April is National Poetry Month! Celebrate with a study of nature poetry!
Ask children if they know what poetry is? Have they heard poems? Are books poems? Discuss. Read poems about nature and wildlife (see book list below). Listen to nature songs and music - since songs are poems set to music! Try “Billy B” Brennan, Stan Slaughter, or The Banana Slug String Band.
As a class, create your own illustrated nature poetry book. Take kids on a nature walk, find a quiet place to sit, listen, and reflect. Record students’ observations and feelings. Allow children time to draw pictures of what they see or how they feel while in nature. When you return to the classroom, as a class, create/write poems from the children’s observations. Compile a book of the children’s drawings and poetry.
Educator Book List
Anderson, P. 1996. Henry David Thoreau: American Naturalist. Scholastic Library Publishing.
Bosselaar, L., and E. Hiestand. 2000. Urban Nature: Poems About Wildlife in the City. Milkweed Editions.
Ferra, L., and D. Boardman. 1994. A Crow Doesn’t Need a Shadow: A Guide to Writing Poetry from Nature. Smith, Gibbs Publisher.
Hass, R. and P. Michael. 2008. River of Words: Young Poets and Artists on the Nature of Things. Milkweed Editions.
Leopold, A. 1989. A Sand County Almanac. Oxford University Press.
Leslie, C. W., and C. E. Roth. 2003. Keeping a Nature Journal. Storey Books.
Leslie, C. W. 2003. Nature Journal: A Guided Journal for Illustrating and Recording Your Observations of the Natural World. Storey Books.
Muir, J. 1997. John Muir: Nature Writings. Penguin Group.
Shamir, I. 1999. Poet-Tree, the Wilderness I am. Better World Press, Inc.
Children’s Book List
Florian, D. 2002. Insectlopedia. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Florian, D. 2005. Lizards, Frogs, and Polliwogs. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Florian, D. 2004. Mammalabilia. Voyager Books.
Florian, D. 2000. On the Wing. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
George, K. O., and K. Kiesler. 2007. Old Elm Speaks: Tree Poems. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Glaser, L., E. Kleven. 2002. Our Big Home: An Earth Poem. Lerner Publishing Group.
Harrison, M., and C. Stuart-Clark. 1992. The Oxford Book of Animal Poems. Oxford University Press.
Heard, G., and J.O. Dewey. 1997. Creatures of the Earth, Sea, and Sky: Poems. Boyds Mills Press.
Paladino, C. 1993. Land, Sea, and Sky: Poems to Celebrate the Earth. Little, Brown & Company.
Paolilli, P. and D. Brewer. 2001. Silver Seeds: A Book of Nature Poems. Viking.
Peters, L. W., and C. Felstead. 2003. Earthshake: Poems from the Ground Up. HarperCollins Publishers.
Ryder, J., and D. Nolan. 1990. Under Your Feet. Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing.
Sidman, J., and B. Prange. 2005. Song of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Sidman, J., and R. Allen. 2014. Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
VanDerwater, A. L., and R. Gourley. 2013. Forest Has a Song: Poems. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Worth, V., and S. Jenkins. 2007. Animal Poems. Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Yolen, J. and J. Stemple. Color Me a Rhyme: Nature Poems for Young People. Boyds Mills Press.