Picture That Poem Perfectly

Reading to Learn

Put your thinking cap on!

By Shawna Harris

Rationale: Comprehension is the ultimate goal of reading. Once students are fluent readers, they can begin to learn from their reading. Visualization is one strategy to help students gain the most from what they read. In order to understand what is going on in a passage, students must be able to visualize the subject and scene set by the text. This helps students follow the sequence of events, understand cause and effect relationships, and remember what happened in a text. In this lesson, students will practice visualizing the details of a scene in order to better understand and remember the information.

Materials: copies of the poem "One Inch Tall" by Shel Silverstein, copies of the poem "Be Glad Your Nose is on Your Face" by Jack Prelutsky, copies of assessment checklist, blank paper (2-3 pieces per student), pencils.

1. Say: When we read a story or some other piece of text, sometimes it's hard to remember in exactly what order things happen. One strategy that makes this easier is visualization. When we visualize something, we make a picture of what's happening in our head. Then, as we read about things happening, we picture them happening in the scene we've built in our heads. When we've thought about exactly what a scene will look like, it's much easier to remember it after we've read it.
2. First, we're going to practice how to visualize a scene in our heads. We're going to read the poem "One Inch Tall" by Shel Silverstein. As we read it together, I want you to imagine exactly how this would look. (Hand out copies of the poem to the students. Read the poem aloud to the students as they track along. Then have them reread it on their own.) Say: Can you imagine what it looks like to only be one inch tall? What would it look like if you could ride a worm to school? In my mind, I see a tiny little me on a great big brown earthworm. I am tiny, and everything around me is huge! The blades of grass are taller than me And people could squish me with their shoes! What do you imagine? I want you to pick one line from the poem and imagine exactly what it would look like. Take a minute to think about it. When you know what you think it looks like, I want you to draw a picture of it. Just draw what you see in your head. (Hand out pieces of blank paper for students to draw the scene on.) Your drawing doesn't have to be perfect. Just draw what you see in your head so everyone else can see it. When you finish drawing, write the line of the poem that you drew at the bottom of your page. Then, get with a partner and share your drawing. Explain to them why you drew what you did. (After this is finished, drawings may be collected to assess understanding.)
3. Now you're going to try it on your own. I'm going to give you another poem to read on your own. This poem talks about what would happen if your nose were somewhere other than your face, like on your foot. There are several words you may not know in this poem. One is catastrophe. A catastrophe is a terrible event, like a tragedy. If someone's house gets destroyed in a storm, it would be a catastrophe. It would not be a catastrophe if you lost your homework, because catastrophes are big events. See if you can finish this sentence: "It wouls be a catastrophe if..." (Take several volunteers' answers and correct as necessary. Explain the words obliged, dread, and despair in a similar manner.) Look out for these four words, dread, despair, obliged, and catastrophe. Now, I want you to picture what's happening in each verse of the poem. Read the poem twice on your own, and picture what is happening in each verse. Then, pick two verses and draw a picture of what is happening in each. Make sure you add some details in your drawings so other people can tell what's going on. Make sure you reread each verse carefully before you draw a picture of what's happening. (Distribute copies of "Be Glad Your Nose is on Your Face" and blank paper.) Once you are finished drawing, write the verse that you are illustrating at the bottom of your drawing.
4. As students draw, walk around and observe. As they begin to finish, talk to each student and evaluate their understanding using the questions from the assessment checklist.


-For further practice in visualization:
Painting a Picture by Timberly Farley
Can You See What You Are Reading? by Bembry Smith

-Silverstein, Shel. "One Inch Tall." From http://famouspoetsandpoems.com/poets/shel_silverstein/poems/14832.

One Inch Tall

If you were only one inch tall, you'd ride a worm to school.
The teardrop of a crying ant would be your swimming pool.
A crumb of cake would be a feast
And last you seven days at least,
A flea would be a frightening beast
If you were one inch tall.

If you were only one inch tall, you'd walk beneath the door,
And it would take about a month to get down to the store.
A bit of fluff would be your bed,
You'd swing upon a spider's thread,
And wear a thimble on your head
If you were one inch tall.

You'd surf across the kitchen sink upon a stick of gum.
You couldn't hug your mama, you'd just have to hug her thumb.
You'd run from people's feet in fright,
To move a pen would take all night,
(This poem took fourteen years to write--
'Cause I'm just one inch tall).


-Prelutsky, Jack. "Be Glad Your Nose is on Your Face." From http://famouspoetsandpoems.com/poets/jack_prelutsky/poems/18768.
Be Glad Your Nose is on Your Face
Be glad your nose is on your face,
not pasted on some other place,
for if it were where it is not,
you might dislike your nose a lot.

Imagine if your precious nose
were sandwiched in between your toes,
that clearly would not be a treat,
for you'd be forced to smell your feet.

Your nose would be a source of dread
were it attached atop your head,
it soon would drive you to despair,
forever tickled by your hair.

Within your ear, your nose would be
an absolute catastrophe,
for when you were obliged to sneeze,
your brain would rattle from the breeze.

Your nose, instead, through thick and thin,
remains between your eyes and chin,
not pasted on some other place--
be glad your nose is on your face!

 -Assessment checklist from http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/doorways/farleyrl.htm

Comprehension Questions



Is the picture about the poem?



Does the picture show comprehension of poem?



Does the picture include some details from the poem?



Can you interpret the picture?



Can the student describe to you what is going on in the picture about the poem?




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