This week’s Tuesday Teaching Tip comes to us from CKA Board Member and first grade teacher, Deborah Meng.  She shares with us this wonderful part of her reading instruction:

The students memorize a poem and then, receive a copy of the poem to keep in their decorated envelope. They carry the poem around in their pocket and recite it for 10 adults who sign the back. I encourage them to ask teachers/adults at school and allow them to take it home too. When they get 10 signatures, they are given a sticker and a trip to the prize box.

poem in my pocket poem and pocket envelope
poem in your pocket front

Make a copy of the poem (on standard size copy paper) for students to practice in the classroom and at home. I have the poem displayed in a pocket chart and give each student a personal copy to put in their reading folder at their desk. We start the day by reciting our poem and recite it in line just before we go out the door to go home. I assign the poem as part of the weekly homework, so they have a copy at home, too. When a student is able to recite the poem by heart, she/he is given a copy of the poem (printed on a small piece of card stock) to put in their pocket envelope.

poem in your pocket back

On the back of the poem is 10 places for an adult to put their initials after they listen to the student recite the poem. The kids love it!! It has been especially successful with my English Language Learners.
A “Friendship” poem and a Chinese New Year Poem is included here. It’s one of the students favorites! 


by Risa Jordan

A friend is a person who wishes you well

And keeps all the secrets that you like to tell.

Friends share their toys and their storybooks too.

Friends can be older or younger than you.

Friends can be real or made up in your mind

But they’re always thoughtful and always kind.

Friends can live nearby or very, very far

But your friends are your friends wherever you are!


This was a favorite around Chinese New Year:

Happy Chinese New Year

by Helen H. Moore

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

In China, every girl and boy,

Celebrates the New Year,

In a very special way.

With fireworks and dragons,

Colored red and gold.

They welcome in the New Year,

And chase away the old.


Have a favorite poem you like to use in your classroom?  We’d love to hear about it!