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Poetry Break #18: Native American Poetry


About Me | Favorite Links | Contact Me | Poetry Breaks for Module #1: The Poetry Environment | Poetry Break #1: Classic Poem (by a dead poet) | Poetry Break #2: Picture book with poetry breaks | Poetry Break #3: Song with poem line breaks | Poetry Break #4: A Mother Goose Poem | Poetry Break #5: A Folk Poem | Poetry Breaks for Module #2: Major Poets | Jack Prelutsky | Shel Silverstein | Lee Bennett Hopkins | Douglas Florian | Judith Viorst | Poetry Breaks for Module #3: Poetry Performance | What is Poetry Performance? | Poetry Break #6: Poem with a refrain | Poetry Break #7: Poem accompanied by movement | Poetry Break #8: Poem for two groups | Poetry Break #9: Poem ideal for solo/linearound | Poetry Break #10: Poem to sing | Poetry Breaks for Module #4: Poetry Across the Curriculum | Poetry Break #11: Poem Relevant to Social Studies | Poetry Break #12: Poem Relevant to Mathematics | Poetry Break #13: Poem Relevant to Science | Poetry Break #14: Poem to Use With a Novel or Picture Book | Poetry Break #15: Poem Matched With a Nonfiction Book | Poetry Breaks for Module #5: Multicultural Poetry | Poetry Break #16: African American Poetry | Poetry Break #17: Hispanic American Poetry | Poetry Break #18: Native American Poetry | Poetry Break #19: Asian American Poetry | Poetry Break #20: International Poetry | Poet Study: Arnold Adoff | Arnold Adoff Complete Bibliography | Arnold Adoff Seasons Poem | Arnold Adoff Culture Poem | Arnold Adoff City Poem | Arnold Adoff Chocolate Poem | Arnold Adoff Food Poem | Arnold Adoff Senses Poem | Arnold Adoff Sports Poem | Poetry Breaks for Module #6: Different Forms of Poetry | Poetry Break #21: A Shape Poem | Poetry Break #22: A Free Verse Poem | Poetry Break #23: Poem Written and Published by a Child | Poetry Break #24: A Stump the Teacher Poem | Poetry Break #25: An Original Poem by Mrs. Mann | Complete Website Bibliography
Mrs. Mann's Poetry Corner

Introduction: Many Native American poems are passed down from one generation to the next through stories or songs. A rich tradition of songs and storytelling keeps words alive for centuries. This traditional Toltec poem discusses the difference between a good storyteller and a bad storyteller.

The true storyteller is a
he says things boldly
with the lips and mouth
of an artist

The true storyteller
uses words of joy
flowers are on his lips
his language is noble

The bad storyteller
is careless
he confuses words
he swallows them
he says useless words
he has no dignity

Traditional Toltec poem
from "Celebrating America"
compiled by Laura Whipple

Extensioin: After reading this poem to your students it would be a good idea to discuss the importance of oral language and telling the same stories generation after generation, especially in the Native American culture. If you have any Native American children in your classroom or school maybe you could invite their parents or grandparents to come in and share a story from their culture.