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Friday, February 12, 2010

Poetry Friday- Sometimes you just need a little silliness

This has been a hard, hard week. Our third graders took the state reading test, and it was, as always, very, very tough. Because I an interventionist, I usually test a small group of kids who are not yet very far down the reading road. This year, I tested two kids who have immigrated from Africa in the last eighteen months, a little gal from Mexico, and two little guys who just struggle. And even though I know in my head that this test is one measure of these kids, on one day, and even though we have lots of other data about these kids as readers, and even though I know the test is incredibly culturally biased (I wish I was allowed to write a post about that), and even though I know there is an almost perfect correlation between test scores and the price of real estate in any given neighborhood, the test always leaves me feeling really, really tired, and really, really, really discouraged about my abilities as a teacher.

On those weeks, I just gotta find stuff that makes me laugh and makes kids laugh (and hopefully remember that they really are readers). Alan Katz' poetry has been making me do that for a long time, ever since I discovered TAKE ME OUT TO THE BATHTUB, a book of silly poem/songs (one of about ten silly dilly songbooks, I think). Last week, at CCIRA, I picked up one of his newest books, OOPS. All week long, I have been hauling this book from class to class, giggling over its silliness. Kids keep begging to borrow it, and I can tell I'm gonna need to buy another copy really soon. Katz writes poems about stuff kids know- sharpening pencils, dirty hands, annoying parents, and going to the dentist. He's perfect when you just need a good laugh.

Here is one of the more "serious" poems in the book. It made for a fun contraction mini-lesson on Monday:

CONTRACTION DISSATISFACTION
It wasn't isn't.
It isn't wasn't.
It can't be shouldn't.
It shouldn't be doesn't.
It mustn't be wouldn't.
It wouldn't be mustn't.
It mayn't be mightn't.
It mightn't be mayn't.
I'm skipping this homework
to go out and playn't.

Alan Katz

3 comments:

Susan T. said...

Carol, thanks for that title; I'm all for silliness lately.

I'd be happy to run a guest column about cultural bias in testing, by the way! As a parent, I LOATHE the state tests that my kiddo has had to take the last few years.

Mary Lee said...

Great poem! Gotta keep some kind of perspective during the madness known as testing.

katied said...

Carol-
This was a nice reminder for me as testing begins for my second graders next week. I loved your idea about finding books to help kids remember they're readers. What a great idea! Thanks