This project was inspired by this wiki: Feel free to check it out if you need ideas and/or guidance.

Table of Contents


Poems we'll be using:


Love That Dog is essentially broken into two parts. In the first part, Jack writes poems to his teacher about the poems they've been reading in class. When reading this first part, it would be helpful to read the poems Jack is referencing and modeling. This will help students understand the book. Reading them before you even begin Love That Dog would probably be most beneficial. Most of these poems are pretty thought-provoking and could spark some great discussions. Simply asking "What do you notice/like/not like about this poem?" should be enough to get things going. Or, ask about words, rhymes, sounds, line breaks. In the paraphrased words of poetry scholar Helen Vendler, "the poem will tell you what questions to ask of it." Don't spend time talking about what the poem MEANS (like our high school English teachers did). This isn't really necessary, and can remove some of the pleasure poetry provides. Having these discussions can really help when it comes time for students to write their own poems.

A page has been created on the wiki for students to write their own models of these poems. Prompts for each one can be found below. Links to each poem can be found on the main Love That Dog page. They're also in the back of the actual book. Think about assigning these as homework if you are unable to spend much class time on them. Then, students can enter them into the appropriate spot on the page at a later date.

The second part of the story deals with Jack and the big issue he's struggling with. In this part, we really get to know the emotional side of Jack's character. And we get to watch him grow as a poet. The second part should provide fodder for quite a bit of discussion in the discussion board. Please encourage students to write their responses to the book as poems, just like Jack does.


Here are the poems from the book, the pages where they are first mentioned and prompts for student writing:

The Red Wheelbarrow (page 3)
Prompt: write a poem about something simple but important. Begin your poem with the line: "So much depends" Describe the scene just as William Carlos Williams does with short, simple lines.

Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening (page 6)
Prompt: Write a poem about stopping in a snowy place on a dark night. What would you see? What would you think about? How would you feel?

The Tyger (page 8)
Prompt: Write a poem where you are talking to a beautiful or mysterious creature and you can ask it anything you want...anything. The creature can even answer if you want! It doesn't have to rhyme like Blake's poem, but it can if you want.

The Pasture
Prompt: Write a short poem about a special place you'd like to take someone. Think about copying Frost's rhyme scheme. Use his words "You come too" in your poem as well.

Dog (page 15)
Prompt: Choose an animal to write a poem about. Use short lines and descriptions, just like the poet does in her poem.

Street Music (page 31)
Prompt: Write a poem about what sounds you hear someplace. It can be anywhere you want--from the street where you live, or somewhere else. Try to model the way the poet used shape, space, and lines.

The Apple (page 35)
Prompt: Write a Concrete Poem that takes the shape of the thing you are writing about. (These can be really hard to type. You might have to write it on paper and have your teacher scan it or take a photo of it for you.)

Love That Boy (page 42)
(Note: Only one stanza of this poem appears in Creech's book. The entire poem is fabulous, though. Reading it all is highly recommended. This is a wonderful poem and a great starter for students to model. If you have them write only one poem in this project, make this the one!)
Prompt Choice 1: Write a poem about something you love. Use the pattern Myers creates: Love that... like a .... . I said I ... like a ... Then follow his pattern of repetition. Try to make your poem more than one stanza and follow the Myers's pattern throughout, if possible.
Prompt Choice 2: "Love That Boy" is a blues poem. Write a "blues poem" about something sad. Use this format:

Method One: Traditional 3-line stanza:
· Lines 1 and 2 are the same, although sometimes there is a slight variation in line 2.
· Line 3 rhymes with lines 1 and 2.
· Casual language is okay.

My baby done walked out the door.
I said my beautiful baby done walked out the door.
She left me here, cryin' like a baby on the floor.

Method Two: Following the Love That Boy pattern

· Each stanza is six lines.

· Essentially it takes the traditional 3 line stanza and breaks each line in half, making 6.

He got long roads to walk down
Before the setting sun.
I said he got a long, long road to walk down
Before the setting sun.
He’ll be a long stride walker,
And a good man before he done.


CHECK THIS OUT: A video of Walter Dean Myers and Sharon Creech reading the entire novel!
Another Teaching Guide from Harper Collins Books
Teaching Guide from Scholastic
A Love That Dog quiz