Welcome to Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten! My class blog is the place I share information about some of the fun learning activities we are doing at school. I hope to provide parents with insight into what we are doing, and why, and to share ideas with other early childhood educators. Please don't use the photos or text of this blog without permission, but please do use any ideas you find useful. Thank you for stopping by!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Rats for Lunch

First, let me say, no animals or children were harmed in the making of this post.  No, we did not eat real rats.  Yes, I know, rats are gross.  Please read on, I promise it is worth while. :-)
Rats for Lunch: fun with the poetry of Jack Prelutsky

It all started 10 years ago, when my youngest was in first grade.  We were very lucky to have Mrs. D as his teacher.  She did a lot of fun things, one of which was to fill those short waits that inevitably happen, by reading poetry, especially Jack Prelutsky's.

One day my son came home reciting the refrain to his favorite poem, Rats for Lunch: 
     Rats for lunch, rats for lunch,
     Yum, delicious, munch, munch, munch.
     One by one or by the bunch,
     Rat, oh rat, oh rat for lunch!

Rats for Lunch: fun with the poetry of Jack Prelutsky

What kind of person talks with 6 year olds about eating rats?!  The kind that know how much children like the ridiculous and silly - like Jack Prelutsky, and Mrs. D.

 Rats for Lunch: fun with the poetry of Jack Prelutsky

I happened to have the book this poem came from, and tried it out on my preschoolers.  Yes indeed, the poem is a winner!

Rats for Lunch: fun with the poetry of Jack Prelutsky

Later that year I happened upon a large gummy rat at the grocery store, which, of  course, we bought for Mrs. D. to share with my son's class.  What's better than reading about "roasted rat in salty slime"?  Why, eating a candy rat while you read it, of course!

 Rats for Lunch: fun with the poetry of Jack Prelutsky

When I also found "bite size" gummy rats, a new tradition was born for my daycare kiddos.  Every now and then I would break out the gummy rats for desert, and we'd recite the poem and chew on a rat.  The book of poetry went out on my classroom bookshelf, and was a very popular choice. 

Rats for Lunch: fun with the poetry of Jack Prelutsky

"Rat for Lunch" was a gateway to more poetry, as the children realized the joy that could be hidden in the pages of poetry books.  We found many class favorites, and many of the kiddos memorized some just from hearing them read so often.

Rats for Lunch: fun with the poetry of Jack Prelutsky

Children forget a lot of details of their early years.  You probably only have scattered memories of being a child, small moments or snippets that have stayed with you.  You may be thinking that this rat activity was a weird mix of cute and disgusting, and nothing more.  Three to five year olds don't memorize poems, let alone remember them years later.  Do they?

Last fall, soon after my family found out that we would be relocating and that I would need to close down my school, I was thrilled to have a visit from two of "my" kiddos, now in eighth grade.  They toured the school with me, noticing changes, revisiting old favorites, remembering.  One of them asked about "that book with a big pizza on the cover".  I knew immediately that it was Jack Prelutsky's A Pizza The Size of the Sun, and as I got it out the two of them spontaneously broke into poem, reciting their own secret friendship code: one of those poems.

Do young children remember poems and books that we share with them?  Can their early experiences with us color their lives even after they move on to the next adventure?  M. and H. do, and I am forever grateful for having been blessed with that knowledge.


P.S.  If there is someone who influenced your life and left an indelible mark of joy, please take a moment to let them know.  There are few things as wonderful as hearing from an old student or old friend who wants to share their happy memories with you! 

1 comment:

  1. When I looked up rats on Pinterest I had no idea I would find anything at all. This will be great for my preschool! Thanks so much