Thursday, June 13, 2013

Shel Silverstein is the BEST poet EVER!

This is what my son said tonight after I finished reading some of our favorite poems together. My father read Shel Silverstein poems with me when I was younger and these moments are among my favorite memories I have with him as a young child. When I had J, my father gave me my copy of Where the Sidewalk Ends with the spine broken and some of the pages warped. As I went through the poems, the memories came flooding back and before I knew it, I was crying. THAT is how special those poems are to me and why I chose to start reading them to J when he was old enough to understand what I was saying.

Although I am a Secondary English teacher, the magic of Mr. Silverstein still rings true for me and I have been wondering how I can use him in my class. I created a unit on Poe for my English 1/2 students and I found this poem that I think I can use when I introduce the voice and tone of Poe and his uniquely horrifying tone.

I am thinking that I can ask what makes a scary story and how monsters become "scary" rather than silly like they see here. Maybe I can take them into the concept of metonymy without them knowing exactly what they are doing and then go into the characteristics of Gothic Novels with this PowerPoint.

Finally, I was thinking that they could create their own Poe-ms with a fun activity that asks students to use the words and tone of Poe by arranging given words into a workable poem. They use almost all of the word with a selection of "free words" and their own flair. I think this sounds like a lot of fun and really speaks to their childhood and their adulthood- their sense of "magic" and literature.

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