Wednesday, April 27, 2016

As Easy as 1-2-3

This time of year is very busy at school. There are all sorts of competing tests, activities, and assemblies that teachers have to plan around, and so it is that by necessity I have to introduce the writing challenge for May tomorrow, even though there are still three days left in the poetry challenge.

Ideally, the writing assignment for any given day allows students to practice and apply what they are learning in class, and so I was faced with a bit of a conundrum as I sat at my desk this afternoon finalizing the particulars of my lesson for tomorrow. What kind of poem would go with alphabiography planning?

And then? Inspiration struck! In one of those where did that idea even come from? moments it occurred to me that there was at least one poem I could recall that was in alphabetical order-- The Gashlycrumb Tinies by Edward Gorey is a macabre recitation of how 26 children meet their untimely ends. My students will love it!

And so I googled the poem, which is actually a book illustrated with Gorey's signature pen and ink drawings, to find the text. One description of the work called it an "abecedarian" (pronounced ay-bee-ce-day-ree-an), and it was there I paused. A what?

Exactly! And voila! The Abecedarian Poetry challenge is born!

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