Finders – Keepers

Hi and welcome back to Attention-ology for K – 5 Teachers!

How does a little girl’s handbag turn into an attention-getting tool to help kids write poetry? Here’s how…you play a teacher’s game of Finders – Keepers whenever and wherever you shop!

Finders – Keepers is a game of discovery and magic. Something that’s on display in a store as one thing can become something else – a cool attention-ology tool in the hands of teachers who have the vision to see beyond a retailer’s intention.

For example, take a look at my blog pic below.

Petey, the pug-nosed Poetry Pup, loves poems on bones!

It’s a small soft handbag designed to look like a pug puppy. There it was, sitting on a department store table with other colorful handbags when I recently happened by as I shopped. Wearing my imaginary magical teacher’s lenses, a vision popped into my mind that turned the pug puppy handbag into a poetry carry-case for “Petey, the Pug-nosed Poetry Pup.”

“Naturally “Petey” likes poems on bones,” I say to entertain and engage the kids. I’ve created a collection of “Bone Poems,” two-line seasonal rhymes printed on card stock cut in to bone shapes, like my blog pic shows.

If you’re teaching (in the Northern Hemisphere) over the summer or need a quick and easy activity to close this school year with students in grades 1 – 3 (in the Southern Hemisphere this activity also suits a winter schedule), have some fun with your own bone poems.

Whip up a Dog-gone Good Poetry Party!

A Poetry Party catches everyone’s attention!

  1. Copy my Summer Rhyme Time selection (below) onto a master to copy and give your class. (Winter Rhyme Time selections are also below.)
  2. Make a bone pattern for the kids to use or cut out some card stock bone shapes to give them.
  3. Find and bring to school a stuffed animal, a dog, of course that will be the center of attention.
  4. Announce your plans for your Dog-gone Good Poetry Party and explain to the class that you hope they’ll write rhymes and do illustrations of the rhymes to give to the doggy that is the “guest of honor.”
  5. On the day of the party distribute  copies of the summer/winter rhymes that students can choose to use, the paper bones, pencils and crayons.   Instruct the kids to write the rhymes in pencil on one side of each bone, saving the coloring for their illustrations on the other side. NOTE: I recommend not letting your students use markers for coloring because the color may bleed through to the side of each paper bone that has writing on it.
  6. Optional: Invite your class to come up with original two-line summer/winter rhymes. This will help them develop writing skills.

If you can find a handbag with a zippered pouch that is in the form of a dog like “Petey,” you can play Finders – Keepers another way, to the delight of your young students.

Let’s meet a party guest that loves poems on bones!

  • Make the paper bones as I’ve described above and write two-line summer/winter rhymes on as many as will fit into the pouch.
  • Give your handbag dog a catchy name, like “Petey.”
  • Slip the bone poems into the pouch. Hide the handbag in a large party bag and set the bag on a table in front of the class.
  • Announce that you’ve brought a special guest to class to help your students  learn about poetry.
  • Pull the handbag dog from the bag and ask for helpers to unzip the pouch and each pull out a bone and read the rhyme.
  • Optional: Invite students to write their own two-line rhymes to (pretend) to give to the party puppy.

Summer Rhyme Time: Summer holiday/Let’s play, play, play; Birds fly/Sunny sky; Milkshake/Sugar cake; Sneezy nose/Itchy toes; Yummy sweets/Candy treats; Kites in sky/Fly high; Good night/Sleep tight.

Winter Rhyme Time: Holiday/Let’s play; Snowflakes/Sugar cakes; Birds fly/Winter sky; Cold red nose/Chilly toes; Yummy sweets/Candy treats; Pies in ovens/Fun with cousins; Apple cider/Sled rider; Good night/Sleep tight

Playing Finders – Keepers offers teachers a world of opportunities, especially when you modify your attention-ology tools and tricks according to what you discover in your corner of the world.

For example, if you can’t get your hands on a stuffed animal fashioned as a dog, let alone one that has a zippered pouch, use a stuffed toy that you do have and modify the shape of your cards to suit. Have a cute stuffed toy cat? Cut out fish shapes and make your poetry party guest of honor a feline queen.

Speaking of different corners of the world, I’ve created another teaching tool to help students become better writers by turning (only temporarily with imagination) a Native American “Dream Catcher” into a “Story Starter Web.” Take a look at my blog pic

A Native American Dream Catcher hangs proudly above wide-eyed wolves.

here. I hold up my dream catcher and ask students in grades 3 – 5 if they know the legend it represents. Usually at least one student can summarize the legend. Next I point to the dream catcher and say, “I got to looking at this beautiful craft recently, and began to see something in addition to the dream catcher that we know this to be.” Continuing I say, “I began to see a story-starter. “Look, (I point to the center beads being careful not to actually touch them because as the legend tells, that would be bad luck) couldn’t these beads at the center be like the FOCUS of a story?” “Then the web that is woven around the beads becomes the SUPPORT and ELABORATION, the details that you as a writer can use to bring the story to life, painting a bright, rich picture with words.”

I promise that when you make special finds like I’ve done – an adorable doggy zippered handbag and a beautiful handcrafted dream catcher – they can become awesome attention-getters and a teacher’s treasured keepers.

Remember, you don’t need to be a magician to work magic in instructional settings!

Talk with you in two weeks; I’ll be doing research for my blog next Monday, back on June 18. Hope to hear from you between now and then; please tell me about your best attention-ology tools and tricks,

Barbara ♥ The Lovable Poet

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Posted in Attentionology for K-5 Teachers
Barbara Cleary has been serving as a resource to hundreds of educators for more than 25 years. An award-winning writer, producer, teacher, and trainer, Barbara’s focus is on offering easy, fun tools and tricks that support K-5 curricula and assist teachers with classroom management.
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