Words are everywhere. They are on our toothpaste tube when we rub the sand out of our eyes and brush the scum off our teeth in the wee hours of the morning. Words are on our cereal box, our t-shirt, and the signs that mark our neighborhood streets. Words are even in our heads, as we internally tag each object around us with its corresponding name.
So if words are all over the place, why is it that we can often sit down to attempt writing- a poem or a story or an essay- and we can’t find the words? Well, it’s not that the words aren’t there. It’s just that for whatever reason… maybe we had a bad day, or we’re distracted by that upcoming test, or we’re excited about a birthday party… sometimes we aren’t feeling inspired.
An epitaph is a poem that mourns someone’s death, usually intended to appear on that person’s tombstone. Although epitaphs are usually serious, it’s also possible for a rhyming epitaph to tell a funny story in a very short way. Often a funny epitaph is only four lines long.
Here’s an example of a funny epitaph poem that I wrote:
Rest in Peas
Here lies the body of Izzy Dunn-Eaton.
It’s hard to believe what he tried.
He tasted the school cafeteria food
and Izzy Dunn-Eaton done died.
This poem is funny because we know that icky cafeteria food can’t actually kill you. The story in this poem exaggerates how awful the cafeteria food tastes. Did you notice that the character’s name adds to the humor of the poem? Try reading “Izzy Dunn-Eaton” out loud to hear what it sounds like. The title makes it funnier, too, using “peas” instead of “peace.”
Sometimes a funny epitaph poem can teach a lesson about unhealthy habits. Here’s an example in which a vegetable-hating kid learns that too many sweets can be very bad for you:
March 21st is World Poetry Day, so don’t miss out on your chance to celebrate all things poetic with the rest of the planet!
In 1999, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation – or UNESCO for short – decided to establish an event that would recognize the impact poetry has had on the arts and cultural life throughout human history, and so, in 2000, the first World Poetry Day took place!
It’s a time to support poets, who often work very hard with very little recognition, but is also a time to appreciate poetry from around the world.
St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland, a country known for shamrocks, leprechauns and lucky charms. People celebrate St Patrick’s Day on 17th March, by wearing green clothes, and pinning a shamrock to their outfit. A shamrock is the Irish name for clover, and it’s always been considered lucky to find one with four leaves instead of the usual three!
This year, I’m going to show you how to make your own lucky shamrock charm to wear on St Patrick’s Day, or to give to someone you love!
The word ‘charm’ comes from the French ‘charme’, which means song. Here is an ancient charm poem from Ireland that explains why a four-leaved shamrock is so lucky:
One leaf is for fame,
And one leaf is for wealth,
And one is for a faithful love,
And one to bring you glorious health.
Making Comparisons with Simile and Metaphor — A Poetry Lesson Plan
This lesson plan uses descriptive examples to explain how to distinguish between simile and metaphor. Students will analyze poem excerpts to identify comparative phrases and pinpoint occurrences of similes and metaphors. Then, they will create their own similes and metaphors to explore how poets choose whether to use a simile or metaphor in a specific poem.
What’s a Simile? What’s a Metaphor?
Similes and metaphors are poetic techniques that let us compare two different things in a descriptive way. Here are some examples.
Hands-on projects help bring poetry to life for young children. In the poem “The Armpit of Doom,” the speaker is experiencing the horrible sights and smells of her brother’s disgusting, stinky bedroom. Have you ever smelled something so bad that it literally makes you want to vomit? All you want to do is smell something good to erase that odor from your mind! In this project, we’ll create homemade air fresheners that you can keep for your own self-defense, or give to that stinky-room person in your life as a special gift from you to them. They may not appreciate it… but everyone else will!
Did you know that March 2 is the birthday of Dr. Seuss? The full name of this famous writer and illustrator was Theodor Seuss Geisel. “Dr. Seuss” is a pseudonym, or “pen name,” that Theodor Geisel used for his books. You have probably read many of Geisel’s books, which usually feature rhyming poetry and whimsical drawings. Here are some of his most famous books:
Theodor Geisel was born in Massachusetts in 1904. His grandparents were immigrants from Germany. When he was a young boy, Geisel’s mother would help him fall asleep at night by singing rhyming songs that she remembered from her own childhood. Geisel took an art class in high school. He also became the editor of his college humor magazine, where he wrote articles and drew cartoons. Later he found work as an illustrator for advertisements, drawing scary-looking cartoon insects to sell a pesticide called Flit. Giesel enrolled in the Army during World War II, where he produced war posters and animated training films. During this time, he also drew political cartoons that expressed his ideas about the war.
Often when they’re asked to write a poem, children can get stuck at the first hurdle: What to write about. By using a familiar starting point, you can kick-start your class’s creativity by giving an easy way in—and a great place to begin is with the fairy tales they’ve grown up with!
Many fairy tales are even older than the printing press. Originally, they were passed on from person to person and generation to generation only orally. (Once books became commonplace, people such as the Brothers Grimm were able to collect the stories from people and commit them to paper.) A great way for people to remember stories in those days was to turn them into rhyming poems or songs—often called ballads—so they could pass them on from one person to the next. This meant that each person could also change the story when they told it, to keep it interesting and relevant (or if they had forgotten a bit!).
Once the stories were written down, they weren’t as easy to change, because the printed word was there for everyone to see. This activity is all about creating a rhyming version of a well-known fairy tale story, and memorizing it at the same time.
This lesson plan uses excerpts from famous poems to demonstrate how onomatopoeia can be used in a poem. Students will closely read the poem excerpts to identify the onomatopoeia words. They will then choose three onomatopoeia words from a suggested list to use in a poem of their own.
Onomatopoeia refers to words that sound exactly or almost exactly like the thing that they represent. Many words that we use for animal or machine noises are onomatopoeia words, such as “moo” for the sound a cow makes and “beep-beep” for the noise of a car horn. Words like “slurp,” “bang,” and “crash” are also onomatopoeia words. Even some ordinary words like “whisper” and “jingling” are considered onomatopoeia because when we speak them out loud, they make a sound that is similar to the noise that they describe.
Poetry often uses onomatopoeia words because they are so descriptive. This type of word helps us to imagine the story or scene that is happening in the poem.
Here are two examples that show how famous poets have used onomatopoeia in their poems. In these poem excerpts, the onomatopoeia words are underlined.