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Poetry Environment
Multicultural, Poetry and Literature for Young Adults

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Poetry Environment

Assignment 1 - Find a "classic" poem.


This poem is my first recollection of poetry. I don't remember much before my sister reading Pooh to me. I'd constantly bug her to read each poem over and over again. This was probably her favorite when she wanted some time to herself instead of entertaining me.


I have a house where I go

When there's too many people,

I have a house where I go

Where no one can be;

I have a house where I go,

Where nobody ever says "No";

Where no one says anything-so

There is no one but me.


This poem lends itself to word recognition, due to the repetition involved. I would probably tie this in with young children to pictures that they draw of their houses where they can be alone. In the center of the art display would be the poem. The children could then discuss their ideas of their private place with each other and add any ideas to their own place. This poem also lends itself to both the cloze procedure and to choral reading.

Milne, A. A. 1950. "Solitude", in Now we are six. (New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., Inc.), 1.

Assignment 2 - Type the text of a picture book (which lends itself to poetic form)

Introduction: I had no idea so many picture books were already poems! At least when I was looking, almost everything seemed to be to help make them fun and captivating to the listeners and readers. It was a delight to sample so many in such a short time. I chose this one because it had a plot or message to convey to the reader. I feel sure this would be a comfort to a lot of children out there. I would have loved it to help me deal with the wolf under my bed!

When I Feel Scared

Sometimes I feel scared.

I feel scared when there's a big, loud noise

Or when I have a bad dream

Or when my mother goes away.

When I think I could get hurt,

I feel scared.

Sometimes I just feel scared

And I don't know why!

Scared is a cold, tight feeling.

When I feel scared, I cry.

I want to run away, or hide.

I want someone to hold me.

I want to stop feeling scared!

Everyone's scared sometimes,

Even grownups

It's not being a baby to be scared.

When I feel scared,

I can do some things to feel better.

I can tell someone

That I'm scared.

I can ask to be held.

It helps to be held,

And to talk about what scares me.

I can cuddle with someone,

With my blanket

Or stuffed animal,

Get in a cozy place,

Or look at my favorite book.

Sometimes feeling scared

Keeps me safe.

I need to stay away

From a dog that's growling.

I shouldn't climb too high,

Play near cars,

Or go near fire.

Other times I don't need to be scared.

We can look under the bed

To see what's there.

I can learn

That the dark can be nice.

I can pet a friendly dog

When its owner says I can.

I see that when my mother goes away,

She comes back again.

When I feel scared,

I can talk about it.

I can have someone hold me.

I can cuddle with my blanket or toy,

Or find a cozy place.

I can find out that some things aren't really scary.

When I feel scared,

I know what to do!

Spelman, Cornelia Maude.2002. When I Feel Scared. Illus. by Kathy Parkinson. (Morton Grove, Illinois: Albert Whitman & Company).

Extension: This book could lead students to discuss things that scare them and what helps them get beyond the fear of scary. This can also lead to finding out about fire and animals. They could go on a field trip to the fire station or an animal shelter, or veterinary hospital. A policeman could come and talk to the group about strangers. Show and tell time could be to bring in and tell about one thing that helps them when they are scared. Students can also search for other stories and poems about things that scare people - like monsters etc.

Assignment 3 - Find a Mother Goose Rhyme


I remember hand-clapping with this poem. Not having read it myself and not remembering it as a Mother Goose rhyme, I learned upon reading this the true spelling of pease-porridge and the last two lines that I didn't learn with the hand clap routine. This version is in the original Volland edition which was republished in 1984.

Pease- porridge hot,

Pease-porridge cold,

Pease-porridge in the pot

Nine days old.

Spell me that in four letters;

I will: T H A T.

Extension: After teaching children the hand-slap with this poem, students would find other hand slap poems to teach each other and the class. Books would be made available for them to browse through. Skipping poems etc. could be included. The poems selected should require active rythymn by the children. This is not only highly enjoyable for the students, it can be extended by using music instruments. A variety of such activities could be explored from cultures around the world.

Mother Goose, the original Volland Edition, 1984.

Assignment 4 - Type the Lyrics of a Popular Song


This popular song/poem is categorized now as a lullaby. This one many of us have heard from mothers, other relations and music boxes. It still brings a feeling of peace and I can't even read it without hearing the music.


Hush-a-bye, baby, on the tree-top,

When the wind blows, the cradle will rock,

When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall,

Down will come baby, bough, cradle, and all.


Students can share lullabies from their homes with this one. A recording can be made to use at nap time with the entire class participating. It is also possible to compare or learn several poems that have body movements with them. Families can also be involved by sharing lullabies from their childhood. A collection could be gathered and placed in a binder to be used by the teacher for rest time.

"Hush-a-byes" in The home book of verse for young folks. 1943( New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, Inc. ), 65.

Assignment 5 - Find a Folk Poem


This poem is a new discovery for me. The theme reminds me of The Little Engine That Could . No clue is given on the country this is from originally. It reminds me of the Just So Stories that I enjoyed for countless hours, and still enjoy.

How the Little Kite Learned to Fly

"I never can do it," the little kite said,

As he looked at the others high over his head;

"I know I should fall if I tried to fly."

'Try," said the big kite; "Only try!

Or I fear you never will learn at all."

But the little kite said, "I'm afraid I'll fall."

The big kite nodded: "Ah well, good-by;

I'm off"; and he rose toward the tranquil sky.

Then the little kite's paper stirred at the sight,

And trembling he shook himself free for flight.

First whirling and frightened, then braver grown,

Up, up he rose through the air alone,

Till the big kite looking down could see

The little one rising steadily.

Then how the little kite thrilled with pride,

As he sailed with the big kite side by side!

While far below he could see the ground,

And the boys like small spots moving round.

They rested high in the quiet air,

And only the birds and the clouds were there.

"Oh, how happy I am!" the little kite cried,

"And all because I was brave, and tried."


I'd love to see a bulletin board of kites in a classroom with each student putting their favorite poem on it. The Little Engine That Could would be a natural to bring in with this one for the students to look for similarities. A study of kites around the world followed by kites or balloons with poems attached being released with information for the person who finds them to write back to the class.

"How the little kite learned to fly" in The Home book of verse for young folks (New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, Inc.), 567-8.