How to teach POETRY to kids while having lots of fun… in just 2 minutes!
This morning as I was enjoying a cup of coffee, I could hear a fog horn in the distance. It called out many, many times, drawing me to a window in my home to investigate. This is the beautiful stillness that enveloped the harbor near my home, and I remembered a poem I love – Fog, by Carl Sandburg…
Two years ago, I wrote a series called 365 Days of Literacy for Kids, and during the month of January I highlighted 31 poems to read with kids, including prompts for wonderful discussions. As a retired 30-year English/Reading teacher and now a Grandma of 9, I know it works. Believe me!
I’m reviving my 31 Days of Poems, thanks to the reminder of the FOG that settled into my life this morning. Enjoy with your kids…
Let’s take a walk today with 20th century American poet Carl Sandburg through the mysterious veil we call FOG.
What is FOG? And just how did FOG end up in a poem?
Take a few moments today to read the poem Fog with your kids as poet Carl Sandburg makes fog come alive for us in the image of a cat. Come along and see how:
The fog comes
on little cat feet.
It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.
Read the poem with your kids.
Read it almost as quietly as the sounds of little cat feet… which is very, very quiet.
You can almost feel the silence, the stillness, the hush as the dense vapor wanders in, hovers and then moves on.
Giving lifelike characteristics to a thing like FOG (or any inanimate object) is called personification. Older kids may be familiar with the term, and younger kids may find it fascinating to learn. The poem FOG is a wonderful way to introduce this poetic term.
Talk to your children about FOG. What is it? How does it form? What does it look like? How is FOG different from a cloud or mist or rain?
Talk to your children about CATS. How do they walk? How do they sit? What is the meaning of the word haunches? What sounds do CATS make as they walk or sit or observe?
Talk about how FOG and CATS are similar in the way they move, hover, observe and move on.
Read the poem again. Read the first 2 lines very quietly. Read the next 4 lines quietly… but with the feeling or sense that the CAT, like FOG, is temporary, coming and going as it pleases.
FOG is a wonderful poem to use as an introduction to personification… or to simply enjoy the masterful way Carl Sandburg allows us to see, feel, hear and be enveloped by the FOG as it hovers over the harbor and the city.
Kids will see it, feel it, hear it and be enveloped by it, too. Your kids will remember this poem the next time a real FOG rolls into your city or town, mountain, valley or harbor. They will remember the little cat feet bringing it in and moving it out.
This connection between life and literature is what READING, LEARNING and WORDS are all about.
WORDS: Written, Spoken & Felt to enhance learning.