RHYMES FOR THE TIMES

Hi everyone,
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My book with Tim Rasinski— Rhymes for the Times: Literacy Strategies through Social Studies — is off to a turtle-esque start and I need to pay more attention to marketing. I worked hard on the book and it turned out well, he mentioned modestly. The project began as three books, one each for 4th, 5th, and 6th grades and I agreed to write twenty poems for each book around a core social studies subject. For 4th, the states; for 5th, American history; and for 6th, ancient civilization.

At some point an editorial decision was made to combine all the material into one book. What I like about the format is that so many classroom activities are designed to put my poems to use. A partial list includes reader’s theater, word ladders, rhyming riddles, Greek and Latin roots, connections through writing, and poetic form. The book is full of such strategies that teachers can put to immediate use with their students. I don’t know if I’ve ever posted a poem from the book. This one is from ancient civilizations.

Rome
Imperial Rome
2,100 years ago

Caesar himself,
so it was said,
hated the ruckus —

chariots rattling stony streets,
dogs yapping, screaming boys,
vendors shouting, crowded shops,
roaring hubbub, thrumming noise —

“Enough!”
Caesar might have said —

pounding hoof beats, beggars’ cries,
bleating animals, shrieks, squeals,
cracking whips, roaring crowds,
warlike groaning iron wheels —

“I cannot think!”

All was jangle, throb, and clamor,
Clatter, chatter, clang, and clop.
Caesar must have held his head
and longed to make the noises stop.

The biggest city on the earth,
a million people called it home.
“It’s noisy here,” said Caesar.
It was Rome!

I hope to see more schools discover this resource in the coming months. Until they do, I’ll try to spread the word!

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4 comments on “RHYMES FOR THE TIMES

    • Greetings, Larry! Thank you. Pat Lewis has a knack for bringing history to life. So does Cheryl Harness. And YOU’RE not exactly a slouch in that department!

  1. what a great book – by golly, I might even BUY one! and boy oh boy, if you did a Scratch & Sniff book on Ancient Rome, it’d knock a kid clean over!

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