Sunday, April 17, 2016

Video Sunday: Naomi Shihab Nye and celebrating Arab American Month with my students (ages 8-12)

At Emerson this month, we are celebrating Arab American Heritage Month, to honor our Arab American students. We also want to provide a positive message to combat the persistent anti-Arab, anti-Muslim rhetoric we hear daily via our national media. I am so happy to be able to highlight the poet Naomi Shihab Nye.
Naomi Shihab Nye
Naomi Shihab Nye, the daughter of a Palestinian father and an American mother, has lived in Ramallah in Jordan, the Old City in Jerusalem, and San Antonio, Texas. She writes for both children and adults. I first came to know her work through the book she edited: This Same Sky: A Collection of Poems from Around the World.

Each week this month, I will be sharing one of her poems with our 4th & 5th graders as we celebrate Arab American Heritage Month. We are starting by watching this video, with Naomi Shihab Nye reading aloud her poem "One Boy Told Me" from the PBS series Poetry Everywhere.

This was a perfect introduction for my students, because it combined humor, poetic language and relatable experiences. I love the way they connect to a little kid's perspective. Here are just a few of their favorite lines:
"Oatmeal cookies make my throat gallop."

"Grown-ups keep their feet on the ground
when they swing. I hate that."

"My tongue is the car wash
for the spoon."

"My toes are dictionaries.
Do you need any words?"

see the full text of "One Boy Told Me" at the Poetry Foundation
In her writing, Naomi Shihab Nye has been inspired by her experiences as an Arab-American, as well as by life's little details. This is part of what I want to impart to students -- that poetry combines memories, small details and bigger ideas.

I will be sharing three poetry books and one picture book by Naomi Shihab Nye this month with my 4th & 5th graders:
I have collected my video resources for poetry month on my YouTube Poetry Playlist. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2016 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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