This week we examined the idea of RHYTHM in poetry. Everyone from PreK through grade 5 was tapping out beats and hearing various "rhythmic" poems.
Guiding Questions: What are syllables and how can we count "beats"? How does a poet create rhythm? What's the effect of a poem's rhythm?
PreK and K read some silly poems that have predictable rhythms. Limericks are fun for this, and we tried some tongue-twisters, too.
In Primary through grade 5 we identified beats as syllables and used the chin method to count them. We put our hand just under our chin and count how often the chin touches the hand to get the correct number of beats. In Primary grades, we practiced with our names.
Highlight Poems for Rhythm.
These are all found in Talking Like the Rain, by X.J. Kennedy and Dorothy M. Kennedy.
"A Shepherd's Night Count"
How many beats does each word in the poem have? (One.)
Is this an accident? (No!) So, what's the effect of this? (It's choppy and sounds like a list, like the shepherd is checking off tasks to do before he goes home for the night. Or SHE! they remind me :)
"Lullaby for Suzanne"
What is the feeling of the rhythm of this poem? (Very floaty and smooth.)
Why? What's the effect? (It's soothing which is good for getting baby to sleep.)
"Brother" by Mary Ann Hoberman
This is a good one for analyzing the pattern the poet has established.
In this funny poem, an older sibling complains about a younger brother, and we have a very specific pattern of syllables. We practice counting it out to uncover how the poet created the rhythm.
Grades 3, 4, 5 did a choral reading of the poem "Paper of Pins."
In a choral reading everyone tries to say the words together, so we need to get into the rhythm of the poem. This a poem about a fellow proposing to a girl, so we split into boy/girl groups to read the two parts.
In the poem, the fellow offers her several things to win her hand in marriage, but she refuses all until he offers her money. At that point, she accepts but he realizes she's shallow and withdraws the offer. The kids LOVE this surprise ending and it's a giggle-fest as they read back and forth to each other about whether or not they'll MARRY. Here's an online version. We used the one published in Talking Like the Rain.