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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Pearly Whites and a Picket Fence

I posted this Thursday, but am using it for Poetry Friday, hosted by my good friend, though I have never met her in person, nor ever heard her voice, except the "voice" of her writing, but friend, nonetheless, Linda Baie at Teacher Dance.  Go there, click on links, read more poems and meet more lovers of poetry!

I do not know where these came from or why.  Well, I do know from where...from my head. I just picked a word and started brainstorming with it.  The "why" I don't know, though.  Probably because being a first grade teacher for so long, I got to see so many bloodied mouths, fingers and teeth.
Really, first grade is quite a bodily fluids kind of year, what with teeth falling out, bathroom timing accidents, vomit, coughs and sneezes (oh, and sucking on fingers, thumbs and shoelaces)... First grade teachers, if they make it through their first two years, live forever, having built up super-duper antibodies.

So Are the Teeth

As barnacles on a rock, so are the teeth in our jaw.
As pearls line up on a string, so are the teeth in our mouth.
As a line in a crossword puzzle, so are the teeth of first graders.
As Chicklets in a box, so are the teeth of second graders.
As pickets in a fence, so are the braced teeth of teens.
As biscuits popped in or taken out of the oven, so are the teeth of great grandparents.


Any other ideas?
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Teeth

Canine cornered doggy lips,
Sharp fangs of a cat,
Tusks of giant elephants,
Incisors of a rat,

Orange dentured porcupines,
Denticles of sharks,
Rabbit’s yellow nibblers,
Making toothy marks.

Baleen smiles of great big whales,
Molars of a rhino,
Milky whites of browny cows,
Making eating fine-o.

Toothy grin of little boy,
Girl’s of pearly whites -
Teeth beneath their pillowed heads:
Tooth froggy’s delight.

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Of course, my first graders would put up some resistance when I told them there was no tooth fairy, but gave in to laughter when I told them there was a tooth froggy.  Frogs have no teeth, so Tooth Froggy collects teeth to make dentures for frogs so that they can chew their food better.  It's a good deal.  He pays for the teeth, and then sells the dentures to the toothless frogs and other creatures.  He makes enough money to buy more teeth and take an occasional vacation to a warmer place in the winter - avoiding sleeping in the frozen mud all winter.
They never really gave up their Tooth Fairy, but humored me on the Tooth Froggy story.  ALL of my students had seen a tooth fairy at some point in their lives, if they'd lost a tooth.  They could describe and draw their personal tooth fairy, also.  It made for interesting tooth fairy mobiles in our classroom.

One of my favorite books to read to them was Little Rabbit's Loose Tooth, by Lucy Bate.  It's such a sweet story, and I loved Little Rabbit's innocent voice.  It's an old story, but the kids always loved it.  Good books are timeless.  Teeth aren't.

P.S. Frogs do actually have teeth, albeit nothing to write home about.  They are very small cone shaped teeth, which in most frog cases are only on the top jaw.  They aren't for chewing though, so they would still need the dentures for that.  These teeth just help them hold prey as they swallow them whole.

16 comments:

  1. Oh, tooth frogs sound cool!

    I have a poem about a fish because someone told me it couldn't be done.

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    1. The best poems to write are challenges!

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  2. Love the tooth froggy Donna, & the whole story! And your tooth poems-love the analogies in the first one. Happy Halloween!

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    1. Thanks, Linda! Can't believe it's November in the morning!

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    2. Thanks all over again, glad you shared with everyone! I do think you find such clever things to write about, Donna. This final verse is so sweet!
      Toothy grin of little boy,
      Girl’s of pearly whites -
      Teeth beneath their pillowed heads:
      Tooth froggy’s delight.

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  3. Fun toothy poems! And I laughed at the tooth-froggy! That's very cute. And who said that frogs can't be fairies? :)

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  4. I used to have a classroom next to a Kindergarten room, and the teacher and I had a running joke that I was her bodily fluid person. She had a much stronger gag reflex than I do, and I would come running whenever there was some accident or spill or - you get the idea - that she couldn't handle! Love your tooth musings!

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    1. She was so lucky to have a BF person nearby! Kindergarten is probably even worse for it than first grade. I remember once, a student coming up to my desk to tell me she didn't feel well, and she threw up all over my desk. Some papers didn't get corrected that day, and I believe I got a new plan book, too.

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  5. I love your poem about teeth through the years, Donna! And your tooth-froggy story is priceless. Great post!

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    1. I loved making up stuff - such fun to watch their faces as they tried to figure out if this could be true or a story. Occasionally it would backfire slightly when I was trying to tell them something that REALLY happened and they thought it was a "truth or tale time"!

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  6. Love, love, love your tooth metaphors and your Tooth Froggy! You are so right about 1st grade being a bodily fluids year! Luckily I'm in 5th, but am still hoping that 30 years of antibodies will get me through the newest round of snotty noses and hacking coughs...without either of my own!

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    1. Oh, yes, I do hope you can make it through the year without any of the "cruds". It's hard sometimes. With all the winter head lice I've seen in my 30+ years teaching, I only got them once.

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  7. I am reciting Teeth out loud and just loving the experience!

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    1. That's great! I'm glad it feels good to read aloud.

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  8. Your clever post made me laugh, and your Tooth Froggy makes so much more sense than the traditional fairy. Have you noticed that children are losing their teeth earlier these days? I'm going to need your toothy poems in my room, and the Froggy might make a visit too!

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