Friday, April 17, 2015

Day 17 - National Poetry Month 2015 - Sing That Poem!

Happy National Poetry Month!
Welcome to Day 17 of this Year's Poem Farm Project!

Find the Complete April 2015 Poem and Song List Here

First, I would like to welcome all old and new friends to The Poem Farm this April. Spring is a busy time on all farms, and this one is no exception.  Each April, many poets and bloggers take on special poetry projects, and I'm doing so too.  You can learn all about Sing That Poem! and how to play on my April 1st post, where you will also find the list of the whole month's poems and tunes as I write and share them.  If you'd like to print out a matching game page for yourself, you can find one here, and during April 2015, you'll be able to see the song list right over there in the left hand sidebar.

Yesterday's poem was Memories.  Here is the tune that goes along with it, below. Did you figure it out?

Margaret Simon's students from Caneview Elementary in New Iberia, Louisiana, have done it again!  You can listen to their strong voices singing about that old barn.  Thank you, singers!

And here, below, is today's poem.  Look at the song list in the sidebar or on your matching form to see if you can puzzle out which tune matches this one.

by Amy LV

Students - Today's poem does not have much of a story behind it other than it began with some notebook writing.  I knew which tune I would write to because I knew that we were lucky enough to have guests with the same tune here today. But which topic should I choose?

I wrote about a few ideas in my notebook, and some were too silly for today's rhythm and song.  I adore this tune, and I wanted to write something worthy of it.  I hope I did.

Today we have a special Poetry Peek from Joy Keller's fourth grade poets Brooks Hill Elementary in the Fairport Central School District in Fairport, NY.  These students have been researching oceans, and they used their research to write a class the same tune as my song for today.  

Taking information and restructuring it into the rhythms and lines of a poemsong is a complex task, and these writers did a beautiful job here. This might be something that other classes wish to try.  It's a glorious way to culminate a unit in science or social studies.  And when you read this poem (and tomorrow, listen to these students' singing voices), you will feel that you are in the sea. 

Thank you so much for sharing your song with us today, students.  It's a treat!  Welcome to teacher Joy Keller and her fourth graders.

We began by brainstorming a list of topics that had to do with the ocean (the water, fish, ocean mammals, etc.), and then the kids grouped themselves based on which topic they wanted to write about. Each group wrote a stanza. We talked about syllables and emphasis, but most of them just felt when they got it right by repeatedly singing it! We finished with a discussion about the order in which to put the stanzas and--voila!--we had our poem.

I think the trickiest part was that everyone kept singing the tune of "You are My Sunshine" instead of today's secret tune so that we messed ourselves up. I asked my musician husband why this was happening, and he gave me the very technical answer of "They're kinda alike at the beginning." :)

The Ocean
by Mrs. Keller’s Fourth Graders

The ocean’s turquoise, with bubbles floating,
There’s emerald seaweed, with ruby coral.
With pearls in clams and some diamond seashells,
Barnacles cling to opal rocks.

From the sunlight zone down to the twilight zone down
To the midnight zone down to the abyss,
From the abyss down into the trenches,
Those are the levels of the sea.

There are the mammals that live in oceans,
They have to come up for a breath of fresh air.
The whales have blowholes that spurt out water
Dolphins and seals will splash and play.

Fish breathe through their gills, and swim in schools,
And they have scales, and they have fins.
Sharks have sharp teeth, and the sailfish swim fast.
Tripod fish even walk around.

Deep in the ocean, strange fish are glowing.
Most fish down there have bioluminescence.
Bioluminescence is like a bright light bulb—
That’s what helps fish to catch their prey.

Invertebrates live down in the ocean.
They don’t have backbones, but some have hard shells
Like jellyfish and lobsters and crabs and
Octopi squirting out black ink.

Don’t throw your garbage into the ocean
You’ll hurt the fish and you’ll cloud the water.
The dirty bottles and destructive poisons
Can really ruin our gorgeous seas.

Robyn is hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup over at Life on the Deckle Edge. Have fun feasting on the poems all day, all week long!

Please share a comment below if you wish.


  1. Such joy in the visiting students and their sea chanty & your red kite, Amy.
    I sang yours to "This Land is Your Land," & then found it fit the student's creative piece. Maybe I'm right!

    Much fun with this poemsongs - appreciations.


  2. Ooh, I love that "bright blue ballroom sky." And so much color and life in "The Ocean." I have long been fascinated by that bright lightbulb bioluminescence.Well done! xo

  3. Oh, those Ms. Keller's fourth graders are a talented bunch! Love that environmental message, too.

    These posts are such fun. I'm humming along, pretty sure I got it... ;0)

  4. I'm loving your "Sing That Poem" project! You come up with the most creative ideas! You are amazing! I learn so much from reading your blog, Amy! : )

  5. Thanks for posting our singing again. My students from 2nd through 6th are loving this project. They got involved in making their own poems too. None were quite as inspiring as visiting the ocean with Ms. Keller's class. I will share with my students and maybe they will try a collaborative one. Love the ideas I find here at the poem farm. Have a great weekend.

  6. "I give it once more to the windy morning." Such a celebration of joy! Today's offering at Poem Farm was filled with uplifting feelings of springtime happiness - red kite in the sky, songs, poetry, and students' creations. Wonderful!

  7. I thought I had it, then Jan mentioned 'This Land Is Your Land". I then realized "You Are My Sunshine" is nearly the same tune. I haven't kept a log of songs, so don't know what's gone before. Your kite ending line is lovely, Amy, that yearning while watching the kite! And the ocean chanty is so filled with ocean beauty. Thanks for all!

  8. I shared this post with our music teacher, who is looking for ways to incorporate poetry into his music composition lessons. Joy's fourth graders' collaborative poem is fabulous! What a great way to have all the parts come together as a unified whole!