Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Okra Dokey

Today my students and I read the poem Knoxville, Tennessee by Nikki Giovanni. It's a good beginning of the year common text because it has so much sensory detail in it. It is also written in a child's voice, and the entire poem is a single sentence. I always like to challenge any student who is willing to try to read it all in one breath. Sixth graders love that kind of thing. They also enjoy talking about the images that resonate with them, and so today we talked a lot about barbecue, homemade ice cream, and okra, which I've discovered is a bit of a litmus vegetable. Kids from all over the world are familiar with it, but many of their peers, also from all over the world, are not.

Here's the poem:

Knoxville, Tennessee

I always like summer
you can eat fresh corn
from daddy's garden
and okra
and greens
and cabbage
and lots of
and buttermilk and homemade ice-cream
at the church picnic
and listen to
gospel music
at the church
and go to the mountains with
your grandmother
and go barefooted
and be warm
all the time
not only when you go to bed
and sleep.

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