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Paula's Poetry Page

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Module 5: Poetry Break 25

A Poem by an International Poet Who Is Not an American


Introduction:  As fall approaches take the children on a tour around the school to observe the behavior (playing, fighting, nest building, burying food, eating food) of squirrels and have them write down their observations in their journals.  This poem is perfect to use while discussing the five senses during science.  Have the children close their eyes while you read the poem the first time.   
" The Squirrel" by Saleem Barakat (Syria)  Translated by Lena Jayyusi and Namomi Shihab Nye
The first hazelnut trundles down from above.
The second hazelnut, the third, the fourth, the fifth, and
the sixth, trundle down from above.
The hazelnuts trundle down, nut by nut, to the ground beneath
the dumb tree, the tree whose memory the squirrel collects
nut by nut, rolling it into his den.
Each year a memory of hazelnuts rolls, nut by nut, into
the den of the prince with the merry tail,
and the tree forgets.
Taken from:
Nye, Naomi Shihab. 1992. THIS SAME SKY: A COLLECTION OF POEMS FROM AROUND THE WORLD. New York: Four Winds Press. ISBN: 0027684407.
Extension:  Have the children describe what they saw as you read the poem with their eyes closed.  Could they see the little squirrel scampering around collecting the nuts?  Have the children illustrate the poem.
The children could compare the observations in their journal to those of the other students. 
Lead children into a discussion about  the five senses.  Discuss with the students that in the fall when nuts are plentiful, squirrels bury them in the ground and dig them up later.  How do the squirrels find the nuts they have hidden?  They have an extra keen sense of smell.  Invite the children to test their sense of smell.  Divide the children into small groups and give them a wide variety of items with strong scents to identify.  Have them take turns wearing a blindfold to use thier sense of  smell to identify the scented items in the bag.

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