I'll be in residence at Norwood Elementary in Baltimore for another week and a half. Our second workshop session was onomatopoeia.
The lesson begins with kids volunteering sound words: bam! pop! shh, crash, zoom, whisper. They know onomatopoeia has something to do with sounds but -- what a cool idea -- these words actually make the sound they are describing!
Before I introduce the model poem, Eve Merriam's "Weather," the kids and I create a rainstorm in the classroom. They follow me as we tap the desks, snap our fingers, clap our hands, slap the desktops. It actually sounds like a rainstorm in their classroom. The children love making noise and moving their bodies.
We write down all of the rain sounds we made: rumble, tap, snap, drop.
It's especially fun when it rains the day after we do the "rain dance." Kids look at me and say, "Mrs. Shovan, we made it rain."
That's a nice segue into the Merriam poem,
Weather by Eve Merriam
Dot a dot dot dot a dot dot Spotting the windowpane.
Spack a spack speck flick a flack fleck Freckling the windowpane.
A spatter a scatter a wet cat a clatter A splatter a rumble outside.
The rest, here: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15415
Not only is "Weather" filled with onomatopoeia, it has a hidden surprise that's great to share with kids.
Merriam never uses the words "he," "she," "boy," or "girl," but there is a person in the poem. It's easy to miss him/her on the first reading (I did) because we focus on the juicy sounds.
I love walking through the stanzas of "Weather," one by one, with children. Together, we figure out what the person in the poem is doing. It's enough to make me splosh in a mud puddle.
Last, we write.
Writing Exercise (All Ages)
A sound riddle.
Using mostly sounds, describe a place (the school cafeteria, your house in the morning, a diner), or activity (a sport you do, riding bikes in your neighborhood). See if your readers can guess where you are and what you are doing.
Yat-Yee Chong is hosting Poetry Friday today. You'll find more poetry at http://yatyeechong.blogspot.com/