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Younger Readers: Poems for Fun
Younger Readers: Poems for Fun DISCUSSION GUIDE
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  The discussion guide below is divided into two parts: (1) IMITATION and (2) DISCUSSION exercises. Teachers can use the imitation exercises to encourage students to write their own poems or stories. The discussion exercises are intended to spark students to think about applying the ideas in the poems to their own lives.  
  40. If I Were Music Click on sheet music/disks The Sun Is On  
Have students imitate "If I Were Music." Have each student (or each group) make a list of what qualities they’d have if they were some joyful object. Have each student (or group) read their list to the class.

Discuss why the poet says she would "never play the same way twice." What’s the use of doing things a different way each time? You can discuss this by explaining how jazz musicians are always looking for a unique way of playing their instruments, much the same way each one of us tries to find our own voice in speaking.

  51. The Lonely Shoe The Sun Is On  
Have students take a piece of clothing and make it represent an emotion, based on what it does or on how it looks.

What does the shoe stand for? How do you know? What does the shoe need to stop being lonely?

You can discuss this on several levels. Normally, shoes come in pairs, like feet. You know the shoe is lonely because the poem discusses the shoe only as a singular.

  56. A Natural Fit The Sun Is On  
Have students write down examples of how they (or someone they knew) did, or didn’t, fit into a given situation. They could share these stories with others, or make poems of them.

What does the poem mean by a "natural" fit? What is "natural?" What would it mean to be "unnatural?"

Where did the square finally find herself able to "fit in?"

One object of this discussion could be to have students begin to question the idea that people only "belong" where they can "fit in." You could use this poem as a springboard to discuss the relationship between the idea of "fitting in" and prejudicial behavior.

  87. Well Done (Part I) The Sun Is On  
  88. Well Done (Part II) The Sun Is On  
Students can come up with their own examples of household items that fit the theme of "well done." Perhaps they can bring such items to class for a show-and-tell session. Then they could write a story or poem that describes the item’s "work."

Discuss what it means to be hard working, worn, partially neglected for a job well-done. Perhaps students know someone who is like the toothbrush and can tell a story of such a person. Alternately, the teacher can tell stories of people who are like the toothbrushes in the poem. What does the poem suggest should be done with the toothbrush? How can you use that message with the people in the discussion?