Thursday, March 13, 2014

Discover Science & Poetry with THIRD GRADE PFA FOR SCIENCE!

Each day this week I will be sharing about the new PFA FOR SCIENCE, brought to you by Sylvia Vardell & Janet Wong, with a host of fine poets contributing!

Here's the schedule:

Each day I will be giving away a copy of the Student Edition for that grade level... and at the end of the week, I will choose one winner from all the commenters via blog/Facebook/Twitter for the K-5 TEACHER edition!

So, THIRD GRADE. Again, the line drawings that accompany the poems in the Student Edition are wonderful and engaging! There's also a Glossary and Index, both of which I find particularly helpful. And I especially appreciate the inclusion of English and Spanish translations of some of the poems. Nice!

Today I've chosen a poem on a subject that's difficult for many of us to talk about:

by Mary Lee Hahn

Cancer's what
is cells growing wild.

Cancer's who
is man, woman, or child.

Cancer's why
is scientists aren't sure.

Cancer's hope
is someday a cure.

Cancer's enemies
are surgery and drugs.

Cancer's helpers
are flowers and hugs.

I don't know anyone whose life has not been touched somehow by cancer. My father is a five-year cancer survivor and also the administrator at Bismarck Cancer Center in Bismarck, North Dakota. "Hope" is a word that comes up often, and it pleases me to find it in this poem!

In the TEACHER'S EDITION for this poem (p. 183), Sylvia Vardell has created TAKE FIVE! activities that include: 

Introducing the idea that some poems are serious
Inviting students to chime in on those italicized words
Discussion about cancer prevention
Talk about the role of scientists in finding a cure
A reference to other poems about illness/cancer

Good stuff. And yes, I have a Bonus (riddle) Poem in this one... "Disaster Riddle Under Pressure"

GIVEAWAY: Comment here or on Twitter @irene_latham or on my Facebook page! Winners announced daily.


  1. So glad I saw your tweet this morning, Irene! I love what you're doing here this week-- allowing us a peek each day at another poem in this wonderful book. Mary Lee did an excellent job here with difficult subject matter. (Love your choices for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday as well!)

    1. Michelle, I'm glad you saw this tweet this morning too... you're our daily winner! Please send me your mailing address to irene at irenelatham dot com. xo

  2. This is just a wonderful poem by Mary Lee. (Not surprisingly!) My mother is undergoing some radiation right now at age 88 for a tiny lung tumor. She is very lucky that they think it will work and that she really has no side effects. She marvels at how medicine has changed in her lifetime. She lost at least 2 young siblings to childhood diseases! One was Mumps, I think. Thank goodness for science, scientists and hugs!

    1. Good Health and Sunshine to your mother!! Yes, thank goodness for science scientiest & hugs. xo

  3. Awww, lovely poem by Mary Lee. Hits home as my mom's cancer is back. So glad Sylvia, Janet, and Mary Lee were brave and put this poem on a hard topic in the anthology!

    1. You are so right, Laura - brave poem and publishing choice. Love it!

  4. It isn't often that one can find a poem that fits something few want to discuss. How wonderful that Mary Lee wrote, and Sylvia and Janet wanted to include it. It is something that may help broach a topic that's difficult to bring up with children, and needed. Thanks for sharing that one, Irene.

    1. Linda, I think this poem will make it easier to talk about with kids, don't you? Thanks for stopping by!


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