Introduction (5 minutes)
Once the class is seated in a circle, go around and share names. Each student should also share a favorite animal, accompanied by a motion or sound, which the entire group copies.
Poetry Reading (15 minutes)
Introduce the concept of the chant poem. Chant poems have words that repeat. Some words change, other words appear again and again. When you read a chant poem, it has rhythm or a beat, as if you could dance to it! As if it were a song.
Read “Wind, Water, Stone” by Octavio Paz and ask them to pick out the word that repeat. Read it a second time and invite them to use an action for some of those repeating words. The group can think of actions they’d like to use for “wind”, “water”, and “stone.”
Teachers might take time here to also talk about the importance of water, how it interacts with weather and the landscape, forming rivers and shaping rock. In a garden, all the plants rely upon water. Humans need water to live. So do plants and other animals. Water is a powerful force of nature, it can change the shape of rock, it can give life!
Garden Activity (10 minutes)
If you’re in a garden, demonstrate how the students can fill up a watering can and gently water a section of plants. If you’re not in a garden, they can water indoor, potted plants. With some preparation, you can also have them plant seeds earlier in the year and water throughout the year, linking this lesson and poem to science lessons.
Collaborative Poem (15 minutes)
Return to the circle and write a group chant poem. Begin each line (at least at first, some variation can be introduced later) with “Water is…”
Variations might include:
- Water flows to…..
- Water comes from…
- Water says….
- Water feels like….
- Water looks like….
- Water smells like….
- Water sounds like….
- Water dreams about…
- Water wishes for…
- Water hopes for…
- Water is hungry for…
- Water runs to…
- Water laughs about…
- Water cries about…
- Water is in love with…
- Water is angry about…
- Water celebrates…
- Water is friends with…
By the time you get here, they might be on a roll and able to add some of their own starts to sentences.
At the end, they can read a section of their poem out loud with you, call and response—teacher reads, students repeat. Pick a section with especially noticeable rhythm and pulse so that they can feel the chant effect as they say the words aloud.
Sample poem from a kindergarten class:
Water flows to rivers like a snake creature in water
Water comes from the ocean, from rain
Rain falls on the flowers
Water says, “Hola, flowers need to grow.”
Water falls into the cistern
Rain comes from clouds, and falls on trees and flowers, every plant in the garden.
Water feels like a shower
Hot water, cool water, warm water, good drinking water
Water looks like a shark
Water smells like lemonade on a hot day, I wish
Water dreams about squid
Water dreams of talking
Water dreams about being dry
Water dreams about velociraptor
Water eats bug and small things
Agua come abejas
Water is friends with sea creatures, water plants, and us
Water celebrates birthday parties for fish and squid