Apr 12, 2013

POETRY FRIDAY: One silly poem, two fun poetry books, and several more ways to celebrate National Poetry Month!

When I was teaching, the #1 thing I dreaded hearing from my sweet students was, “I can’t do this, Mrs. Shillington!” Whenever I heard these words my heart would squeeze a little. “Of course you can!” I would retort (encouragingly, of course), and then I would remind the student that “I CAN’Ts are not allowed in our class!” Usually this would make the kid smile, and then we could tackle the issue together. Whether this was a difficult math problem, a writing challenge, or simply trying something new, 99% of the time the dilemma was solved when the student took a deep breath, talked through it, and then tried again.

After countless reminders, I eventually decided that we needed a sign up in our class that said “No I CAN’Ts Allowed!” But then I thought A sign is SO boring. I’ll write a poem instead! So I wrote a poem on chart paper in multi-colored magic marker, and I’d read it aloud whenever the dreaded “I can’t” showed up in our class. It was silly and fun, but very effective. Here is the poem:

No I CAN’Ts Allowed!
I CAN’Ts are not allowed to step a foot inside this room,                                                                 For if we let them come inside, they’ll fill our class with gloom,                                                   ’Cause all I WILLs, I CANs, and I’LL TRYs will march right out the door.                               
So all I CAN’Ts will be tossed out—of that you can be sure!

Among its many gifts, poetry has the ability to encourage. I found this to be the case with this little poem, simple and silly though it is. As we celebrate National Poetry Month, take the time to read an encouraging poem—or better yet, write your own!
Also, I wanted to share two fun poetry books that I have recently added to my collection. The first is POCKET POEMS, a book of fun kids’ poems selected by poet Bobbi Katz and illustrated by Marilyn Hafner. (I'm giving copies to my boys’ teachers as a “Happy National Poetry Month” surprise!)

The second is a book of poems called POEM IN YOUR POCKET FOR YOUNG POETS, from the American Academy of Poets. This collection of 100 children’s poems has perforated pages for kids to tear out and share—perfect for Poem in Your Pocket Day, which is on April 18th this year!
And finally, here are some more fun ways to celebrate
National Poetry Month:
Write a short inspirational or silly poem and post it in a public place—an anonymous gift to the world!

Write a poem about your pet, and then read it to him (or her).
Read a book written in verse—two great choices are LOVE THAT DOG and HATE THAT CAT, both by Sharon Creech. (If you have never read a book in verse, these are wonderful introductions to the format!)

Write a poem in memory of a loved one, and take time to honor that person privately.
Spend time browsing through a poetry anthology. This is a great way to read a variety of different poems!

Buy a set of refrigerator magnets (or make your own) and post a poem proudly in your kitchen.

Write a “love poem” for your significant other, and hide it where he (or she) will find it.
Get into the spirit of Poem in Your Pocket day on April 18th by carrying a poem in your pocket and sharing it with family and friends!


  1. Great post today, Becky! I second your recommendation of the two Sharon Creech books. They're little wonders.

  2. I CAN say I enjoyed your No-more I Can't poem, can I? ;)

  3. Great post, Becky.
    I have four pocket poems posted on my blog today at www.poetryforkidsjoy.blogspot.com
    Also there are lots of great pocket poems for kids in THE POETRY FRIDAY ANTHOLOGY compiled by Janet Wong and Sylvia Vardell from www.Pomelobooks.com

    1. Thank you so much for sharing, Joy! I do not have the Poetry Friday Anthology (yet). And I love the pocket poems you have posted on your blog! = )


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