Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Finally April! YOU arrived....

There are so a couple of reasons why I love love love April...

1. National Poetry Month is celebrated! A whole month dedicated to poems!
2. Spring is in the air. Look around your city, the cherry blossoms are telling us: new season, new beginnings.
3. My World/Mi Mundo was born in April 11, 2008.
4. My mom and my little Fabrizio's Birthday is in April.
5. And of course....SPRING BREAK (at least for us in Whitehall City Schools!)

Now, let's go back to reason # 1 in the list: National Poetry Month. There is a special place in my heart for poetry, and there is a special place for poetry in my ESL classroom. I have learned throughout my years of working with English Language Learners that regardless of what level of second language acquisition a child is, he or she can still have an appreciation for poetry. So, friends, please don't be afraid to introduce, practice, read, explore, and write poetry with your ELLs. My students guide my teaching and they let me know how much they love free verse. Books such as Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate, Love That Dog and Hate that Cat both by Sharon Creech, Where I Live by Eileen Spinelli, Heartbeat by Sharon Creech, Naked Bunyip Dancing by Steven Herrick are all examples of free verse novels that I have used with my ELLs and let me just say: They loved it!  The relax and supportive atmosphere that these stories provide have all contributed to the success. 
Today, I would love to share with you a new poetry book for our delight: My Hippo Has the Hiccups by Kenn Nesbitt and illustrated by Ethan Long. I was so excited to get this book in my hands not only because of the many wonderful poems that this book contains, but also because it includes an audio CD! What a treat is to hear the author read some of his favorite  poems. 

My Hippo Has the Hiccups with CD: And Other Poems I Totally Made Up

Let me just add my two cents on audio CD and its powerful connection with teaching ELLs.  When an ELL has the opportunity to listen to a poem being read aloud, he can just relax and enjoy listening to the poem and the language being used. It provides support and a model for pronunciation, intonation, pitch and stress. So I am excited to add this CD to our listening station and invite the students to sit back, relax and enjoy some wonderful poetry by Kenn Nesbitt!

Tomorrow, I will post some pictures of how WE at Beechwood Elementary welcomed National Poetry Month. Stay tuned, the pics are really cool!

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