Poetry Lesson: Animal/Shape Poems

Poetry Lessons, Free Printables & Student Poems

Hi Friends,
I’m thrilled to share the poetry lessons my 7th graders just completed. They rocked poetry. As a teacher, I loooove when teachers share ideas with downloadable worksheets, so that’s what you’ll get below! Most of all, I’m excited to publish my students’ model poems. Enjoy the Learning Experience & Leading Examples. 

Poetry is Music & Music is Poetry.

Learning Experience: Animal Poem/Shape Poem

Model Texts taken from Seal by William Jay Smith

Lesson Plan Step-by-Step:

  • Read the poem Seal by William Jay Smith aloud together as a class
  • Answer: What questions does this poem answer about the seal?
    • What is the seal’s habitat
    • Who is the seal’s predator? . . .
  • In groups or individually, the students label literary devices/figurative language including the rhyme scheme:
  • Highlight the action verbs (Fun to make it a contest to see who can find the most!)


    • Select an animal to feature in a poem.
    • Answer the same questions for your animal that you wrote above about the seal.
    • Use those answers as a brainstorm to begin the rough draft.
    • Requirements: 25-30 lines, 10 strong action verbs, 3 literary devices, shape or image in, on, or around the poem, add color, enjoy writing!

 Image from Blog


Leading Examples: Model Animal/Shape Poems by My Students

Click on the Poem to Enlarge! Enjoy these young poets’ work . . .

So many creative animal poems that it was hard to pick which ones to feature!

Creative 7th Graders

Don’t miss the upcoming posts: Emotion Poem, Haiku & Limericks!





Posted in animals, Lesson Plans, Middle School Reading, Middle School Writing, poetry, printables, shape poems | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Poetry Lessons: Hero Poems, “Heroes Around Me”

Poetry Lessons, Free Printables & Student Model Poems

Hi Friends,
I’m thrilled to share the poetry lessons my 7th graders just completed. They rocked poetry. As a teacher, I loooove when teachers share ideas with downloadable worksheets, so that’s what you’ll get below! Most of all, I’m excited to publish my students’ model poems. Enjoy the Learning Experience & Leading Examples. 

Poetry is Music & Music is Poetry.

Learning Experience: Hero Poem

Lesson Plan Step-by-Step

Model Texts taken from HEROES and SHE-ROES

  • Students brainstorm questions & answers about heroes and she-roes:
    • What do you think of when you hear the word hero?
    • What qualities make a hero?
    • Who is a hero to you, either someone you know personally or someone famous?
    • How can you be a hero?
  • Students read the collection of poetry in model text aloud in groups or with the class.
  • Discuss the figurative language/literary devices discovered in the poems:
  • Write your own Hero Poem! 
    • Select a hero, she-roe, or write about heroes in general
    • Rough draft, peer edit, revise, final draft, add image or draw an illustration
  • (Enter the final drafts of poems in our school’s  PTA Reflections Contest)

Copyright. Amazon Image

Purchase Model Text on Amazon

Leading Examples: Model Poems by My Students

Click on the Poem to Enlarge! Enjoy these young poets’ work . . .

Mason Horton, Beginner ESL student. Poem in English & Russian Couldn’t be prouder of him!

Reading our model text together:


Don’t miss the upcoming posts: Animal Poems, Emotion Poems, Haiku & Limericks!

Posted in Heroes, Lesson Plans, Middle School Reading, Middle School Writing, poetry, PTA, She-roes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

YA Favorites of My Middle Schoolers:

Best Book List for 7th & 8th Graders:

First week of school is in the books, so to speak. After hearing 100 summer reading presentations of book summaries accompanied with creative projects, these are the YA (Young Adult) book titles that the students loved most. I’m excited to use this list to build my classroom library!

Here’s the book list of my students’ favorites:

Books in a Series:
  • The Maze Runner Series- 5 books by James Dashner
  • A Wrinkle in Time Quintet by Madeleine L’Engle
  • Divergent Trilogy- 3 books plus related book titled “Four” by Veronica Roth
  • The Giver, Gathering Blue, The Messenger, The Son- 4 books by Lois Lowry
  • The Chronicles of Narnia Series- 7 books by C.S. Lewis
  • Percy Jackson Series- 7 books by Rick Riordan
  • Heroes of Olympus- 5 books by Rick Riordan
  • Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
  • Anne of Green Gables Series- 8 books by L.M. Montgomery
  • Series of Unfortunate Events 13 books by Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler)
  • Matched Trilogy by Ally Condie
  • Brian’s Saga Series by Gary Paulsen

Single Titles: 

  • Fault in our Stars by John Green
  • The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart
  • Papertowns by John Green
  • Peeling the Onion by Wendy Orr
  • Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
  • Loser by Jerry Spinelli
  • Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli
  • Beastly by Alex Flinn
  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
  • Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne
  • Time Traveller by H.G. Wells
  • Hot Hand by Mike Lupica
  • I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
  • Kisses from Katie by Katie J. Davis
  • As Brave As You by Jason Reynolds
  • Middle School, The Worst Years of My Life by James Patterson
  • War Horse by Michael Morpurgo
  • Beastly by Alex Flinn

Thank you PTA for Donating Books for Our Class Library!

Best Ever PTA!

Students’ Summer Reading Projects:

Book Jackets, News Reports, Scene Models, Mobiles, Games, Quilts, Shadow Boxes,
I-movies, Posters . . . and many amazing presentations getting us excited to read more!!!

Posted in book summaries, Lesson Plans, library, Middle School Reading, Middle School Writing, Young Adult Literature | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Back to School Book for Your Child

Hi Parents, Grandparents, Aunts & Uncles . . . Anyone that has a special child in your life,

My kiddos are now entering 7th, 5th and 1st grade next week!!! Exclamation points needed as if you are like me, you don’t know how your child could possibly be in “that grade” and how you could still be so young (wink, wink).

So, I only have one kiddo that is reading picture books with me regularly, BUT all three of my kids ran over to the bed when I started reading our annual back-to-school book. I highly recommend marking your children’s school year with a special kids’ book. Write a quick note in it to them for a keepsake and enjoy your selections each fall as they go into the next grade. Those memories will be etched into their minds and it’s a quick and easy gift.

Back-to-School Gift:

Here’s the post from the past for you:  https://wordpress.com/post/kidsbookfriends.com/1351

Have a wonderful first day of school!

Your Friend,

Angela Henderson

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Lesson Plans Ready for You

Hello Fellow Teachers & Parents,

Happy Back to School Time! Feeling the “bitter-sweet” of returning to school? Today is my first day back as a teacher, and my mind is in lesson-planning-gear. As an English teacher, I love reading, but not all of my kids do. We know that making literature relevant and interactive is key for children to find their “friends” in books, but it’s not always easy to come up with ways to do this for each book we read with our kids. So, over the past several years, I’ve taken over 80 of my favorite children’s books and created quick interactive lessons for you to use in school or at home. I hope that you find them helpful this school year and will share them with your friends!


Your Friend,

Angela Henderson
#back to school #children’s book titles #lesson plans

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Posted in back to school, Children's Book Authors, Children's Book Titles, Eric Carle, Lesson Plans, relevant questions for kids, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Introducing My Illustrator

Dear Kidsbook Friends Family,

Many of you have been with me since my first days of blogging, so you know that publishing my first book, Isaac’s Ice Cream Tree, is a dream come true. Today, I’m sitting here with my binders of materials for blog ideas, author connections, writing conferences, manuscript scribbles and more from over the past five years. Now, I’m thrilled to embark on a journey with WhiteFire Press to publish my manuscript.

The first step after signing the contract was to select an artist from their illustrators. Although Christian, six at the time of the photo, will always be my first and beloved illustrator, I’m thrilled to introduce you to Rachel Koppendrayer. An artist, among many other talents, Rachel lives in Minnesota and actively displays and sells her art in and around her community. You will enjoy her website: koppencolorpencils.blogspot.com

I’m looking forward to having her as guest blogger in the weeks ahead! She’s already been a delight to work with and see her depiction of what Isaac will look like in our book. She represents a young boy with freckles across his nose wearing a winter coat and old fashion cotton hat looking up at the magical tree covered in snow . . . and balls of ice cream. Can’t wait to see the entire story unfold through her artwork. Our publisher hopes to have the book available for purchase in a year (which is tremendous as normally it takes 18 months – 2 years from contract to publication)!

Thank you for joining us on this journey!

Warm Regards,

Angela Henderson


 Artist Rachel Koppendrayer “Fantasy”


Posted in Children's Book Authors, Fantasy, Isaac's Ice Cream Tree, Rachel Koppendrayer, Illustrator, Rainbows, snow, spring, WhiteFire Publishing Company, winter | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Isaac’s Ice Cream Tree Becomes a Reality!

My theme this year for my 7th & 8th grade ELA classes is “RISK verses REWARD”. I’ve been pushing them to “go for the gold”, a fitting saying for this Olympic year. Is the risk worth the potential reward? So often, the answer is yes.  A resounding YES! Setting challenging, yet attainable goals keeps us dreaming, striving, and reaching new potentials.

While pushing them, I have been practicing what I teach. My six-year-goal has been to publish a children’s book. My son Christian unintentionally inspired us with an idea one afternoon when he was six years old by simply drawing ice cream cones with yummy, colorful scoops on top. I jokingly said, “Wouldn’t it be so cool if instead of money growing on trees, ice cream could.” Our minds started dreaming…and didn’t stop. It  was a week before our church’s talent show, and we took that idea and dove in full force to produce a story to perform. After  hours of writing, drawing and painting, we were ready to present “Isaac’s Ice Cream Tree” for the first time.


The kids enjoyed it, so we branched out and shared it during story hour at our local library too. That got me hooked on writing and was actually the beginning inspiration for this blog.

In August, I sent one of my first manuscripts to a publisher and have been waiting for a rejection letter to hang in my classroom as an example of a risk worth taking because failure is a step in the journey.  BUT, Rather than receiving a rejection letter, I opened my e-mail to a congrats!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And now I’m excited to share that soon we’ll have our very own book to share with YOU as a publisher has accepted “Isaac’s Ice Cream Tree” for publication. I had to read the response several times to make sure…and didn’t rejoice too much until after talking with my publisher. NOW, we are excited as it is a reality! The publisher’s goal is to have it in e-book and print form within a year’s time!

Sharing this moment with Christian, now a 6th grader, and my students whom I have pushed too, means a great deal to me…The REWARDS have been worth the RISK.

“Somewhere over the rainbow skies are blue…

… And the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true.”



Posted in Colors, Rainbows, science, snow, winter | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment