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Memorizing Poetry  

Submitted by: Laura Terry  

I take a poem and number the lines of the poem.  I cut the poem into strips, put them in the bag, and let the students draw out a line of poetry.  They cannot trade their line of poetry with any of the other students. Sometimes a students might have more than one line of poetry, sometimes I have to adjust the sentence strips so that each student will have a part. Their goal for the week is to memorize their line in the poem.

After passing out the strips, we go over any vocabulary the students might not be familiar with.  Then we practice saying our poem.  I hold up fingers indicating which line it is that needs to be said.  We practice several times a day, and by the end of the week, each student usually memorizes his or her lines as well as the lines before and after.  In fact, depending on the poem, some students memorize the entire poem.  My students really love this.  I find it exposes them to all kinds of poems, and the students have fun doing it.  Below is an example of one of the poems I do at the beginning of the year.


1. "The Remarkable Adventure", by Jack Prelutsky

2. I was at my bedroom table

3. With a notebook open wide,

4. When a giant anaconda

5. Started winding up my side.

6. I was filled with apprehension

7.  And retreated down the stairs,

8. To be greeted at the bottom

9.  By a dozen grizzly bears.

10.  We tumultuously tussled

11.  Till I managed to get free,

12. Then I saw, with trepidation,

13. There were tigers after me.

14. I could feel them growing closer,

15. I was quivering with fear,

16. Then I blundered into quicksand

17. And began to disappear.

18. I was rescued by an eagle

19. That descended from the skies

20. To embrace me with its talons,

21. To my terror and surprise.

22. But that raptor lost its purchase

23. When a blizzard made me sneeze,

24. And it dropped me in a thicket

25. Where I battered both my knees.

26. I was suddenly surrounded

27. By a troop of savage trolls,

28. Who maliciously informed me

29. They would toast me over coals.

30. I was lucky to elude them

31. When they briefly looked away - -

32. Thatís the reason why my homework

33. Isnít here with me today.