by Lynley Dodd
was blacker than black,
a stalking and lurking
He had bright yellow eyes,
a warbling wail
and a kink at the end
of his very long tail.
He was cheeky and cheerful,
friendly and fun,
he’d chase after leaves
and he’d roll in the sun.
But at night he was wicked
and fiendish and sly.
Through moonlight and shadow
he’d prowl and he’d pry.
Listen to the full poem (picture book) with Ems Storytime ….
It’s Friday morning and I’m sitting in a hotel room, being a bit lazy after two very full days of presenting staff development workshops focusing on writing. I’m so glad that two months ago I booked an afternoon departure so I could enjoy a late-start luxury.
This post, inspired by primary teachers who joined me during those two workshops, is a recap of one of the activities we did, an activity to build background knowledge, introduce rich vocabulary, and provide descriptive models during our discussion about prewriting … using poetry.
Backstory to Poetry-Picture Matching —
I planned to use the general topic “cats” to model our how-to-write lessons (writing process). (How To Write workshop)
I had gathered resources to use during for the research part in prewriting: photographs, picture books, poems, and articles about cats. Pixabay was a great source for photos. The shelves of my personal library provided a good sampling of picture books, including a copy of Slinky Malinki. A quick internet search turned up several articles with interesting cat facts. And Rainy Day Poems had a selection of cat poems.
Poetry-Picture Matching spans all reading levels and is a springboard for much rich discussion. It also encourages students to make connections between images and print. And the poetry is usually loaded with delicious words in short text lines.
Preparation is relatively easy as long as you have access to the internet, to a printer, and of course, to books — personal library, school library, public library, online.
I selected a half dozen cat poems. Then I selected cat photos to go with the poems. With the photos, I created cat playing cards.
How I created the cat playing cards:
Using the photos I had selected, I created a Keynote slide presentation — one cat photo per slide, filling as much of the slide as possible. I numbered each slide in the upper right hand corner. Then, using the print feature, I created a printable document of the slide show using the “grid” option with six slides per page. I left the cards on sheets for easy use in the workshop. However, if using with students, I would laminate the cards and cut them apart.
Here are my 24 cat playing cards, on four sheets, ready to be cut apart.
1. Students gather in a circle.
2. Each child receives at least one cat card.
3. Students close their eyes and visualize while the teacher reads the poem or a stanza of a poem.
4. Students open their eyes and look at their cards as teacher reads poem or stanza again. Students are listening, looking, thinking to determine if their card matches (illustrates) the poetry lines the teacher just read.
5. Teacher guides student talk supporting card selections — how the images in a picture support the ideas created by the words of the poem.
Here are two examples–
Resources for Poetry-Picture Match
Here is a link to a 4-page color master for the cat photo cards I used with the poems that I’ve listed below: Cat Picture Cards. The cards are numbered for easy reference during the activity.
I found the cat poems at Rainy Day Poems. Here is a list of the poems that go with the Cat Picture Cards:
- “Cats” by Eleanor Farjeon
- “At Night” by Aileen Fisher
- “Kitty in the Basket” by Eliza Le Follen
- “The House Cat” by Annette Wynne
- “The Milk Jug” by Oliver Herford
- “The Game” by Oliver Herford
- “Cat” by Mary Britton Miller
- “Two Little Kittens” by Jane Taylor
- “The Shadow Kitten” by Oliver Herford (When I read this one, I don’t read the title because it was a spoiler.)
- “The Kitten at Play” by William Wordsworth
- “The Cat of Cats” by William Brighty Rands
After you have had fun doing this whole group poetry-picture match game, there are dozens of other possibilities for the cat poems and cat picture cards. They can be prompts for sentence writing, poetry writing, or story writing. Use them for matching activities in a station /center using lines or a stanza from the poems (instead of whole poem) to match with pictures [engaging with mentor text, visualizing, making meaning]. Sort picture cards by descriptive characteristics [noticing details].
I’m so glad you visited today,
and I do enjoy hearing from you!
Your reply will become visible as soon as I read it.
Hi! Can I have a copy as well too? This is awesome. firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi Kristy, After I read your comment, I check the link to the “Cat Picture Cards” and found it “broken.” I’ve corrected it so now you can download that resource.
Sounds like a great activity! Ruth, thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com
I love the “Slinky Malinki” poem. It’s so much fun and the picture accompanying it is fitting. The poem made me think about the way cats are like slinky toys, too, and I love the connection that makes me think. Thank you for sharing your process. I’m passing this along to colleagues. I’m going to try to find time for this activity last week of school.
Thank you, Glenda. I’ll send you the links to the cat documents.
Slinki Malinki is quite the cat! I love this activity–such a rich resource of possibilities.
I love this! Your group must have been thrilled to participate and so energized by this work/play. Thanks so much for taking the time to walk us through the activity and for the generous offer to share your resources. I’d love to have the links to use this with my class later this spring.
Thank you, Molly. I will definitely send you links.
Thanks for sharing about the workshop you just did, and intriguing activity. I also loved the “Slinky Malinki” story/poem!
Thanks for sharing! What a fun lesson!
I am sure that this will be a beloved lesson for kids & for teachers, too, Alice. It is fun to read about.
Very clever and inventive idea! Love it! I’m sure it will be a favorite with kids. Dogs next?
Alice, thank you for sharing your inventive literacy lesson. I am sure that the teachers benefited from your professional development session. i reviewed your workshop on your website. It sounds like primary teachers will be engaged and will walk away with instructional practices to impact their students’ writing skills.
Thank you, Carol. We had a great time. So much energy and excitement as we worked together.
Such a great activity – my Preps would love this! Yes, would love a copy too. 🙂
Thank you, Barbara. I will be sure to send you the links.
I adore Slinky Malinki and all of Lynley Dodd’s characters, and I am SO EXCITED to be 1) seeing the original artwork, 2) meeting Lynley, and 3) doing her workshop (so very, very excited!!) in May! She has been one of my TopThree PB creators for so long! (I will blog it!)
Love your activity, especially the fact that not all pics will match – and children may be able to make connections that we don’t initially see. (Would love a copy of your cards and poems, please.)
How exciting!! I am also a big fan. I love reading her books aloud to kids. She uses such delicious words. I will watch for your blog post. And I will email you a link to my docs… as soon as I get them all uploaded.
Lovely! Thank-you. (And yes – it is those delicious words used with joyous abandon that I particularly LOVE!)
What an inventive activity, Alice! So interesting to read about and fun for the students, no doubt. Plus, CATS!
Thank you, Michelle. Your comment did come through. My security is set so I read before it becomes visible. Thanks for the resend to make sure I got it. Have a great weekend.