April 14, 2023
Baker special area teachers create Poetry Walk
April is National Poetry Month. To celebrate, Baker Elementary students have the opportunity to experience a Poetry Walk featuring nine poems from the book, “Cricket in the Thicket: Poems About Bugs,” by Carol Murray and illustrated by Melissa Sweet.
Spearheaded by Librarian Linda Connor, the Poetry Walk is a collaborative project involving all of the special area teachers – including art, music, physical education, enrichment, world language, library and the school counselor – at Baker Elementary.
“I have seen book walks, and I thought that it would be fun to use the format to celebrate poetry during National Poetry Month,” Mrs. Connor said. “Also, I wanted to collaborate with the other specials teachers to tie in activities from every discipline! The weather is beautiful, flowers are beginning to bloom, it's Earth Day in April as well! All of these combined made a Poetry Walk feel like a great idea!”
Sarah Shoemaker, music teacher, was delighted to be a part of the collaborative project.
“It was a wonderful way to incorporate multiple special area subjects into a more connected and interdisciplinary learning activity,” Mrs. Shoemaker said. “We have an amazing specials team at Baker that often seeks to give students a rich learning experience through connecting the arts and multiple subject areas.”
The walk includes 10 numbered yard signs that were created by Heather Herbay, Baker Elementary art teacher. The signs were designed in a collage style to mirror illustrations within the book.
“Every poster is an artistic masterpiece,” Mrs. Connor said.
Nine of the signs feature a poem along with a corresponding activity that enhances the experience.
“The first graders I took on the walk really enjoyed the fun poetry, and they loved doing the activities,” Mrs. Connor said. “We did jumping jacks, spins, and leaps to one poem. Another poem inspired us to use a natural object to measure, so we found a stick and measured one of the students. We also figured out the code activity on the ladybug poem, and breathed like birds with the bumblebee poem!”
Other activities include a Spanish translation of the poem, creating nature art, doing research, finding the rhythm of a poem, and appreciating how illustrations add meaning.
Mrs. Herbay welcomed the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues on a project that encourages outdoor activities.
“I was so happy to be part of this collaborative project because it is a way to encourage students and families to go outside and reconnect with nature while engaging in multi-sensory activities that don't involve screens or video games,” Mrs. Herbay said.
The poems selected for the Poetry Walk feature familiar insects, and each page includes additional scientific facts about each bug.
“In addition to learning some fun facts about these insects, participants have the opportunity to experience both the poems and the insects by thinking, speaking, touching, moving, singing, and creating,” Mrs. Herbay said. “Ultimately, we hope the poetry walk will be a creative launching point for participants to further explore poetry while discovering the simple pleasures that can come from spending time outside in nature.”
Betsy Allen, gifted/enrichment teacher, is excited for students to extend the Poetry Walk beyond the school day and share the experience with others.
“I love that students will have the opportunity to enjoy the poetry walk with their peers at school and then come back to Baker to share the poems and activities with their families,” Mrs. Allen said.
The specials teachers also collaborated on a Poetry Walk Field Guide for second, third and fourth grade students that includes additional extension activities that can be done as part of the poetry walk or afterwards in the classroom.
Ultimately, the special area teachers hope that the Poetry Walk brings a sense of the joy of poetry to students and families.
“We hope that the activities help students and families see how poetry can be enjoyed in a variety of ways,” Mrs. Connor said. “We also hope the students and families are able to take time outside to enjoy nature!”
The Poetry Walk will be available through the school’s STAR Night event on Tuesday, May 11, 2023.
Baker Elementary special area teachers include Betsy Allen, gifted/enrichment; Linda Connor, library; Frank Cremonese, physical education; Heather Herbay, art; Valerie Ober, world language; Kristin Rose, school counselor; and Sarah Shoemaker, music.