Friday, August 31, 2007

Poetry Friday: First Day of School

Viorst, Judith. 1995. Sad underwear and other complications. Illustrated by Richard Hull. New York: Atheneum Books For Young Readers. ISBN: 0-689-31929-0.

The First Day of School

Will they let me go when I need to go to the bathroom?
And what if I get lost lost on my way back to class?
And what if all of the other kids are a hundred, a thousand, a million times smarter than I am?
And what if we have a spelling test, or a reading test, or an…anything test, and I'm the only person who doesn't pass?
And what if my teacher decides that she doesn't like me?
And what if all of a sudden a tooth gets loose?
And what if I can't find my lunch, or I step on my lunch, or I (oops) drop my lunch down someplace like the toilet?
Will they just let me starve or will somebody lend me a sandwich? A cookie? A cracker? An apple?, Some juice?
And what if they say, "Do this," and I don't understand them?
And what if there's teams, and nobody picks me to play?
And what if I took off my sneakers, and also my socks, and also my jeans, and my sweatshirt and T-shirt,
And started the first day of school on the second day?


This poem lends itself well to extension activities. One book that comes to mind is Kevin Henkes' Wemberley Worried (2000). Wemberley is a very worried mouse. She like the child in the poem is very nervous about the first day of school. Another activity would be to have children write their own "what if" poem. (See also Shel Silverstein's "What If" (p. 90) in A Light In The Attic.)

Henkes, Kevin. 2000. Wemberley worried New York: Greenwillow. ISBN: 0688170277.
Silverstein, Shel. 1981. A light in the attic. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN: 006025673-7.

Poetry Friday roundup is at Mentor Texts

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