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Happy Poetry Friday! I took the summer off from blogging and I’m glad to be back with you. This week’s host for the Poetry Friday link-up is Michelle Heidenrich Barnes at Today’s Little Ditty.  Michelle’s blogging about the International Day of Peace (September 21) and invites us all to share a poem on the them of peace.

Sam and Rudy agree! Fenway and Hattie is a great read aloud.

It’s been a few years since I blogged about Victoria J. Coe’s first middle grade novel, the hilarious Fenway and Hattie. (Read that post here.)

The charm and humor of the Fenway books (the third title in the series publishes in January) is their point of view. Narrator Fenway is a rambunctious Jack Russell Terrier who doesn’t understand that his back yard isn’t a dog park and that slippery floors are not inherently evil. What a great read-aloud for kids.

Now Fenway is going global. Fenway and Hattie is this year’s Global Read Aloud for early readers. Congratulations to Victoria! (What is Global Read Aloud? Learn more here.)

And how serendipitous for us that the latest Poetry Friday book from Janet Wong and Sylvia Vardell is the newly published Pet Crazy!

Victoria and I decided to go to the dogs — and cats. We put together a poetry writing extension for Fenway and Hattie using my poem from Pet Crazy as a model. Global Read Aloud participants can find more Fenway and Hattie resources at Victoria’s Padlet.

Welcome, Victoria!

Fenway and Hattie + Pet Crazy Mini Point of View Lesson

A creative writing extension for readers of Fenway and Hattie

Victoria and Kipper.

An invitation from Victoria J. Coe

Reading Fenway and Hattie gives students the chance to experience a dog’s point of view.  

Seeing the world from a new point of view is not only fun, but it also shows that our own perspective isn’t the only one out there.

Two people – or two species – can experience the exact same thing and interpret it very differently. That doesn’t mean that one is right and one is wrong. It just means your reality depends on your point of view.

Writing from a point of view different from our own is an even more powerful way of realizing there are at least two sides to every story.

Victoria and poet Laura Shovan (The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary) have collaborated on a creative writing extension for Fenway and Hattie!

In this mini-workshop, students will have their chance to think like a dog, or cat, or parrot as they write a short poem from an animal’s point of view. The mentor texts for this extension are Fenway and Hattie, by Victoria J. Coe, and the poem “Lost and Found,” by Laura Shovan, from Pet Crazy: A Poetry Friday Power Book.

After reading Fenway and Hattie, invite the whole class or small groups to do an analysis. Create a T-chart comparing how animals and humans view one of the following experiences:

Going to the vet

Moving to a new home

Learning to obey

Dinnertime!

Ready to write a poem describing an experience from a pet’s point of view? Our model poem is “Lost and Found,” by Laura Shovan (from Pet Crazy: A Poetry Friday Power Book). In this poem, a young cat goes exploring and can’t find its way back home.

Lost and Found
By Laura Shovan

I’m a curious cat.
My gray tail twitches.
I chase bird shadows
from lawn to lawn.
But when I sniff
and know I’ve lost
the scent of home,
I cry a sad song.
Meow! Meow!
Someone find me.
See my collar?
Call that number.
Take me home.

Some suggested “experiences” for young poets to write about include events from Fenway and Hattie:

  • Moving to a new home.
  • Meeting a new animal friend.
  • Being left out.
  • Describing a favorite human.
  • Something scary!
  • Learning to obey.
  • Asking for food.

After students share their writing, Victoria recommends these follow up questions:

    • What was surprising about thinking like an animal?
    • What did you learn about the pet’s point of view?
    • How would you describe the same event as a human kid?

Hints and helps from Victoria and Laura:

  • Kids can brainstorm their poems using a t-chart.
  • Prompt students to think about their five sense as their chosen animal. What would they hear, smell, and see from the pet’s-eye-view?
  • The goal is to write a poem, but it’s fine to draft in prose sentences.

Ordering information:

FENWAY AND HATTIE by Victoria J. Coe is available wherever books are sold, including: Your local independent bookstore, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon.

Victoria J. Coe is the author of Fenway and Hattie, the 2017 Global Read Aloud book for Early Readers, as well as two additional Fenway and Hattie novels. She teaches creative writing to adults in Cambridge, MA. Find her online @victoriajcoe (twitter/IG) and at: www.victoriajcoe.com.

 

PET CRAZY: A POETRY FRIDAY POWER BOOK, by Sylvia Vardell & Janet Wong, is available at Amazon and Pomelo Books.

Laura Shovan’s middle grade novel-in-verse, The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary, is a NCTE 2017 Notable Verse Novel and won CYBILS and Nerdy Book Club awards for poetry. She is a longtime poet-in-the-schools and the author and editor of three books of poetry for adults. Laura is a contributor to Pet Crazy: A Poetry Friday Power Book, by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong. Visit her at: www.laurashovan.com.

 

21 responses to “Pet’s-Eye View: Writing with GRA’s Fenway and Hattie + Pet Crazy”

  1. Such a fun lesson! I can imagine students will love it. Thanks for sharing, Laura. Congrats to Victoria on such an amazing honor, and to you, Laura, for your adorable poem in PET CRAZY.

  2. KatApel says:

    What a busy post. Learning is so much richer when it is all interconnected… and most especially when it includes POETRY!! 🙂

  3. Linda Baie says:

    My daughter and family just adopted a new cattle dog, their third, and one of the things we’re all discussing is what makes this new one tick. He is much younger than their dear earlier pet, and that’s different too. I imagine that children will love writing from their pet’s point of view, and if they don’t happen to have a pet, they can write from Fenway’s POV! Congrats on the book being the global read aloud, and thanks for sharing all that you’ve created together. Your poem is sweet, Laura. Though cats love to roam, they also love home.

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Thanks, Linda. There’s so much getting-to-know-you time with a new pet. You reminded me of a Naomi Shihab Nye poem called “The Lost Parrot,” which is also about pets.

    • I have a Border Aussie….what makes them tick? Oh, my….hard to tell. But, they are so darn loveable! I hope you get a poem or two out about the new pup.

  4. Tara says:

    My sixth graders love these books! Thanks for sharing the poetry activity, too, Laura – we will be trying it out in my classroom.

    • Laura Shovan says:

      I’m glad to hear that, Tara. I think the FENWAY AND HATTIE series does an excellent job of teaching dramatic irony. Book 3 has a lot of great slapstick humor, too. Let me know how the poems go.

  5. Great synergy here. I love imagining the world from other points of view. I spent a year imagining I was a swallow for a year.

  6. Such a fun lesson! I may have to try it out myself since I no longer have a classroom of my own. Hmmm…I know my dog and I view bath time quite differently. In her view, soap and water are the ultimate evil or humiliation. (and this from a dog who jumps in every body of water no matter how large or small–except the tub.) I just think she smells better afterwards!

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Oh my gosh, Kay. Yes! Bath time is a perfect topic for this exercise. My dogs hate the bath, but Sam (the Schnauzer) is always so happy afterwards, when he’s clean. He leaps for joy.

  7. Welcome “back,” Laura – and what a fun, useful post to share in the bounce into a new school year! Congrats to Victoria. Students will love these activities…. Prrrrr.

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Thanks, Robyn. It’s good to be back. The more I hear about Global Read Aloud, the more fascinating I find the concept and the sharing between classrooms.

  8. What a great post! This is one I’ll bookmark and pull out to use with teachers who teach students poetry. I have Fenway and Hattie in my library …. but haven’t read it yet. So, I need to do that …as read alouds are being called for a lot these days! Thank you!

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Thanks, Linda! Fenway and Hattie begs to be read aloud. I can imagine kids howling (pun intended) at Fenway’s antics and all the things he misunderstands.

  9. Yay yay yay: yay you’re back, yay for Victoria, and yay I have this book in my class library too! I haven’t read it myself but now I must. I never congratulated you for having your piece in Pet Crazy, either…what a cool concept Janet and Sylvia have going on!

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Hi, Heidi! Your students are going to love this one. There’s so much humor in young readers understanding a world that Fenway totally misunderstands!

  10. Writing from the p.o.v. of a dog or another animal is such a wonderful opportunity for kids to let there guard down and examine their feelings. Thanks for sharing Victoria Poe with us Laura, the book sounds intriguing, and timely too! Hope that “Curious Cat,” finds its home, before tearing at more heartstrings.

    • Laura Shovan says:

      That’s a great point about guardedness, Michelle. Sadly, the wonderful cat who inspired my poem — a ginger and white tabby named Nutmeg — never came home. We were broken hearted.

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Laura Shovan

Laura Shovan is the author of the award-winning middle grade novel, The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary. Her second book, Takedown, is a Junior Library Guild and PJ Our Way selection. Look for A Place at the Table, co-written with Saadia Faruqi, in 2020. Laura is a poet-in-the-schools Maryland.

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