Friday, February 18, 2011

Tribute to Langston Hughes

I attended a professional development session this week that was inspiring. Dr. Tim Rasinski was giving a session on improving reading fluency and I came away with many good ideas. This was one of them. He suggested using poetry for the kids to read to help them learn proper phrasing and expression. I adore poetry myself and use it often in the classroom, but never thought of it as a guided reading-type activity. We started reading them today and I can really see it working to help them learn what to emphasize.

This upcoming week the kids are going to read and re-read an assigned Langston Hughes poem ( I assigned them in pairs). On Friday we're going to read it in the cafeteria to give the younger kiddos some dining entertainment during their lunch. We'll celebrate the era a little bit with poodle skirts and root beer floats. Each week I want to showcase a different poet.

This poem was one that he included in his materials and something about it struck me as a I read it. It's called Mother to Son and it begins "Life, for me, ain't been no crystal stair". It's about hanging in regardless of obstacles in your path.  I read it to them and we identified some of the unknown vocabulary. Then I asked the kids to replace "crystal stair" with something that would be valuable in their eyes. I love the results. I think not only that they "got" the big idea of the poem; but also that they were very creative in their answers.

The last word is "Pledge of Allegiance"-apparently one word in his mind.

I did think it was interesting I had 2 students who thought school was the most valuable thing they could think of.

Life ain't no Justin Beiber. It starts early y'all!

1 comment :

  1. Thanks for sharing great ideas! Check out your award!