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May 9, 2012 A Book About Mom — A Recipe for a Great Mother’s Day By Kristy Mall
Grades 3–5

    Since National Poetry Month just passed and Mother’s Day is right around the corner, why not combine the two to create a terrific Mother’s Day gift with your students? With some great resources from Scholastic and some creativity, you can help your students create a gift that will be treasured for years to come!


    Begin With Poetry

    Nothing means more to a mom than something that is made from the heart for her by her loved ones. A handmade book with poems and projects can be a great gift for Mom!

    To start the poetry lessons, I show my students that there are many different types of poetry and that they don’t have to rhyme. If you are just starting out or poetry does not come naturally to you, Teaching Grammar With Playful Poems is a great way to introduce your students to poetry. It has poets that kids love, such as Jack Prelutsky, Bruce Lansky, and Shel Silverstein, and it offers lots of great teaching ideas for grammar lessons. I think it is really important to show kids that poems can be funny and creative, and aren’t just about rhyming a bunch of words.

    As you progress into your unit, No More Homework! No More Tests! is a great poetry book featuring some of the top humorous poets. It is also terrific for reading aloud. These poems are easy to read and understand and really capture the interest of nonreaders and readers alike!

    After you have caught your students’ attention with humorous poetry, begin showing them different styles of poetry. In Scholastic Printables, you can find many examples of different types of poetry and then offer a blank template to students to fill in. How to Write Poetry by Paul B. Janeczko is a great resource for getting them started as poets. Once you've accomplished that, it is time to begin working on the Mother’s Day collection!


    Creating a Gift Book for Mom

    To get your students in the mood, I recommend reading a book to them such as My Mom by Anthony Browne or The Night Before Mother’s Day by Amy Wummer. Then, have them brainstorm some things that make their moms great. An easy way to start is to have your students write an acrostic poem. On the Teacher Printables page, there is a great example of an acrostic poem that students can use to get started. I let mine choose whether they wanted to write their mother’s name or just "Mom," and then they used thesauruses to find some words that really pop. I had them handwrite them because, for moms, seeing their children's handwriting when they are young is very nostalgic. Help them find words that really sum up their moms.

    Next, have them create an adjective page. Since they are working in the thesaurus already, have them take a piece of paper (I like to give them one with a border preprinted on it), write their mom’s name, and then decorate the page with adjectives that describe her. Let them write them in different colors and really make it look nice. Both of these ideas are pretty easy, but they mean a lot because it gives your students a chance to really show mom what they think of her.

    Now that they have become more focused on mom and have had some time to really think, have them write a poem about her. I like to just let the kids write — it doesn’t have to rhyme or follow a set pattern. You will be amazed at what your students can do after studying the poetry that you have shared with them. Some will find that poetry just comes naturally and will want to write more than one — which is FANTASTIC. You may also have some students that just can't figure out where to start. I like to have the students brainstorm with a partner to help them when they get stuck.

    Finally, have the students write a recipe for a great mom. These are so cute, and they can personalize their recipe to fit their mother’s personality. This is a great page to either lead off with or end with. Of course, depending on your time, you may want to have them draw a picture for the book, or you might take a picture of your students to add to a page.

    You can also have them create an “All About the Author Page” that will give them an opportunity to share a little bit about themselves and make it more memorable. I displayed an example of an author page from Storia on my SMART Board so that students would have one to look at.

    I also found a cute art activity to put at the end that was also a great symmetry lesson. For this activity, you have the children put their hand on a folded sheet of paper with their thumb and pointer finger pointing downward on the fold. They trace their hands and arms and then cut out the folded piece. When you unfold it, you have a precious picture of a heart made out of their hands!

    Once your students have finished their pages, have them create a cover and bind them together into a book. Be sure that you have a date, their name, age, and information about them incorporated somewhere in the book so that when mom pulls it out in the future, she can be reminded of when this was created. As a mom, I have found that gifts like these are such treasures. As my children grow older, I love looking back at things that they have created and marveling at all that they have accomplished and how they have changed. I hope this will provide a precious gift for the moms of all of your students!


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Susan Cheyney