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Paula's Poetry Page

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Module 4: Poetry Break 19

A Poem That Can Be Matched With A Novel Or Picture Book 

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Introduction:  The poem "The Handiest Nose" and the picture book ELMER by David McKee are perfect to introduce a social studies unit on diversity, uniqueness, and accepting others.  Begin by asking a variety of questions such as: Who speaks a different language at home? Who likes to play basketball?  Who has a cat at home?  Who likes scrambled eggs? etc.  As you ask the questions have children observe the variety of answers to demonstrate the differences within the room.  Next, share both the poem  and the book with the students. 
 
"The Handiest Nose" by Aileen Fisher
 
An elephant's nose
is the handiest nose,
the handiest nose of all--
it curves and sways
in the cleverest ways,
and trumpets a bugle call;
it reaches high
in the leafy sky
for bunches of leaves to eat,
and snuffs around
all over the ground
and dusts the elephants feet.
 
An elephant's nose
is the dandiest nose,
the handiest nose of all
for holding a palm,
when the day is calm,
as an elephant's parasol,
and making a spray
for a sultry day,
and a hose for sprinkling, too,
and a hand to wag
near your peanut bag
when you watch him at the zoo.
 
Oh, an elephant's nose
is fun to see,
an elephant's nose is fine;
it's clever as ever
a nose can be
but I'm glad it isn't mine.
 
Picture Book:
 
McKee, David. 1968. ELMER. New York: Lothrop, Lee and Shepard Books. ISBN: 0688091717.             
 
Extension:  Continue the discussion on uniqueness and diversity.  Ask students to identify a common theme between the poem and the picture book.  Possible suggestion: To value their own individuality.  In the book, Elmer tries really hard to fit in and even paints himself gray.  While at the end of the poem the writer states that the elephan'ts nose is "clever as ever," but she is glad that it isn't hers.  Ask the children to write about their own special qualities that make them unique and loved by their friends and family members.
 
The poem would be perfect for acting out using props or pantomine.
 
 
 
 

This web site was created as an assignment for LS 5903 - Section 23 at TWU.
 
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