Tenants and Travelers From Pond to Pasture

Tenants and Travelers: From Pond to Pasture—Incorporating poetry, especially my own, was a practice I began early in my teaching career. Fun for me, fun for my students, and a sneaky good way to double down on subjects and concepts.

Tenants and Travelers approaches living things from two biomes: the pond and the pasture. I felt the feature character presented in each poem through the prism of their own biome would be more meaningful, memorable, and relatable. The animals and plants involved are familiar to most of us, through actual observation or at least media exposure. I hope I have conveyed a friendly, warm mood and attitude toward each animal, a sense of humor and wonder. Enjoying a poem and acquiring information at the same time was one of my goals. Tell me if I succeeded.

The wink of humor and kinship with our partners in nature is shown by certain references such as “my friend,” “that froggy friend of mine,” “listen my brothers,” and “bro.” Various expressions are also present to lend timeless value to the verse. Children can relate to “hang out,” “great vibrations,” “there's no place like home.” The companion pieces for each poem are fun to read! These contain more information in depth than the length of the poem would allow, but will be helpful for the parent or teacher to reference. You can find out if a bear goes to the bathroom while hibernating. How can a rabbit possibly change its coat? Can a turtle swim out of its shell? Can a spider run on top of pond water. What is in an owl pellet anyway? And so much more! I hope this look at some of the quirky neighbors we share our planet with will inspire curiosity and greater appreciation for all living things.

The second and most important goal of this project was to provide enjoyable reading experiences for parents and children, teachers and students, or individuals who enjoy poetry. Children may ask a parent questions about the animal featured in the poem, and sweet conversational moments may happen. Students may be curious or want to share their ideas or opinions, and a great class discussion may follow. I hope discourse and interest is derived from this reading experience. Those special moments talking and interacting together may become lasting, loving, memories.

by Cathy Fleming

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