Sunday, March 11, 2007

PTSW: The dinosaurs are not all dead...

Steam Shovel

The dinosaurs are not all dead.
I saw one raise its iron head
To watch me walking down the road
Beyond our house today.
Its jaws were dripping with a load
Of earth and grass that it had cropped.
It must have heard me where I stopped,
Snorted white steam my way,
And stretched its long neck out to see,
And chewed, and grinned quite amiably.

by Charles Malam

I found this little poem in the very first reading book I taught from in 1969 and I've used it ever since. Just an entertaining little extended metaphor. The name is dated, of course. Nowadays the steam shovels are all "dead" -- I have to explain what a steam shovel was. "Cropped" and "amiably" also need explanation to most elementary students. Challenge your students to personify an inanimate object in an extended metaphor. Other extended metaphor poems that I use include "Metaphor" by Eve Merriam and "Fog" by Carl Sandburg

The series of posts, A Poem to Start the Week, is my little anthology of poetry, most of which I have used with my students in elementary schools during 27 years of teaching.

Previous Poems to Start the Week:
Owl Pellets
Mummy Slept Late
Just My Size
The Kindest Things I Know
Miles to Go
Love that Brother
Oh, Frabjous Day!

Other Posts about Children's Literature:

The Lion's Paw top kid's OOP book!
Aslan is Dead!
Multiplying People, Rice, and Readers
A Teacher's Life

You can read some of my own efforts at poetry here.

A weblog dedicated to Poetry for Children.
Watch Sonja Cole's reviews of children's books at

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