Thursday, March 13, 2014

Take 5 for Poetry and Science

Please allow me to plug my new project (with Janet Wong) once again...  The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science is first and foremost a quality anthology of original poetry for children written by 78 of today’s most popular poets. Children in any grade can enjoy, explore, and respond to these poems. However, we have also come to realize that educators, librarians, and parents are looking for guidance in how to share poetry with children and connect with the science curriculum at the same time. Thus, this book offers both: quality poetry organized by grade level plus curriculum-based suggestions in Take 5 mini-lessons for helping children enjoy and understand poetry AND science.

In The Poetry Friday Anthology series, we have borrowed the phrase “Take 5” from the great jazz musician Dave Brubeck to advocate taking time for poetry every Friday to introduce and share a poem—in this case a science-centric poem. Once again, in our science-themed anthology, we provide “Take 5” activities for each poem to help teachers, librarians, and parents share  poems and invite students to listen and read along, plus questions, activities, and book suggestions for considering the science content of each poem. 
The “Take 5” approach is based on a constructivist model of learning and encourages engagement and exploration in particular. The Take 5! activities provided are tied to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS, as well as the science and technology TEKS in Texas) while also incorporating the literacy skills identified in the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Obviously, poetry sharing doesn’t take the place of planned science instruction, but the two complement each other well. It’s also possible to match poems and science lessons using the weekly themes or the index at the back of the book to identify relevant science topics. 
In The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science, we offer 36 weeks of original poems for each grade level on the following topics. These designated weekly themes cross all levels, K–5. This provides a school-wide connection as each grade enjoys a different poem on the same topics including:
scientific practices 
lab safety 
predictions & hypotheses 
scientific tools 
force, motion & energy 
light & sound 
sun, earth & moon 
the water cycle 
weather & climate 
forces of nature
soil & land 
natural resources 
adaptations & traits 
the human body 
kitchen science 
video technology 
building things 
the science fair 
famous scientists 
science careers 
future challenges 
future dreams

Here are some sample poems and the Take 5 activities that accompany the poems. 

Naturally, a single poem is not intended to be the entire science lesson, but it offers an innovative, engaging, vocabulary-full, and concept-rich way to launch or conclude a science lesson. Science expert Jill Castek challenges us to “break down those instructional silos” of science and literacy and look for opportunities to maximize overlap. We need to ensure that vocabulary exposure is occurring in many contexts for maximum scaffolding and science learning. In her essay, “Teaching science when your principal says ‘teach language arts,’” Valarie Akerson notes, “It is possible to use language arts to support science learning and to use science as a purpose for learning language arts” (2002, p. 22). And Royce, Morgan, and Ansberry (2012) confirm “studies have shown gains in literacy as well as science achievement in programs that blend science and literacy instruction” (p. 6).

Whether we introduce a poem at the beginning of the day, when transitioning to lunch or at a break, tied to a science lesson, or for wrapping things up, “breaking” for poetry provides a moment to refresh and engage. This doesn’t mean that a more in-depth study of poetry as well as science is not a good idea. Of course it is. But for the average teacher or librarian, consistently sharing a five-minute poem break is an effective practice for injecting poetry into the routine. And with these science-themed poems, we offer the added bonus of infusing science content into this language experience.

Get your copy of The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science now and be ready for National Poetry Month in April.  Head on over to Rogue Anthropologist for this week’s Poetry Friday gathering. See you there!


Rosi said...

Thanks for showing the examples. I'm really looking forward to see this book.

Joy said...

Thank you for all the "TAKE 5"s. The ideas and suggestions for using the poems are useful and fun.
I really appreciate everything you and Janet Wong are doing to make science more fun and exciting for our children.
I have great respect for you and feel so humbled by all the great poetry in these collections. What a fantastic achievement.

Bridget Magee said...

These "Take 5" mini lessons are terrific! Thanks for sharing! = )