Sunday, April 11, 2010

Poetry and the SMART Board--Part 2

We had a great time with Poetry and the SMART Board with 1st Graders today. One of my favorite books for young children (and everyone else) is TANKA TANKA SKUNK! by Steve Webb. This book is great fun--it invites word play and chanting. The kids love to chant and clap along to the rhythm of the words. Since I only have a short time with the kids, the things we do are quick. We read TANKA TANKA SKUNK! which they already love. Then we used the SMART Board and sorted the students names into 1, 2 and 3 syllable columns. Each name immediately became an object that we could move around the board.

Because there are so many repeated words in TANKA TANKA SKUNK!, I taught the kids to duplicate and we wrote our own versions of a piece of the chant. A new chant that followed the rhythm of their favorite page. We used students' names--plugging them in where they would work to meet the rhythm. The kids had a ball and it was interesting to see kids enter at different places. For some kids, syllabication is just starting to make sense. For others, they loved the challenge of figuring out all of the possibilities for filling in a spot in the chant.

Again, I left the board filled with names available during choice time in the library. Kids had a great time using the names to create their own rhythms using TANKA TANKA SKUNK! as a model.

Now it is time to find other ways to increase the power of these shared reading experiences with the SMART Board. As these words and illustrations become movable objects, kids can do such amazing works using the SMARTBoard as a tool. Again, the power really came when the kids were using the board without me. After I model a few options for them to begin, I can see them using it in lots of ways during choice time in the library.


  1. Too cool! I have a SMARTboard in the lab and will try this with my kinders & 1st grade. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. Your book recommendations always carry great weight, so I dashed off to Titlewave to add Tanka Tanks Skunk to my wish list and it's out of print! So I hit Amazon and there are very few (and very expensive) used editions. One is going for $207! Take care of your copy!

  3. Yes--TANKA TANKA SKUNK seems to go in and out of print--hopefully, it will be back in soon. I was trying to think of another book that does something similar and there isn't anything I know that is quite as good at TANKA TANKA SKUNK.

  4. I love this idea for using the SMARTboard. I feel lucky to have this resource in the library, and I'm always looking for new ways to use it. I'll be on the lookout for Tanka Tanka Skunk. Thanks!

  5. The title is unusual - but I do know that little kids LOVE strong rhythms - I'm sure my kids would enjoy your sing song storytelling with this book!

  6. Picked this up from the public library since reading your post and I see why you like it! Found reasonably priced used copies on


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