Tag: poetry

Wayne the Stegosaurus

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Wayne the Stegosaurus

Meet the stegosaurus, Wayne.
He doesn’t have the biggest brain.
He’s long and heavy, wide and tall,
but has a brain that’s extra small.

He’s not the brightest dinosaur.
He thinks that one plus one is four.
He can’t remember up from down.
He thinks the sky is chocolate brown.

He wears his bow tie on his tail
and likes to eat the daily mail.
When playing hide-and-seek he tries
to hide by covering his eyes.

He thinks that black is really white.
He’s sure the sun comes out at night.
He thinks that water grows on trees
and when it’s hot he starts to freeze.

He’s happy when he’s feeling ill.
He likes to dance by standing still.
And when it’s time to go to bed,
he puts bananas on his head.

He thinks his name is Bob, not Wayne,
but that’s what happens when your brain
(although you’re big and brave and spiny)
is very, very, very tiny.

–Kenn Nesbitt

How to Write an Alliteration Poem

Writing Alliteration Poems

A fun and easy kind of poem to write is what I call an “alliteration poem.” Alliteration is when you repeat the beginning consonant sounds of words, such as “big blue baseball bat” or “round red robin.”

Writing alliteration poems is a terrific creativity exercise. Not only is it an easy way to write a poem, it’s a great way to get your brains working. You’ll need to think of a lot of alliterative words, and then form them into rhyming sentences.

Writing an Alliteration Poem in Five Easy Steps

Step 1: To write an alliteration poem, first pick a consonant. It can be any letter of the alphabet except for the vowels a, e, i, o, or u. For example, let’s say you choose the letter “B.”

Today Is the Day

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Today Is the Day

I’m happy to say that today is the day.
I’m super excited. I’m shouting, “Hooray!”

I woke up delighted and ready to go.
My mind is abuzz and my eyes are aglow.

There’s no doubt about it. It’s perfectly clear.
The time is upon us. The moment is here.

I’m eager and keen for the action to start,
and when it begins I’ll be playing my part.

I’ll jump in the bustle and I’ll give it my all.
I’m certain that soon I’ll be having a ball.

But where should I go now, and what should I do?
I’m hoping that someone will give me a clue.

I’m not sure what’s happening. All I can say
is yesterday’s gone, so today is the day.

–Kenn Nesbitt

My Mother Said to Do My Chores

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My Mother Said to Do My Chores

My mother said to do my chores,
to dust the shelves and mop the floors,
and wipe the walls and wind the clocks,
and scoop the kitty’s litter box,
and walk the dog and feed the fishes,
and wash and and dry the dirty dishes,
and clean my room and take a bath,
and read a book and do my math,
and pick up all my Lego blocks,
and put away my shoes and socks,
and hang my shirts and fold my pants,
and water all the potted plants,
and organize my toys and games,
and straighten up the picture frames,
and polish all the silverware,
and brush my teeth and comb my hair,
and rake the leaves and mow the lawn,
and on and on and on and on.

She said I’ll get to have some fun
as soon as all my chores are done.

With all the chores I have to do
until my mother says I’m through,
like study for an hour or two
the names of places in Peru,
and peel potatoes and stir the stew,
and fix a vase with crazy glue,
and practice tuba till I’m blue,
and scrub the tub and toilet too,
and sweep the chimney and the flue,
and wash the dog with pet shampoo,
and pick up piles of puppy poo…

It looks like I’ll be ninety three
before I get to watch TV.

–Kenn Nesbitt

The Teachers Jumped Out of the Windows

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The Teachers Jumped Out of the Windows

The teachers jumped out of the windows.
The principal ran for the door.
The nurse and librarian bolted.
They’re not coming back anymore.

The counselor, hollering madly,
escaped out the door of the gym.
The coach and custodian shouted
and ran out the door after him.

The lunch ladies threw up their ladles,
then fled from the kitchen in haste,
while all of the students looked puzzled
as staff members scurried and raced.

We’d never seen anything like it.
But, still, it was pretty darned cool
to see all the staff so excited
to leave on the last day of school.

–Kenn Nesbitt

Copyright © 2007 Kenn Nesbitt. All Rights Reserved.
From the book Revenge of the Lunch Ladies.

Revenge of the Lunch Ladies

Poetry Writing Lessons for Kids

Here are some of the poetry writing lessons for children that I have created. These should help you learn to write your own poems.

How to Write Funny Poetry

Rhythm in Poetry

  1. The Basics
  2. You Can Scan, Man
  3. I Am the Iamb
  4. Okie Dokie, Here’s the Trochee

Poetic Forms

A poetic “form” is a set of rules for writing a certain type of poem. These rules can include the number of lines or syllables the poem should have, the placement of rhymes, and so on. Here are lessons for writing several common poetic forms.

Other Poetic Styles

There are many different styles of poems. These are not “poetic forms” because they don’t usually have firm rules about length, syllable counts, etc., but they are common enough that many well-known children’s poets have written poems like these.

Reciting Poetry

Other Poetry Writing Lessons

Poetry Lesson Plans for Teachers

Video Poetry Lessons

Poetry Dictionaries and Rhyming Words Lists

When reading these lessons, you may come across some unfamiliar words. If you see a poetic term and don’t know what it means, you can always look it up in the Poetic Terms Dictionary. Poetry4kids also has a rhyming dictionary and a list of rhyming words you can use to help you write poems.

How to Write a “Roses are Red” Valentine’s Day Poem

Valentine’s Day is a perfect opportunity to tell the people we care about how much they mean to us. The tradition of sharing our feelings by giving cards dates back to the 15th Century in Europe, and the messages were all originally written as poems!

Happy Valentine's Day

The oldest surviving example of a Valentine’s poems is written in French, but the most famous Valentine’s poem of all is in English:

Roses are red.
Violets are blue.
Sugar is sweet,
And so are you!

The best thing about this poem is that it is so simple to adapt by changing just a few words.

Writing Your Own “Roses are Red” Poem

Some people buy pre-printed cards, but homemade cards always mean a bit more, especially when you’ve written your own personalized poetry inside!

How to Write a Tanka Poem

Tanka, which means “short song,” has been an important literary form in Japanese culture for nearly a thousand years. The original Japanese form of tanka had only one line of poetry containing 31 speech sounds—what we would call syllables. However, most tanka poems that are written in English today are broken into five poetic lines with a certain number of syllables in each line.

The basic structure of a tanka poem is 5 – 7 – 5 – 7 – 7. In other words, there are 5 syllables in line 1, 7 syllables in line 2, 5 syllables in line 3, and 7 syllables in lines 4 and 5. If you have ever written a haiku, you will notice that tanka is kind of like a longer version of haiku that gives you a little more room to tell a story. Here is one example of a tanka poem:

How to Write a Concrete Poem

What is a Concrete Poem?

Concrete poetry—sometimes also called ‘shape poetry’—is poetry whose visual appearance matches the topic of the poem. The words form shapes which illustrate the poem’s subject as a picture, as well as through their literal meaning.

This type of poetry has been used for thousands of years, since the ancient Greeks began to enhance the meanings of their poetry by arranging their characters in visually pleasing ways back in the 3rd and 2nd Centuries BC.

A famous example is “The Mouse’s Tale from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.  The shape of the poem is a pun on the word tale/tail, as the words follow a long wiggling line getting smaller and smaller and ending in a point.

The name “Concrete Poetry,” however, is from the 1950’s, when a group of Brazilian poets called the Noigandres held an international exhibition of their work, and then developed a “manifesto” to define the style.

The manifesto states that concrete poetry ‘communicates its own structure: structure = content

There are 2 main ways that this can be achieved…

How to Write a Free Verse Poem

Free verse is one of the simplest, and yet most difficult, type of poetry to write. While it doesn’t constrict the poet with rules about form, it requires him or her to work hard at creating a piece that is beautiful and meaningful without any specific guidelines about rhyme and meter. If you’d like to try your hand at free verse, there are a few tips (not rules) that will help as you develop your own style.

Choosing Words Carefully

Carefully chosen words can help you create a poem that sounds like the situation, emotion, or object you are trying to portray. For instance, short words with sharp consonants cause the reader to stop-and- go in a choppy cadence: Cut, bash, stop, kick, lick, bite, punch, jump, stick, kiss. They almost sound like what they mean. Use these types of short words when you want to show excitement, fear, anger, new love, or anything that might make your heart beat quickly. Longer words with soft sounds cause the reader to slow down. Use them when you want to show pause, tension, laziness, rest.