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I'm a wife to my "Mr. Right". A momma of five. A maker of slow food and simple living. A collector of memories, a keeper of books, and a champion for books that make memories. An addict who likes my half-and-half with a splash of coffee. A fractured pot transformed by the One Who makes broken things beautiful. I heart homeschooling, brake for libraries, and am glad you're here with me on the journey! Be sure to subscribe to my daily digest via email or RSS feed. Or, follow along with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, Youtube, or Pinterest.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Poetry & Pie Party {igniting a passion for verse}

Host a simple morning of poetry and pie to ignite a passion for verse in your homeschool...here's lots of ideas and links.

The thought of poetry use to make my boys cringe. Verse seemed too fluffy...too girly...too fancy for their liking.

But besides being a wonderful way to improve verbal and cognitive skills, memorizing and reciting poetry is a natural way to learn proper syntax and grammar patterns. It expands vocabulary and improves writing skills. And, what's more, it is a central presence in every culture all over the world and throughout history.

All very good reasons why THIS momma was determined to steer the opinions of her boys and ignite a passion for poetry in each of her kids! 

As it turns out, cultivating that love is as easy as pie!
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Host a simple morning of poetry and pie to ignite a passion for verse in your homeschool...here's lots of ideas and links.

It all started with a simple comment tossed out while listening to the radio one day.

"How did you like that poem?" I asked casually.
"Huh?" came their reply.
"You know, a song is really just a poem set to music." I said...and opened up a whole new world.

From there, we began talking about poems and how often we see them and hear them in our daily lives...in songs, in Scripture, in television commercial jingles, in the narrative of some of our favorite children's books (Cat in the Hat, anyone?), in nursery rhymes, and on and on...

I gathered up some of my favorite children's poetry collections and began strewing them about here and there...reading excerpts every now and again during our days. They were a mixed-bag of humorous and witty AND somber and thoughtful selections...but mostly humorous and witty.

Great Poetry Collections

Now We Are Six by A.A. Milne
A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
Poems and Prayers for the Very Young by Martha Alexander
The Random House Book of Poetry for Children by Prelutsky and Lobel
The 20th Century Children's Poetry Treasury by Prelutsky and So


Host a simple morning of poetry and pie to ignite a passion for verse in your homeschool...here's lots of ideas and links.

After a few weeks of sneaking in verse, I invited my kids and a few of their friends to a morning of Poetry and Pie...a party dedicated to two great things, creating/reciting poetry and eating pie. 

I challenged each guest to pick a poem to share with everyone else the day of the party. Any poem would do. Short or long. Silly or somber. The only rule was, no one could tell anyone else (except me) what poem he/she had selected until the day of the party. 

For days leading up to the event, all my kids could talk about was how they couldn't wait to share their poems! Shrouding it all in a bit of mystery helped to build momentum. (Score 1 for a sneaky mom and her love of poetry!)


Host a simple morning of poetry and pie to ignite a passion for verse in your homeschool...here's lots of ideas and links.

A gentle introduction to poetry


The morning of Poetry & Pie dawned with eager anticipation all around. Even the three mommas came armed with verse to share.

I gathered the group in the living room and read a beautifully illustrated picture-book version of the beloved American classic, Stopping by Woods by Robert Frost. We discussed the book a bit as we read through it, noting some of the rich language and interpreting the more-difficult-to-understand phrases through the illustrations.

Host a simple morning of poetry and pie to ignite a passion for verse in your homeschool...here's lots of ideas and links.

Before moving on to the next activity, I broke the ice by reciting my chosen poem. Then, I invited a couple of the kids to share theirs.

(I had a morning full of poetry-lovin' activities and a long line of kids just waiting to share their verse. It worked well to mix two or three recitations in between each activity. The variety kept things moving.)

Host a simple morning of poetry and pie to ignite a passion for verse in your homeschool...here's lots of ideas and links.

Adjective poems

After a few kids shared their poems, we paused for a few moments to talk about some of the elements of a good poem.

The children were quick to point out that most of the poems they like contain rhyme, include colorful adjectives, and have a lyrical quality.

I reminded them that poems, while often short, are usually more difficult to write than a narrative story. When writing a poem, you have to squish a whole lot of description and imagery into a few well-chosen words. 

We, then, got to work creating one of the simplest kinds of poems to write, adjective poems.

Host a simple morning of poetry and pie to ignite a passion for verse in your homeschool...here's lots of ideas and links.

I passed a sheet of paper and a marker to everyone, instructed all the guests to sit in a circle around the room, and asked each to write his/her name in the center of his/her paper. 

I told everyone to pass their paper to the person to the left of them. Each person, then, had another person's paper. 

I encouraged them to think of an adjective or adjective phrase that would describe that person and write that word (or words) somewhere on the paper. When everyone was finished, I had them pass the papers again to the left. This writing and passing continued until all of the papers circled back to the original owners. 

Host a simple morning of poetry and pie to ignite a passion for verse in your homeschool...here's lots of ideas and links.

Each paper was filled with adjectives describing its owner and, if written out in linear order, would create a simple adjective poem. 

Then it was time for a few more recitations.

Host a simple morning of poetry and pie to ignite a passion for verse in your homeschool...here's lots of ideas and links.

Just before serving the pie, I gathered everyone to the table to create a group poetry Mad Lib.

Host a simple morning of poetry and pie to ignite a passion for verse in your homeschool...here's lots of ideas and links.

Poetry Mad Lib

I had typed out a short excerpt from the whimsical, poetic picture book, The Magic Hat by Mem Fox. I intentionally left out certain nouns, adjectives, and verbs so that the children could create a one-of-a-kind poem together. 

I went around the room and encouraged the kids to provide the missing words for our poem that they had entitled The Magic Cat.

When I was done filling in all the missing lines, I read the poem out loud.

Host a simple morning of poetry and pie to ignite a passion for verse in your homeschool...here's lots of ideas and links.

Then, it was on to pie.

Host a simple morning of poetry and pie to ignite a passion for verse in your homeschool...here's lots of ideas and links.

And more pie.

Host a simple morning of poetry and pie to ignite a passion for verse in your homeschool...here's lots of ideas and links.

And still more pie.

Host a simple morning of poetry and pie to ignite a passion for verse in your homeschool...here's lots of ideas and links.

After the table was cleared, I brought out some supplies to create simple poem books.

Creating a poem book

Prior to the party, I printed off nine copies of each of the poems that were shared at the party and grouped them together in sets. It was a lovely collection of Dr. Seuss, Shel Silverstein, Jack Prelutsky, and even an original poem by one of the kids.

To save time, I also pre-folded and stapled brown lunch sacks together to create a little paper bag mini book for every child.

Host a simple morning of poetry and pie to ignite a passion for verse in your homeschool...here's lots of ideas and links.

After we ate pie, the kids each glued a full set of poems to the inside pages of their own mini book, added some sticker embellishments, and created personalized covers. 

Host a simple morning of poetry and pie to ignite a passion for verse in your homeschool...here's lots of ideas and links.


Host a simple morning of poetry and pie to ignite a passion for verse in your homeschool...here's lots of ideas and links.

As I was planning the activities for the party, I wasn't entirely sure how this craft would be received by the boys of the group. But, I was pleasantly surprised to find my boys quoting from their poem books for days after the party. 

Having all the poems gathered nicely in one spot, gave the kids a chance to rehash and rehearse their favorites on a whim.

Host a simple morning of poetry and pie to ignite a passion for verse in your homeschool...here's lots of ideas and links.

Poetry and Pie Party


After a few more kids recited their poems, it was time to close out the party. 

I ended the morning by reading Sing a Season Song by Jane Yolen, a new book with an old soul. It's set to verse and has the kind of beautifully rich illustrations that you rarely see in children's literature anymore.

Host a simple morning of poetry and pie to ignite a passion for verse in your homeschool...here's lots of ideas and links.

It was a lovely morning dedicated to the simple joy of poetry. We didn't dissect the lines. We didn't overanalyze the themes and tone. We just shared poems. We enjoyed the words and embraced the rhythm. 

As Gladys Hunt says in Honey for a Child's Heart
"Children may learn to appreciate poetry more than adults do because they are free to let it be what it is and not demand more of it." 

We spent the morning letting poetry be what it is. Simple. Beautiful. Enriching.

5 comments:

  1. What a FUN idea! I'm totally stealing this for my homeschool. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a great idea! I love it! Appreciation for poetry is so important :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for sharing this, Jamie. What a fun party! I think we need to do this with some friends.

    ReplyDelete

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