Scared Silly! Extension Activities
- Grades: PreK–K, 1–2
About this book
About this book
About the Book
Scared Silly! is a collection of spooky poems that offers both chills and chuckles! It includes such favorite children's poets as Jack Prelutsky, Ogden Nash, Judith Viorst, and Marc Brown, who also provided the illustrations. The cast of creepy characters includes ten hungry monsters, a troll, the Twitchety Witch, and even an Alphabet Monster! Being scared has never been so silly...or so much fun!
Before Reading the Book
Before you begin reading Scared Silly!, introduce the book to your class as a collection of poems. Ask your students how they would recognize a poem if they saw one. (You may wish to write their responses on the chalkboard, and create a class definition for your students to copy down). Responses will probably include that poems rhyme, have lines of a certain length, have meter (have a singsong or bouncy rhythm when read out loud), and are divided into stanzas. (Of course, you can also point out to your students that poetry doesn't have to have any of these things...that poets get to make up their own rules!) If your students are uncertain about how to identify a poem, use a few poems from Scared Silly! to teach them about some of the basics of poetry.
A Garden of Verses
Decorate your classroom with poetry your students wrote themselves! Cover a wall area or bulletin board with colored paper and attach the poems. Here are two types of visual poetry that your students can create:
- Shape Poetry — In Shape Poetry, your students begin by writing a rough draft of a poem about a specific thing, such as a cat or the rain. Then they copy this rough draft into a final draft by copying their poem in the shape of its subject. A poem about a cat would be in the shape of a cat or a cat's face; a poem about the rain would be in the shape of a raindrop. Provide your students with art supplies so they can copy their final draft shape poems using appropriately colored paper and markers or crayons.
- Rebus Poetry — In Rebus Poetry, your students write a normal poem; you may assign the topic, or have them write about whatever they would like. Then they create a final draft by substituting pictures for some of the words in the poem. For example, the word "rainbow" would be replaced by a small picture of a rainbow. Again, encourage your students to use bright, fun colors.
In addition, you can show your students how to write short poems with specific visual forms, such as the haiku and the acrostic poem. They are visually striking and easy to read. Hang them up, and you will have a classroom full of poetry in motion!
Initiate a classroom discussion about fears. Begin by stating that all people have things they are afraid of. Ask your students some questions about common fears that everyone deals with: Who is afraid of insects? Of heights? Of big dogs? Of the dark sometimes? Then tell them about some of the more unusual (and often amusing) phobias that exist, such as triskaidekaphobia (fear of the number 13) bufonophobia (fear of toads) and coulrophobia (fear of clowns).
Next, ask your students if anyone can describe a time when they overcame a fear they had. Maybe it was a fear they had when they were younger that they realized was silly or a fear they used to have that they have now mastered. Make a point of telling your students that it's okay to be afraid of things because it's your brain's way of taking care of you. However, some of our fears are silly or unnecessary, and we're happier when we learn how to overcome them.
After your students are warmed up from this discussion, ask them to write about one of the times in the past when they overcame a fear they had. What was their fear, how did they get over it, and how did they feel when they realized they weren't afraid anymore?
Create a fun performance for your students to star in using the poems in Scared Silly! Assign different poems from the book to students or to small groups of students. There are poems that students can read and act out themselves (such as "Alphabet Monster" and "Spider on the Floor"), poems that one kid can read while others act it out (such as "Deep Beneath the Dark, Dark Sea" and "Adventures of Isabel"), and poems where you can have multiple readers taking turns reading and acting (such as "Witches Four" and "Five Batty Bats"). Help your students create costumes and props, and decide whether or not you would like your students to recite their poems from memory.
Once your performance is ready to go, invite another class or grade to be the audience. One student can begin with "An Invitation" (a poem on page 4 of Scared Silly!) and then let the show begin!
Silly Stanzas, Amazing Acrostics, and Rhyming Fun!
First explain to your whole class how to write an acrostic poem. An acrostic poem is based on a word. The first letter of the word begins the first line, the second letter of the word begins the second line, and so on. So if you were writing an acrostic poem called ROBIN, the first line would start with an "R" word, the second line would start with an "O" word, etc. When you are finished, the word should spell vertically down the left side of the poem. The poem you write should be about the word you have chosen. It can rhyme, but it does not have to. After you have explained the acrostic form to your students, practice writing one together as a class. Select a word that they will have a lot to say about, such as SCHOOL or FAMILIES, and ask for students to volunteer lines. You could even divide the students into the appropriate number of groups, assign each group a letter, and ask that each group come up with a line beginning with their letter.
You can also inspire your young poets by reading aloud some poems like the ones in Scared Silly! Ask your students which poems sound the silliest, and what it is that makes them so silly. Then invite them to write their own silly acrostic poem.