Sunday, April 27, 2014

Poetry Friday Anthology for Science

The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science
compiled by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong
2014 (Pomelo Books)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher

Fabulous - Exceptionally good or unusual; marvelous; superb
This anthology is fabulous.

Excerpt from Liquids Can't Contain Themselves by Heidi Bee Roemer

Sticky honey leaks from a jar.
Oozy ketchup squirts too far.
Hot soup overfills its bowl;
Liquids dribble and ripple and roll!

Sometimes salespeople, via media or in person, will start a sentence with this phrase "If you only buy one...". I could use that pitch to teachers regarding The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science. If you only buy one book this year, this is the book you should buy. Of course, who knows a teacher that buys only one book? My point is that as a teacher, you will be hard pressed to find a book more valuable than this anthology. This is a set of 36 science related poems for each grade level. That's right, a poem a week for each grade level in K-5. Go ahead and do the math and you will learn that we're talking about 218 poems. That's serious bang for your buck, folks. But wait, there's more! Some of those poems are bilingual so you can share them in two languages. Each poem also has its own lesson plan. We're talking about 218 lesson plans! This section is called Take 5! For example, the poem above has five different lesson tips that you can use. In addition to the poems and the lesson plans, you also get a terrific set of resources in the back matter. There are several lists of top notch books that you will want to use in addition to this anthology. There is also a list of outstanding poetry websites, a roll call of fun science websites, and more websites and blogs that are geared towards teaching science in grades K-5. All of this is included in the anthology. Also available are student editions for each grade level that include 5 extra poems at each level that are not included in the teacher's edition. If you visit the publisher's website, you will also find printables and audio versions of poems.

There are so many ways you can use these poems. Shared reading on a flip chart will be a must in K-1. For students working on improving their fluency, they could practice reading a poem and perform it. Want to practice finding a main idea in poetry? I would read Joseph Bruchac's What We Eat and ask students to infer the main idea of the poem. You will find so many different uses for this anthology, so find a way to get a copy in your hands!


  1. Wow, you've really inspired me to make an even more aggressive sales pitch to my daughter's bilingual school. Thanks for sharing so many wonderful details and insights!

  2. Thanks so much, Jeff, for this wonderful review! Teachers: if you receive SCIENCE AND CHILDREN, the NSTA elementary journal, please look for an article by Sylvia Vardell in the current issue. Also, we'll be speaking about poetry and science both at IRA (5/11 at 11am) and NSTA (5/15 at 4:15pm). We have lots of freebies to share at our sessions--hope to see you there!

  3. I have already used a few of these take 5 activities in my room after seeing Janet Wong at a science teacher conference. They were very engaging for everyone. Cannot wait to use the new book!

    1. Dear Jessica: Super to hear that you put the handouts from my session to good use! After you've had a chance to use the book, please let us know which poems are your students' favorites and which Take 5! activities are your favorites, OK? Thank you! Janet


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