Tuesday, April 29, 2008

It's Still National Poetry Month!

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening written by Robert Frost and illustrated by Susan Jeffers has been a part of my 5-year old curriculum for 28 years. I had to memorize the poem in 6th grade back in the day when teachers forced students to do such things. I never forgot the poem, and blame Sister Genevieve Saint Joseph for every rhyming picture book I've written.

When I started teaching, I vowed to be the kind of teacher Sister Genevieve Saint Joseph was. Minus the vows she took to achieve "Sister" status. I always, always, always think of Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening when the first snow falls. I had no choice but to share it with all my students, preschoolers and kindergartners. It's the kindergartners who get the works, however. They talk about this poem all winter.

We name the horse and imagine what this man might be doing out on such a day. Where did he go? Why? Is anybody waiting for him? (Not once in 28 years has anybody imagined the guy might be Death, or a man contemplating his death. Kids are funny like that.)

We talk about Robert Frost, and how we could drive to his farm if we really wanted to because we live in New Hampshire and so did he. (Kids love that fact. There's that funny-kid-thing again.) We talk about what a fantastic place New Hampshire is in which to live, which is why a smart guy like Robert Frost chose to live here.

We always decide we are very lucky to live in New Hampshire, which has great woods in which to stop.

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