The Proper Way to Meet a Hedgehog and Other How-To Poems by Paul B. Janeczko is a great way to share step by step processes with kids through poetry. There are many out of the box poem ideas that focus on key words and phrases. In some poems, there are plays on the way text is used, in others, a key element of an object is focused in on. There is a poem that uses clever text layout to identify elements of a camel’s physical features. In another, there is a focus on an environment from the viewpoint of a mole.
What is really special about this book is how it takes very diverse topics and simplifies them through choice words and illustrations. The poems are free form and offer light hearted, funny and informative depictions of topics.
Response to Literature
AASL Standards Framework for Learners: Explore/Share V.C.1 Learners engage with the learning community by expressing curiosity about a topic of personal interest or curricular relevance.
There are some really exciting ways that this text can be used to develop learner’s inquiry skills as well as writing abilities. A few ideas include:
In reading the poems, learners will notice that big ideas are conveyed through a few choice words. Learners can dissect the poems to develop questions about why those other chose certain key words to explain a complex system, process or creature
Have learners identify a topic of interest and generate interesting, key words to begin developing into a How-to poem of their own. Differentiation can be enhanced through the use of pictures for those that are not yet reading and writing independently. Learners can use these to create a “How to” picture collage to express their understandings about a topic.
Many classrooms across primary grade levels write a version of “How To” poems or books. Use this book as a connection for collaboration with classroom teachers!