Plant a watermelon vine upon my grave
And let the juice, slurp slurp, seep through.
Growing up, my family maintained a huge garden in our backyard and watermelons were one of our best and favorite crops. My mom would sing this old song to us whenever we had a watermelon feast. I’m not certain we understood the meaning of the words (!), but we sang it, loud and proud, to express our love for watermelon.
When I was searching for new ideas to share with third graders this year during National Poetry Month and stumbled upon a lesson plan called the Poetry Pizzazz (gotta love Teachers Pay Teachers!), and for a very reasonable price I received six different lessons and activities to celebrate poetry writing with my students. One of the six, Watermelon Rhymes, seemed just right for our third graders because it provided a writing activity that would allow students at every level to succeed. That’s when that old watermelon song jingled my memories of watermelon summers.
We began a month long process, with one library lesson per week, of reading poems, brainstorming lists of rhyming words, using our rhyming words to write poems, and then creating watermelon slices of our own to illustrate our poems. To celebrate our poetry writing journey, we projected student poems on the whiteboard and had each third grade poet read aloud their poems to the class. This crop of watermelon poems was silly, fun, and full of creative juices that seeped into each of our students for poetry fun!