Friday, May 1, 2009


Wow! What a month in KIDLITOSPHERE! I can't let this month end without saying thank you to a few folks who made National Poetry Event such a wild and crazy time in our world. I so, so, so loved Gotta Book's "Thirty Days, Thirty Poets" series. And Miss Rumphius Effect "Poetrymakers" series. And all of the wonderful reviews on one of my absolute favorite blogs, "Year of Reading." Thank you, thank you, thank you to Gregory, Tricia, Franki and Mary Lee, and all of the other folks who did so much to make so very special. It was fantabulous!!!!

Yesterday we celebrated "Poem in Your Pocket" at my school. One of the fifth grade teachers shared a Shel Silverstein poem, the one about the lightbulb with the cord that reaches to the sun.  His poem made me think about the very first poetry I shared with kids, when I was a baby teacher, just learning to teach. Someone had given me a copy of Silverstein's, WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS when I graduated from college. It was the only poetry book I owned. 

I started teaching at a rough school in a rough urban neighborhood. I was a green, green baby teacher, without a clue as to how to tame the 28 first and second graders that walked in that first day. They were wild, wild, wild, and that first year was rough. It was hard to get them to sit down, let alone learn anything. One thing they loved, more than anything, was Shel Silverstein's poetry. We read it, shouted it, danced it, sang it, acted it, drew it, painted it, shared it. By the end of the year, the cover had fallen off of the book and been taped and retaped. My kids walked out the door with at least twenty poems committed to memory.

Twenty-five years later, I know and love lots and lots of poets, and lots of different kinds of poets. I can't let this month close, however, without honoring my dear old friend, Shel Silverstein.  Here is a link to his website, which has lots of great stuff, including Shel actually reading some of his poems, and bookmarks, and other activity pages. 

And here are the links to some great YouTube videos of some of my first graders favorite poems:

The first poem I remember reading to kids was "I'M BEING EATEN BY A BOA CONSTRICTOR."

And then there was "JIMMY JETT AND HIS TV SET."

Thank you, Shel, for setting me out on a lifetime of poetry!


Tricia said...

Hi Carol,

I'm just getting to read Poetry Friday posts this morning! Thank you for your kind words about the Poetry Makers series. I loved doing it and hope I introduced teachers and parents to some new poetry to share with their kids.


Mary Lee said...

What great memories! I love how you describe yourself as a "green, green baby teacher." I was one of those, too, in a rough urban classroom in Dallas. And yet both of us did great things (by accident) with and for those kids.

Kelly Polark said...

Shel Silverstein is THE reason I fell in love with poetry.