 53 – 54
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Lovely ideas Zahra. I
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Amanda Gorman Poems
by Lemi-Ola Erinkitola | Feb 3, 2021 | Critical Thinking and Reading , Critical Thinking Strategies | 0 comments
Overcoming Speech Struggles Through Reading
Despite her eloquence at the inauguration on January 20th, speech and language didn’t always come easy for her. As a child, Gorman struggled with a speech impediment in which she dropped several letters while speaking, particularly the letter “r.” In an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, she explained how reading and reciting poetry helped her overcome these issues. Also, she loves the musical Hamilton and used the song “Aaron Burr, Sir” to practice her “r” sounds. “I would try to keep up with Leslie Odom, Jr. as he’s doing this amazing rap,” Gorman explains. “If I can train myself to do this song, then I can train myself to say this letter. That’s been a huge part of my own speech pathology.”
Understanding Black History
In the CNN interview, she also explained that she recites a mantra before she performs any of her poetry. “I do it whenever I perform, and I definitely did it this time,” Gorman said. “I close my eyes and I say: I am the daughter of Black writers, we are descended from freedom fighters, who broke their chains and changed the world. They call me.” This mantra may be a nod to author and historian Carter G. Woodson, who is known as the “Father of Black History.” Woodson stressed the importance of black people knowing their own history and contributions to it.
As we begin Black History month, this is the perfect time to revisit black history books by Woodson and others. Woodson wrote more than a dozen books over the course of his career, including his most famous work Mis-Education of the Negro (1933).
Poetry Improves Reading + Critical Thinking Skills
Poetry is a great teaching tool that can help your child improve their reading and critical thinking skills. Poetry teaches young readers about key literary elements and punctuation, demonstrates the rhythm of words, and builds the vocabulary. Poetry also encourages creativity and critical thinking when children are asked to consider the messages within a poem—both the obvious and the implied.
Poets.org is a wonderful website that has a wealth of poetry-based lesson plans for students of all ages.
Here’s a sample lesson plan from the site to get you started.
Generally speaking, the key to teaching poetry is reading and rereading the poem to look for nuances and word choices. As the facilitator, your job is to craft thought-provoking questions that will get your child thinking and talking about the poetry.
Poetry Lesson Format
You can apply this poetry lesson format to fit any age or reading level.
- Introduce the poem and activate prior knowledge. Ask students if they have heard of the topic before, and give relevant background information as needed to help them understand the poem.
- Reading aloud. Read the poem out loud and then have students read it again, either out loud for young children or in their heads for older children.
- Have students identify new or interesting words and highlight them. Discuss the words you chose and define them if they are new vocabulary words. If they are interesting words, ask why they think the poet might have chosen that particular word.
- Ask questions. Avoid yes or no questions or questions that have only one correct answer. For poetry, you might ask how they think the speaker feels about the subject of the poem or how the poem makes them feel. For poems that focus heavily on figurative language or metaphor, push students to figure out what the poet is “really” talking about.
- Conclude with a summation activity. For younger students, you may simply have them draw a picture of how the poem makes them feel. For older students, you could have them read the poem again with appropriate feeling now that they understand the poem more deeply. You can even try a 3-2-1 writing exercise, in which students write 3 new or interesting words they found in the poem, 2 questions they have for the poet, and 1 feeling they associate with the poem.
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Pick Me Up Poetry
- June 19, 2023
11+ Poems About Thinking: Deep Reflections
Thoughts are powerful things, shaping our reality and influencing our actions. Thinking is the foundation of our perception of the world and the way we interact with it.
Poetry has the power to capture the complexity of our thoughts and convey them in a way that is both relatable and profound.
In this post, we will explore a collection of poems that delve into the intricacies of thinking, reflecting on its many forms, from introspection to daydreaming, and everything in between.
So sit back, relax, and allow these poems to inspire and challenge your own thinking.
What Are The Best Poems About Thinking?
Thinking by danusha lameris, i stopped by susan jarvis bryant, mulling by susan jarvis bryant, birdbrains by susan jarvis bryant, thoughts by marjorie picktall, thoughts by alexander pushkin, think for yourself by martha lavinia hoffman, a headful of thoughts by angela wybrow, thoughts by myra viola wilds, thinking by walter d. wintle, thoughts by walt whitman.
In conclusion, poems about thinking provide a unique insight into the human mind and the various thought processes that we go through in our everyday lives.
Whether it’s contemplating the mysteries of the universe or simply reflecting on our own personal experiences, the poems in this collection offer a wide range of perspectives on the power of thought.
Through the artful use of language and imagery, these poets have captured the essence of what it means to be a thinking, feeling human being in a complex and ever-changing world.
These poems serve as a reminder that, no matter how different our thoughts may be, we are all united by our shared experience of the human condition.
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- Feb 28, 2023
Poetry: The Ultimate Exercise in Critical Thinking
Updated: Apr 11, 2023
Poetry is a creative format that is meant to convey emotions through the use of various literary devices, such as metaphors, alliterations, rhyming, connotations, and imagery. When listening or reading poetry, the goal of the poet is to evoke a specific emotional and/or sensory experience.
But why is something so ambiguous taught in schools?
The purpose of studying poetry is not to transform children into poets, but rather to give students the opportunity to explore the complexities and variations available in language outside of the strict formal structures they are used to.
This opportunity is elaborated in four ways:
Analyzing Text: With its dense meaning and symbolism, a careful analyzing of a poem's text, structure, themes, and use of language allows students to develop their critical thinking abilities by placing them in an inquisitive mindset.
Making Connections: Poetry derives inspiration from culture, history, emotions, and nature. As a result, the use of abstract vocabulary pushes students to attempt to make other connections, whether they be worldly or personal, to build their inference-based skills.
Perspective-Taking: Since poetry is often thought-provoking and emotional, they are a great way to understand different perspectives and grow empathy, two things crucial to developing strong critical thinking skills.
Creative Thinking: As poetry not only is an exercise in emotional understanding, but it is also an exercise in creativity. Poetry requires a mind that can envision and paint words in order to create connections and deeper thinking.
So, for students that feel lost reading a poem, how can we help them exercise the aforementioned abilities?
Poetry can be overwhelming to a mind that has yet to fully develop and comprehend the complex emotions and perspectives that are often told through this form. Many learners fail to understand this and attempt to learn poetry in a very mechanical manner, when this literary form is so abstract, and no straightforward method can be used effectively for any child.
So what is an easy way to teach poetry, that is also open to adaptability? After you read through the poem, identify whether there are any words the child doesn't understand. Since poetry often uses more complex vocabulary, this will likely be something you come across frequently while reading.
Next, have the student pick out a sentence or stanza in the poem that stands out, or is memorable, or they just happen to like. The goal here is to get them to find some of their own footing first and then have you guide them along the way. This was you are also encouraging them to be more inquisitive with their learning. If they are struggling to find a line, then pick out one that you feel is minimalist and can be interpreted in both simple and complex ways.
With the line chosen, you can now probe deeper as to what the poet is saying, either in a literal sense or figurative sense. The great thing about poetry is while the writer may have a specific theme or idea in their writing, the poem itself can still be ambiguously interpreted. The ideal response is just to have the student make some sort of connection to the poetry that they can explain and make sense of. It does not matter how minimal or far-fetched it is as the idea is just for them to explain their thinking effectively. This then gets the ball rolling as now you can have them identify their perspective and now attempt to tie it into another line of the poem that may sound similar to the first one they had chosen. From here they can begin to visualize the poem as they connect the words and ideas that they have identified from the start.
The other day, one of our teachers was working with a high school student who was having trouble understanding what a poem about loneliness was trying to say, by using examples from nature. She ended up using the exact methods described earlier and as a result, by the end of the hour, the student was able to understand the poem in its entirety as well as be able to connect the whole work together. Poetry is abstract and therefore the way we approach it must also be in some ways abstract as well. When students are first taught how to analyze texts, it's always in a very linear form, meaning they start at the very beginning and analyze in order. The study of poetry breaks this habit and forces you to start at an obscure point and then branch out to connect all the ideas together.
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The Development of Critical Reading through the Reading and Writing of Poetry
How does critical thinking advance through the reading of poetry? How do these two seemingly different skills depend on one another? Simply put: the act of reading poetry develops critical thinking and reading skills in all students, no matter their reading competency.
Reading poetry is difficult. Students who are fast and competent readers often struggle with reading poetry. Why? What is it about poetry that stumps students? And why should reading poetry matter? Poetry demands attention–a hyper-focus, an understanding of punctuation, an ear for the rhythm of words, and a willingness to take time while reading it. This kind of reading is a challenge for students, and even for adults, today. In an age of fast-changing status updates, instant soundbite news, and SnapChat stories, the way we read is changing rapidly. Students are becoming new ‘readers’, or as scholars at University College London term it, students are committing the act of the ‘power browse’–bouncing down a text, hitting the highlights, or surface skimming the text.
Skimming or even browsing is not a new phenomenon. Experienced readers and scholars skim text every day. Many who teach or those who read large portions of texts daily, either literature, long form journalism, lab reports, research studies, legal briefs, or journal articles, have had to learn fairly quickly how to ‘power browse.’ Success in this type of reading is dependent on a knowledge base which many draw on while reading. They are able to fill in the gaps of this skimming with experience with the vocabulary, the subject, the larger argument, or the writing style/previous work of the author. However, students have not yet developed their own knowledge base–that process is still happening. Therefore, when they try to ‘power browse,’ they lose essential parts of the text, often the deeper meaning.
This loss is apparent when reading poetry. Students will try to skim through a poem, reading quickly and trying to capture the meaning of a poem with barely a look. However, it becomes very clear to students that even in a poem of only two lines such as Ezra Pound’s “In the Station of the Metro”–a condensed packed image of despair and loneliness in a modern world–that trying decipher the meaning of that poem is no easy feat. Even at only two lines, skimming this poem will not work. This poem, just like all poetry, requires the reader to be careful, to think about each individual word, its relationship to the words around it, and the multitude of meanings each word can hold. A poem must be read many times–aloud, to a listener, even inside one’s head; and good poems must be read again and again at various times of the day, or at different stages in one’s life because one’s experiences and understanding of the world around them–again, that knowledge base–often influence perception and meaning. Bad poems, on the other hand, also contain good lessons for young poetry readers. Reading to see how a poem does not work, how the lines and words can fail to craft a visual in the reader’s mind, or how the words can miss the mark in creating a sound for the reader’s ear can also help a young reader and writer craft better poems of their own. Once a reader has read the poem literally, only then can a reader begin to piece together a second and third level reading, digging deep into the figurative meaning of a poem.
Here at Morgan Park Academy, our students read poetry for these very reasons: to build their critical reading and thinking skills. Students in Lower, Middle, and Upper School are exposed to different types of poetry from Jacqueline Woodson’s Brown Girl Dreaming , to the verse of the Bhagavad Gita , to the poetic soliloquies in William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet , to Langston Hughes’ Harlem , to the work of American Transcendentalists Ralph Waldo Emerson and Edgar Allan Poe. From these repeated exposures to poetry throughout their education, students begin to develop close reading skills and improve critical thinking.
In the celebration of National Poetry Month in April, students will immerse themselves in reading and analyzing poetry as well as creative and critical writing. Thus, by the end of the month, students will have practiced and improved their skills as critical readers, writers, and thinkers while deepening their knowledge base, allowing them to make critical textual connections, to construct more in-depth analysis, and to increase their own understanding of the texts they read. As this knowledge base continues to grow and the muscles of critical thinking, reading, and writing are flexed, students will be able to apply these skills to longer texts, allowing them to ‘power browse’ with ease and understanding.
By Sandra Burgess
Ms. Burgess teaches Middle School English.
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No Walls | Langley Shazor
The opportunity is there We owe it to ourselves If you haven’t You must Think beyond Think outside Just think
There is so much more So much to experience So much to life I urge you Think beyond Think outside Just think
Beyond borders Beyond race Beyond religion Beyond differences Wouldn’t that be freeing? To think outside? Just think
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Lambs to the Slaughter | Stan Morrison
We miss shaking friends’ hands And the warmth of their embrace What’s called a greater good We are fulfilling our civic duty Masks sanitizers and distance
Those elected to do better Are always up to no good Masquerading evil intentions With the latest sanitized spin Humanity way in the distance
Re-election trumps sanity The curve has not flattened In the bars and at the rallies The greater good is really Us lambs to the slaughter
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Limo Ride to Hell | Judy Moskowitz
I had a dream A nightmare I was blindfolded Taken away in a limousine Certain I was going to die By a man in a mask And gown to a motel room Somewhere in the state Of hell Vilified by the self righteous Burned and stoned I am skin and bone Heart and mind Every feature on my face Belongs to me I’m not alone in this dream I’m sharing it with you Choice is not an Acquired taste It belongs to you
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Hypocrisy, or Just a Simple Understanding? | Tara Lynn Hawk
Break my back Rape my humane considerations Barrage my mind with all this “news” that is not news And it’s all Just another form of slavery Hijacking our innate motivation to determine our own conclusions We know well of your need to keep us all stuffed Crammed into your crafted paradigm Emotional selfish poison to digress one’s consciousness Back to an infant needy state Push me down with the heel of your eight hundred dollar shoe Paid for with my sweat equity forced tax “donation” Stranded on the lower rungs Threat of humiliation and isolation Of being a “nobody” Insignificant even to those of our own blood Rats in a cage shaped like a shopping mall We time our days by what we consume Swapping cabins on the Titanic I want to grow, expand Move on, forward, off, away I love the fog But the kind of my own creation Not your mindless misery polluted stew Wake up
More at https://taralynnhawk.com .
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Two Pages | JD DeHart
One page, a whale of a story, fake news, vitriol The other, a different sense of the same raging emotion One page, a picket sign, words formed with anger The other, anger unfolding in a similar manner See the place they meet, question Start there. More at https://onpossibilitypoems.blogspot.com/.
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Like Dreams I Shouldn’t Live With | Martine V. Clarke
I’m contemplating the effects of these memories the effects of these sounds and situations forever surrounding me.
I’m considering the boundaries and borders encircling my brain, burdens as bombs exploding in the midst of my mind, systems stifling my sanity stealing every semblance of my common senses.
I’m sitting in the middle of my own silence contemplating emancipation, searching for a freedom that no society could present longing for real liberty and a perpetually distant paradise.
I’m drowning again in useless memories and a barrage of the irrelevant and unnecessary, still searching for a freedom that I may never find, devoured by a dream that I shouldn’t live with, dwelling in an existence that I shouldn’t try to define…
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Transgender: On Trump’s Seven Forbidden Words… | Eliza Mimski
I am a transgender fetus. I am vulnerable. My vulnerability is evidence-based. There is no entitlement here. I am a diversity fetus. I have no entitlement. My transgender is science-based.
Transgender transgender transgender transgender Vulnerable vulnerable vulnerable vulnerable Evidence-based, science-based Evidence-based, science-based
You are not allowed to talk about me. Do not speak of my vulnerability. I am entitled to nothing. Vulnerable diversity.
I am an evidence-based fetus. Diversity is science-based. I am a vulnerable transgender. Evidence-based fetus.
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Poems For Elementary Students (Grades 3-6)
Published: October 2017
Using poetry is a great way to convey important messages to children in an engaging way. Many poems in this collection can read like fables, giving children a lesson to think about at the end. These poems are great to use with elementary students to teach skills such as critical thinking, communication, and fluency. They also feature poetry techniques such as rhyming schemes and descriptive language. In addition to educational benefits, poetry also encourages creativity and self-expression. Some of these poems have been written by famous poets such as Robert Louis Stevenson, Edgar Guest, and A.A. Milne. This collection includes fun forms such as concrete poems, ABC poems, and limericks that are perfect for elementary students.
42 Poems To Use With Students In Grades 3-6
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Being Brave At Night
- By Edgar A. Guest
During the day children are busy and don't have time to waste worrying about silly monsters, but children lying in bed at night waiting to fall asleep have lots of time to worry about invading giants, ghosts or elephants. To a child's mind, sticking close to an all powerful parent is actually a really sensible survival strategy. Being Brave At Night is published in the book Rhymes Of Childhood (1924), a collection of poems by Edgar A. Guest about home, childhood and family.
in Famous Children Poems
The other night 'bout two o'clock, or maybe it was three, An elephant with shining tusks came chasing after me. His trunk was wavin' in the air an' spoutin' jets of steam An' he was out to eat me up, but still I didn't scream
Go To Complete Poem
This is truly a great poem describing the vivid imagination of children, and it does seem that children have an even deeper imagination when it comes to bedtime! I think this is a great poem...
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Life Doesn't Frighten Me
- By Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou, an inspirational American poet, crafted a poem from a child’s perspective about all the frightening things in her world. Although this poem showcases many things that frighten a child, the greater theme in this poem is that no matter the obstacles we face in life, we can overcome them. The repetition of “life doesn’t frighten me at all” reinforces that theme.
Shadows on the wall Noises down the hall Life doesn't frighten me at all
I think this is a really good poem because it teaches kids not to give up and hide in the shadows and actually express themselves.
Touched by the poem? Share your story! (4)
Children love to be told bedtime stories. the more the storyteller acts out, the more captivating the tale. this is an enjoyable poem about a father telling his children stories before bed. while the mother doesn’t fully understand why he makes such a scene, the children can’t get enough of their father’s made-up stories..
Most every night when they're in bed, And both their little prayers have said, They shout for me to come upstairs And tell them tales of gypsies bold,
Grandpa sat with cigar at his side (rarely in his mouth), his bushy gray eyebrows and mustache crouched in intense concentration, a chess piece or book in hand in most of my memories. But...
The Good Little Boy
In this charming poem by edgar guest (1881-1959), the speaker shares about a young boy who never did anything wrong. edgar guest had a way of writing uplifting poems, and he wrote prolifically, publishing one poem a day for 30 years. the dialect in this poem contributes to its laid-back nature..
Once there was a boy who never Tore his clothes, or hardly ever, Never made his sister mad, Never whipped fer bein' bad,
No Stories yet, You can be the first!
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The Mountain And The Squirrel
- By Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson was a licensed minister who resigned from the clergy when his first wife passed away a couple years into their marriage. In this poem, a squirrel and a mountain have a quarrel because the mountain feels as though it is more important. Each person has his or her own individual talents, and everyone/everything has its purpose in this world, none greater or less than another.
The mountain and the squirrel Had a quarrel, And the former called the latter "Little prig."
I read this poem in 1965 when I carried a paperback book of poems in my backpack when an infantry soldier in Vietnam. We, the infantry group in which I served, were such a collection of...
Touched by the poem? Share your story! (7)
- By Shel Silverstein
Shel Silverstein had a broad creative skill set that led him to be a well-known poet and children's author during the mid to late 1900s. He drew cartoons for magazines and became a song composer before focusing a lot of attention on writing many humorous poems. In this poem, the narrator is appalled by the mess in a room, and he finds the room to be all too familiar.
in Famous Funny Poems
Whosever room this is should be ashamed! His underwear is hanging on the lamp. His raincoat is there in the overstuffed chair, And the chair is becoming quite mucky and damp.
The Littlest Christmas Tree
- By Amy Peterson
- Published by Family Friend Poems April 2009 with permission of the Author.
Hello everyone. I was raised in Wisconsin among many cold winters and driven to writing by two great, wonderful parents whose imagination left all of their children wide-eyed with excitement during the holidays. I was told by my father that the pines talk when the wind blows....and if you listen...you can hear them. I hope this story will leave your family with an adventure into the woods to hear the pines talking.
in Christmas Poems
The littlest Christmas tree lived in a meadow of green among a family of tall evergreens.
This poem touched my heart and the story of your beautiful parents behind it... I have only come across it searching online. I will most certainly be reading up on all your other inspiring...
- By Robert Louis Stevenson
This poem makes the moon seem like a living thing, and Robert Louis Stevenson shares all that it does while shining each night. It acts as a protector of the night, watching over people, animals, and places.
The moon has a face like the clock in the hall; She shines on thieves on the garden wall, On streets and fields and harbour quays, And birdies asleep in the forks of the trees.
Really nice. There's not a much more spectacular site than a full moon, especially on a snow covered landscape.
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The Spider And The Fly
- By Mary Howitt
"The Spider and the Fly" is a poem by Mary Howitt (1799-1888), published in 1828. The story tells of a cunning Spider who ensnares a Fly through the use of seduction and flattery. The poem teaches children to be wary against those who use flattery and charm to disguise their true evil intentions. The gruesome ending in this cautionary tale is used to reinforce the important life lesson being taught.
"Will you walk into my parlor?" said the spider to the fly; "'Tis the prettiest little parlor that ever you may spy. The way into my parlor is up a winding stair, And I have many curious things to show when you are there."
This is a beautiful poem, very beautiful! It can as well be a warning to school girls who are prone to dating those men out there. Symbolically, the spider in the poem is a male and the fly...
Touched by the poem? Share your story! (6)
Message From Nature
- By Kshma Lal
- Published by Family Friend Poems August 2020 with permission of the Author.
I am a finance professional. I used to write poems/stories in school and started writing poems again about a year back when I couldn't find anything suitable for my son to recite at his school. This is one of the recent poems I've written about some learnings from nature ... in simple language for 6-7-year-olds to understand and recite.
in Inspiring Poems for Kids
The mountains tell me, hold your head high. Whatever be the problem, look it in the eye. The rivers tell me, don't look behind.
- By Jeanette Cheal
- Published by Family Friend Poems May 2017 with permission of the Author.
I love writing poetry for children. I love to see their faces light up when I read my poetry to them. The dolly I wrote about had a great response from both young and old. My father read it before anyone, and he sat and cried. He thought it was lovely.
The dolly sat upon the shelf in the toy maker's shop all by herself. The dolly only had one eye, so all the children passed her by.
Wow what a beautiful poem with an even greater message! Representation matters! Our differences make us unique!
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I Will Soar
- By Annette R. Hershey
- Published by Family Friend Poems June 2018 with permission of the Author.
If kids are encouraged to believe in themselves, they will have confidence to make it. I believe they should be taught respect for others and oneself, honesty, kindness, tolerance, and manners to flourish. Be true to yourself, spread happiness, and live generously. Soar! My poem uses symbolism.
If I were a birdie, I'd head up to the sky. I'd spread my wings like sunshine. I know I could fly mighty high!
I love this poem! Very inspiring message! We all can do whatever we set our minds to.
Always Love Your Pet, No Matter How Old They Get
- By Lesley M. Patterson
- Published by Family Friend Poems August 2018 with permission of the Author.
I wrote this poem because animals are very special to me. I am an animal advocate. Our family has 4 of our own little fur-babies. my dog (Kali) and 3 cats (The Haunt, Schiz, and Dudette). All of our pets are older (from 5-14 years old) All but the two brother kitties were rescued animals. I have a deep love for my animals, and I wanted to write this poem especially for children because they need to be taught to always be loving and kind to their pets, no matter how old they get.
in Animal Poems for Kids
Pets are people, too, just like me and you. They need food in their tummies and lots of beefy yummies. They are little, but their hearts are BIG.
This poem delivers a right message about the relationship between man and nature. These pets teach us love, compassion, and empathy without expectation. But one bitter reality l must admit...
Summer Camp Souvenirs
- By Richard Thomas
- Published by Family Friend Poems June 2019 with permission of the Author.
An exaggerated description of the perils of attending summer camp as a boy. I wrote this over forty years ago for my students. After all the years, it remains my personal favorite.
in Funny Poems for Kids
When I got home from camp today, My parents almost died. They asked me how I got this way, And here's what I replied:
It is really a beautiful poem which blends childhood imagination, narration, and joyful experiences. "It is some terrific summer camp, The coolest one around."
The Blade And The Ax
- By Abimbola T. Alabi
I wrote this for leisure. It's a bit of an allegory. If children can find it amusing and derive one or two lessons from it, that will make it more worthwhile. Thanks and hope you enjoy reading.
On a bench, in Joe's little shed, lying not too far apart, were his ax and his switchblade, having a quiet heart-to-heart.
The conversation between a blade and an ax is interesting, and it teaches a lesson. Nobody should be proud because of one's usefulness; everybody is needed but in a different way!
God The Artist
- By Angela Morgan
Angela Morgan was an American writer who formed a musical quartet with her three sisters, and her brother was their manager. This was one way she earned a living. In this poem, the narrator reflects on the marvels of God. How did He come up with all the ideas and intricacies we see in nature?
in Famous Nature Poems
God, when you thought of a pine tree, How did you think of a star? How did you dream of the Milky Way To guide us from afar.
- By A. A. Milne
"Teddy Bear" was first published in When We Were Very Young, a book of poetry by A. A. Milne. The teddy bear in this poem would later become the famous Winnie-the-Pooh from A. A. Milne's famous book series.
A bear, however hard he tries, Grows tubby without exercise. Our Teddy Bear is short and fat, Which is not to be wondered at;
When I was 3 or 4, I recited this poem to the Bayridge Business and Professional Women's bridge club. My aunt and godmother, Margaret Desmond, was hosting them at my grandparents' house in...
Touched by the poem? Share your story! (5)
Puppy And I
Looking for the perfect friend always ready to play a puppy is the perfect playmate always ready to have fun this poem by a.a. milne, author of winnie-the-pooh, praises the qualities of the playful puppy..
I met a Man as I went walking: We got talking, Man and I. "Where are you going to, Man?" I said
From A Railway Carriage
Published in the 1885 a child’s garden of verses, this poem mimics the steady movement of a train through the use of rhythm and rhymes. it engages the senses through sights and sounds and will entice children with its excitement and energy..
Faster than fairies, faster than witches, Bridges and houses, hedges and ditches; And charging along like troops in a battle All through the meadows the horses and cattle:
- By Camille Gotera
- Published by Family Friend Poems December 2013 with permission of the Author.
The reason I wrote this poem was because I absolutely hate winter and love spring time. This is mostly because everything is dead in the winter- there's no life. And I'm a very sensitive person, so just the atmosphere of winter makes me sad. Another reason is because I had been through a bad experience- relationship wise- over the winter, and I feel that spring time is a clean new start. No more depressing poems and songs! :)
in Spring Poems
Analysis of Form and Technique
When the cold, harsh winter has given its last breath, When the sky above shows life instead of death, When the claws reaching to the frozen sky become decorated with leaves, When the animals -long in hiding- scurry from trees,
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Tv/streaming, collections, great movies, chaz's journal, contributors, a very funny ('cause it's true) poem about critical thinking.
From Taylor Mali on "Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry" in 2002:
In case you hadn't noticed, it has somehow become uncool to sound like you know what you're talking about? Or believe strongly in what you're, like, saying? Invisible question marks and parenthetical (you know?)'s have been attaching themselves to the ends of our sentences? Even when those sentences aren't, like, questions? You know?
Declarative sentences--so-‐called because they used to, like, DECLARE things to be true, okay, as opposed to other things are, like, totally, you know, not? They've been infected by this tragically cool and totally hip interrogative tone? As if I'm saying, Don't think I'm a nerd just because I've noticed this; this is just like the word on the street, you know? It's like what I've heard? I have nothing personally invested in my own opinions, okay? I'm just like inviting you to join me on the bandwagon of my own uncertainty?
What has happened to our conviction? Where are the limbs out on which we once walked? Have they been, like, chopped down with the rest of the rain forest? You know? Or do we have, like, nothing to say? Has society become so, like, totally . . . I mean absolutely . . . You know? That we've just gotten to the point where it's just, like . . . whatever!
And so actually our disarticulation . . . ness is just a clever sort of . . . thing to disguise the fact that we've become the most aggressively inarticulate generation to come along since . . . you know, a long, long time ago!
I entreat you, I implore you, I exhort you, I challenge you: To speak with conviction.
To say what you believe in a manner that bespeaks the determination with which you believe it. Because contrary to the wisdom of the bumper sticker, it is not enough these days to simply QUESTION AUTHORITY. You have to speak with it, too.
© Taylor Mali
Reminds me a little of an old song :
Because something is happening here But you don't know what it is, Do you, Mister Jones?
and another song that isn't quite as old:
He's the one who likes all our pretty songs
And he likes to sing along
And he likes to shoot his gun
But he don't know what it means
Damn Dylan and Cobain. Such arrogant, snobby elitists !
(with thanks to Steven Boone )
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All I need is critical thinking
The power to discern,
The ability to learn
From the issues of everyday life
Solving problems by linking
To the knowledge of previous strife.
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The Truth We Can Live: Love Poems to Linda
Author: Richard W. Paul Publisher: Foundation for Critical Thinking Press Copyright: 2016 Pages: 85 Dimensions: 51/4" x 8" ISBN (10Digit): 0-944583-59-8 ISBN (13Digit): 978-0-944583-59-3
Additional Information About: The Truth We Can Live: Love Poems to Linda
Linda Elder, President and Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Critical Thinking, was married for twenty years to its founder, Richard Paul. Both described their marriage as "perfect."
Richard Paul died in August, 2015 of Parkinson's disease. During the course of their time together, he wrote hundreds of poems. These can be roughly divided into three categories: 1) love poems to Linda, 2) poems on the problem of irrationality in human thought and life, and 3) the problem of death. This book includes poems of the first category - only some of the many that Richard created.
Richard Paul always felt that at some point he would want his poems published, though each was written privately to Linda. The reader will appreciate the importance of now making these poems public - for those finer thinkers who can appreciate sublime poetry focused on significant human concerns.
To deal with the sadness she experienced while losing her husband, Linda Elderr turned to art in the fall of 2014. Using graphite on acid-free paper, she drew approximately ten portraits of Richard, attempting to reach something like the sublime space she had known with him. The best of those portraits are included in the book, the cover displaying but one of them.
To the intelligent reader, the eloquence with which Richard captured profound love will be apparent in this book. The reader may also perceive through his poetry something of Richard's real goodness, and of the remarkable power of his mind.