April 12, 2016

Friday, November 14, 2008

Amok in Third Grade, Day 2

It's Poetry Friday!
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.
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


Sara said...

It's rained all day yesterday, and may again today, but now I have Eve's poem for company. And I'm picturing those kids making rain sounds with their hands...

Author Amok said...

Thanks for the comment, Sara. You should see those faces light up when we start pounding on the desks. Total glee.

Anonymous said...

This poem fit Wednesday's weather in Portland to a tee!. I am so enjoying reading your blog as I love teaching poetry at my school.

Author Amok said...

Jone -- Thanks for the comment. I'm glad you're enjoying the blog. After five years of teaching high school English, I love working as a visiting teacher -- especially with elementary schoolers.

As an extension, look at Calef Brown's poem "Weatherbee's Diner" from his book, "Flamingos on the Roof."

Christina said...

Laura, I love the music created by Merriam's poem. I also love the word "bumbershoot"! What fun. Will be sharing the poem with my kids in a minute. Thanks for posting it, and for the writing exercise.

Author Amok said...

I thought "bumbershoot" was an invented word, but a parent sitting in on the lesson a few years back corrected me. It's an old synonym for "umbrella" used -- one of the teachers at Norwood ES tells me -- in "Winnie the Pooh." Great word.

Mary Lee said...

This sounds like a fantastic lesson that I just might have to borrow for my classroom! You make onomatopoeia come to life before they have to use it! Perfect!

Isn't it Eve Merriam who has that great windshield wiper poem? It'd go great with the rain one!

Author Amok said...

Mary Lee,
Borrow away! I'm glad you can make use of the lesson.

Thanks for the windshield wiper poem tip. I'm going to look for it.