"Greg the Zombie Dinosaur,
See him shuffle, hear him roar!”
Hello Poem Enthusiasts!
This week's read-aloud poem is about a zombie dinosaur named Greg who loses his head. Literally.
Greg the Zombie Dinosaur,
See him shuffle, hear him roar;
Shuffle… Shuffle… Shuffle… Roar! Roar! Roar!
Greg the Zombie Dinosaur.
One day Greg The Zombie Dinosaur,
Had a leg DROP and PLOP onto the floor!
Now Greg can’t shuffle anymore;
Poor Greg the Zombie Dinosaur.
“Students learn that poets not only think about what words they use but where to place the words on a page.”
-J. Paul Getty from the J. Paul Getty Museum
“CALLIGRAM: This is a picture poem made of letters representing an aspect of the poem. In this example the words are leaning across to reflect meaning: The sloping wall.”
-Pie Corbet, The Works Key Stage 1
A calligram! I’ve finally discovered an official name for the tricks I’ve been using with the type design in my poems. While poets use calligrams as a whimsical addition to their work, we can use them as a serious tool to aid our children’s fluency, decoding and comprehension skills.
Teach your students the character of typefaces (fonts). In Greg the Zombie Dinosaur, the typeface used when he’s roaring or shuffling is a broken, distressed one — just like broken and distressed Greg himself!
Assign a tone of voice and actions to this font during a shared read so that when they read it on their own, they’ll be able to inflect their voice accordingly.
Teach your children that when someone is SHOUTING THE WORDS MIGHT BE LARGE AND BOLD and when someone is whispering the words might be small and light.
Dynamically typesetting written work gives your children extra visual clues to help with their fluency. It makes the reading experience much more entertaining for them and for you!
Enjoy your week and enjoy reading every day.
Don’t be SILLY!
There’s no croc around the block!”
Hello Inspiring Humans!
This week's read-aloud poem is about a little boy named Billy who is desperately trying to convince his mum that there’s a cross-dressing, old-lady-eating crocodile hiding out at number four. His mum doesn’t take his warnings seriously and gets the shock of her life when she goes to investigate his claims.
Themes of open-mindedness and attentive listening can be explored by analyzing the dialogue between Billy and his mother. It’s an opportunity to discuss how important it is to pay careful attention to what others have to say — listening could save you from becoming a crocodile’s dinner!
"What we teach children to love and desire will always outweigh what we make them learn”
- Amazing quote that I could not find a reference for
We read aloud to and with our children every day to teach them motivation for reading. Stickers and stamps and prizes for daily reading teach our children that they have to do a chore to get something good. We need to guide them to the idea that reading is its own reward and it’s something to celebrate — definitely not a chore!
What happens when children get to old for stickers to inspire them to read anymore? By reading with them you give them your time and attention and connection that builds the strong, mental foundations for good grownups.
Your children will not remember the stickers and stamps and prizes you give them for reading when they’re old and grey. They will remember you for taking the time to read to them and with them every single day. I promise.
Have a fabulous week and remember; reading is its own reward.
"Sweet obese water beast…”
Hello Ridiculous Readers!
Before I introduce this week’s poem I’d like to say a huge thank you to the wonderful EAs who came to my session with the amazing Samantha Hughes at The West Australian Association of Teacher Assistants Conference this past Saturday! Welcome to the newsletter. J
This week's read-aloud poem is about a little girl who desperately tries to stop her brother, sister and the family baby to STOP playing music in the house. If the music doesn’t stop…
Oh please no…
Boom. Boom. Boom.
Sweet obese water beast…
HIPPOPOTERINA IN THE ROOM!
Themes of personal responsibility can be explored in this piece. Older children may be able to identify that the Hippopoterina is just an imaginary scapegoat for the lead character’s destructive dance habits. Discuss how the mum isn’t mean at all when she makes the little girl clean up the debris left by her dancing routines — it’s what should be expected of someone who makes a mess of things!
"Education is not the filling of a bucket but the lighting of a fire.”
- William Butler Yeats
I touched a little on this subject last newsletter, but I’ll say it more explicitly now:
As educators and caregivers, it is our obligation and privilege to guide our children towards finding a desire to read. Not forcing them to read.
It’s a subtle art and it’s hard work. It means taking a proactive interest in the lives of your children and their families.
Teachers — I recommend the following if you wish to inspire a hesitant reader:
Have an incredible week and remember to love what you do because it takes enthusiasm to breed enthusiasm. J