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Poetry Break # 6
Children's Poetry
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(Be sure to see  Five Facts about Shel Silverstein on the bottom of this page!)

 Poetry Break # 1:  A Favorite Poem by Shel Silverstein

Introduction: Ask students if they ever mix up difficult pairs of opposites. For example, show a picture of stalactites and one of stalagmites and ask students to differentiate. Tell students that you sometimes mix up opposites, too, and provide an example. 

 

     Bituminous?

 

The hard coal's called bituminous,

Or is that anthracite?

Stalactites grow down from caves,

Or do I mean stalagmites?

Those fluffy clouds are nimbus-

No - wait - they might be cumulus.

And that kid who was raised by

  wolves-

Was he Remus - or Romulus?

The brothauruses ate no meat.

Does that mean they're

  carnivorous?

Or were they brontosauruses

And were they herbivorous?

A camel is a pachyderm-

Or do I mean dromedary?

Is this match inflammable?

I thought it was incendiary.

Octagons - no hexagons-

No, heptagons have seven sides.

And don't spray fruit with

  pesticides-

Or do I mean insecticides?

If I can see right through a thing,

Is it transparent or translucent?

These are just some of the things

I find confusing or confuscent.

 

Taken from Falling Up by Shel Silverstein.

New York: HarperCollins, 1966, p. 134.

ISBN: 0060248025.

 

 

 

Extension: a) To perform the poem, divide students into six groups. Ask each group to read four lines. Help groups practice difficult words ahead of time. b) Using the same groups, ask studens to research and illustrate the terms in their lines. Groups will report back to the class. c) Ask students to brainstorm other pairs of difficult opposites, such as convex and concave. Make a list and invite students to illustrate.

 

Lightbulb

Five Facts about Shel Silverstein
 
* Shel Silverstein was born in Chicago.  He began to draw and write in his teenage years. He said, "I would much rather have been a good baseball player or a hit with the girls...but I couldn't play ball, I couldn't dance...the girls didn't want me...So, I started to draw and to write."
 
* Writing children's books was only one of his talents.  Silverstein  wrote several adult books, plays, songs, and one screenplay. He also drew many cartoons for magazines.
 
* His most famous song was "A Boy Named Sue," which became a hit for singer Johnny Cash.  Silverstein composed the lyrics and wrote the music for his own songs.
 
* He owned several houses in different places. He often lived on his houseboat in Sausalito, California.
 
* He died in 1999, at age 68. He is survived by a son named Matthew, who was 15 at the time.
 
Source: Publishers Weekly, 1975;  Available http://members.tripod.com/~ShelSilverstein/ShelPW.html