*Poet's Pantry Field Trip

Trailhead ---- Teacher's Resources ---- Start Field Trip


By Cara Bafile

Language Arts

The ideal accompaniment to this tour is a classroom poetry-writing activity. There are many ways to implement such a lesson.

Poetry Samples is a page that explains poetry formats with examples. Use this in conjunction with the site featured in the tour to allow your students to choose a style that they wish to use for their own writing. You may assign a topic or permit the children to choose their own. You may also instead have your students write a poem of a specific type each day for a week or two during a poetry unit. In this manner, every child experiences each style. Compiling their writing into a book of poetry that can be enjoyed by students and parents is another method of adding interest to your study.

To locate examples of well-known poems that fit the various styles of poetry that your students are learning, see Forms of Poetry for Children. This site explains some additional poetry formats. Discuss why "Casey at the Bat" by Ernest Thayer qualifies as "narrative" poetry.

Visit The Owl and the Pussycat, a part of Jan Brett’s Web site, and read her Newsnotes about how she designed her book around the Lear tale.

Print and distribute a Dr. Seuss Cross-Word Search. The puzzles come in three levels and require students to solve questions like crosswords and find the answers as in word search puzzles.

Dr. Seuss’s Seussville has an excellent collection of online games and activity suggestions for your classroom to complement this author’s many books of rhyme. His Seussville University: Reading includes an interactive game that focuses on letter recognition skills and printable sheets that help students decipher and identify simple words.

Peruse the collection of poetry offered by Ogden Nash Online, and choose a few selections to share with your class. Then have the students write poems about Ogden Nash in the same style he used. If you prefer, share more examples of Nash’s animal poetry and have the students write original poetry about other animals they like.

Share poems by Jack Prelutsky such as A Pizza the Size of the Sun. Instruct your students to make a web or flow chart that displays a graphical representation of the poem. A web of "A Pizza the Size of the Sun" might show the word "pizza" circled in the center, with spokes of the web radiating from it displaying phrases like "weighs more than a ton," "too big to toss," and "oceans of sauce." Invite the students to use this type of organizer for their next poetry writing assignment.

History/Social Studies

Some of the best poetry is about holidays. There is something about the smell of a Thanksgiving turkey, pop of a firecracker, and melodic tones of a yuletide carol that sparks creative juices. What better way could there be to put these flowing juices to good use than the writing of poetry? Using Jack Prelutsky’s "Thanksgiving Day Parade" as an example, invite your students to express their thoughts about a favorite holiday or celebratory event through poetry.


Take your class to Seussville University: Science, and your students will thank you! This site provides two science-oriented online games and one printable activity sheet. The activities are easy to follow and deal with the scientific themes of animal grouping, sounds made by animals, and ecology.

Merge the art of writing poetry and descriptive language with the scientific skill of observation through a lens. If you have a microscope, set it up so that your students can examine a few common items up-close. Next, have your students draw two circles on a sheet of paper. In one, they should draw one specimen viewed from under the lens. In the other, they may write a descriptive free-verse poem in a spiral shape, beginning at the inside or on the outer edge, but remaining within the circle.


Read Shel Silverstein’s The Missing Piece to your class and relate it to a study of circles and geometry or fractions. To incorporate the activity into a fraction lesson, cut several circles, half the number of students in your class, of the same size and then cut out fractional pieces from them. Each one should be different. Pass out a circle or piece to each student in the class and have the students attempt to match their pieces with the circles to which they belong. When you have finished, you may mix them up and perform the activity again.

Have your students show off their counting skills the Seuss way with Seussville University: Math. An interactive counting game is featured at this site as well as downloadable Adobe Acrobat files that teach students about the number two, reinforce their addition skills, and enable them to practice their counting skills as they connect the dots. Seussville University: Reasoning has activities that exercise your students’ ability to recognize patterns and compare sets.

Select a few poems that interest the class and graph the frequency of the words that appear in them. What words are the most common? How do the results of your study of words in poetry compare to the findings of the 100 Most Frequent Words in Books for Beginning Readers.


Have your students choose one of the poems from Grandpa Tucker’s Rhymes and Tales or Poetry for Kids and illustrate it. If you prefer, assign the poems or allow the students to sign up for them and create an illustrated book of these poems.

Channel your students’ artistic talents with a fun portrayal of a Dr. Seuss character! Using only the poetic description of the character, not the illustrations, have your students recreate one of the famous figures from a tale by Dr. Seuss. Make the assignment challenging by selecting an obscure character from a lesser-known book.

Turn the animal poetry of Ogden Nash into mobiles for your classroom. First, have the students choose poems from Ogden Nash. Next, instruct them to write the titles of the poems on rectangles. Hanging from the title, the students should add an animal figure made of paper, and the lines of the poems should be written on index cards and hung from the animals. The cards should be organized so that the first line hangs closest to the animal, and others dangle slightly lower in succession until the last is hung at the lowest point.


Compile a music book of musical poems that your students can sing from memory . Add entries of nursery rhymes and any other poems they know by heart. As you encounter new poems, include them in the book as well. Put it in a place where students may examine it during free time.

Record your students singing nursery rhymes or reciting Mother Goose tales. Allow the students to listen to the recordings and perfect them. Have the students make books that illustrate the rhymes. Schedule a visit to an early childhood classroom and permit the students to share their books and recordings with the children.

Links to sites containing lesson plans and activities:

Poetry for the Elementary Classroom

Poetry Pond




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