“To the Banana” and “Louie Louie”

    Happy Poem in Your Pocket Day! Every student and adult at North (and East) Oakview had a poem in their pocket, shoe, sock, headband, hand, or head today. Fourth grade students were in the media center preparing for a “Skype” poetry reading with a 4th grade class in Illinois. Student use of technology continues to grow in Northview.

    The two 4th grade classes read three poems together – Fire Flies; Homework Blues; Backboard Rap. Laughter and applause spread across the connection between two states and 60 children and their teachers.

    A class of kindergarten students discussed how they would say goodbye to a fellow classmate had moved to a new school. The class was preparing to write him letters and pictures. They quickly moved on to reading the poems in their pockets. Their teacher reminded them that the more they read the poems the more they learned about new words.

    “To the Banana”
    by Laura Purdie Salas

    Thick skin forms
    a rain-proof seal
    You’re a fruit
    with great appeal
    I pack a lot
    of things for lunch
    But you’re my favorite
    of the bunch!

    YES! You heard that correct. Kindergarten students reading poems to each other. All day long, all students reading poems to each other and adults. Adults reading poems to kids and to each other. Yes, I have a poem in my pocket. It also was written in chalk near the drop-off area.

    I picked up a few coaching tips from Travis today. He shared that he is in “coach pitch” baseball and that the job of the coach is to make sure each kid has something to hit. He also shared that he is not a coach on the team but his dad is kind of like a coach and his name is also Travis. He assured me that the kids on the team don’t get him and his dad confused because his dad is a lot taller and throws better than a kid.

    Travis also reminded me that I better have a poem in my pocket today because people will be asking me that question all day.

    Meanwhile Back at East Oakview……..

    Every student and every adult had poems at the ready. I was asked to share mine within the first 5 minutes in the school. My favorite poem of the day – at either school – was one written by Shel Silverstein in the book “Where the Sidewalk Ends.” The poem is titled “Hot Dog for A Pet.”

    Students in Lou Sinigos’ music class were hard at work with the bell chimes. They were chiming out the tune Louie Louie, one of my all time favorite songs. Lou told me that the three chord song Louie Louie breaks all the rules of music theory by using a minor chord rather than a major chord. Our elementary students know the difference and their Superintendent just learned about the major and minor chords today.

    “Louie Louie”
    originally by Richard Berry

    Louie, Louie, oh no, I said we gotta go
    Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah I said
    Louie, Louie, oh baby, I said we gotta go

    A fine little girl, she waits for me
    Me catch a ship across the sea
    Me sail that ship all alone
    Me never think how I’ll make it home

    Louie, Louie, no, no, no, no, no, I said we gotta go
    Oh no, I said
    Louie, Louie, oh baby, I said we gotta go

    However, I do have a cassette tape somewhere in my file cabinets that has 15 different bands playing this time honored song written by Richard Berry back in 1957. Here are the first few verses of the “poem in my pocket” and my head thanks to Lou and his students.

    Just for the record, the 2nd grade teachers were deep into professional development regarding the delivery of the math curriculum. Our teachers constantly learn new methods that improve the teaching and learning process.


    Sincerely and With Great Respect,

    Mike Paskewicz, Superintendent
    Northview Public Schools


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