Claudia Lewis Poetry Award
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Fold this dog! Write your poem inside.
Learn more about Irish Wolfhounds
Learn more about Cairn Terriers
Little Dog is hosting a SLEEPOVER! The endearing characters from LITTLE DOG POEMS are back—and this time the little girl and her little dog have a very large overnight visitor.
Even though Duncan and Little Dog are very different, they have lots in common, too—both love cookies and scratches and mud and mischief.
Twenty-seven short, playful poems, narrated by the little girl and illustrated with delicate watercolors, affectionately observe the contrasting canines and are an appealing introduction to poetry for very young readers.
When I read Little Dog Poems and Little Dog and Duncan to students, hands fly up around the room. Children can't wait to share stories of their pets and this enthusiasm makes a wonderful prompt for students to start writing their own poems about their own pets.
I discovered that it helps students "focus" their poems if they imagine taking a snapshot of their pet. (We act like movie directors and "frame" the shot using our fingers.) Students then choose one "scene" starring their pet.
Since these poems (which are haiku-like) don't rhyme, students are free to develop their ideas without going off in a different direction trying to make a rhyme "fit." Students feel successful because - without the constraints of rhyming - they are can express their original ideas and images.
Another warm-up was suggested to me by Francess Burch who teaches in Redlands, CA. Francess read Little Dog Poems to her students without showing them the illustrations. She then invited them to draw illustrations to match the poems they had just heard. This was a wonderful way to demonstrate to students how the words of a poem creates images in our minds.
MUSIC: I've also had fun using music for a "warm-up" to a reading, or to set the mood for a poetry writing workshop. A favorite is "Linus & Lucy" from George Winston's Linus and Lucy: The Music of Vince Guaraldi.
EXTENSIONS: These two YouTube videos would be fun to share with students. The first shows the relative size difference between an Irish Wolfhound and a terrier breed. The second discusses Irish animals and gives some of the history of the breed. (Please preview: The second video has a brief shot