learning with pet poetry (& fun giveaway!)

We love our pooch, we really do.

Sure, sometimes I say things to him that I wish I didn’t.   No, Maddy, I  promise we’ll never give Brady away, I promise. I’m just frustrated.  . . Owen, Sweetheart, we are not taking Brady back to Miss Marty’s farm and to his mom and dad. He will always be ours. He is part of our family and we will not give him back.

Sometimes he pushes me to my limits.  Fine, Cora. I’ll admit–I really don’t want him to run away when I open the door. I do love him.

Sometimes–okay, all the time–I realize that we failed miserably on the ‘drop it!’ lesson and I know we really shouldn’t call TREEEEEEAT! when he grabs a sock, a Polly Pocket, a Lego guy, or a magnetic letter off of the fridge to distract him and have him drop the stolen object.

I don’t always mean to silently curse his muddy paws, or the midnight barks to go outside, or the fact that he insists on riding shotgun on the way to the vet or pet store or dog park.  I really do think he’s a funny dog, a sweet boy–the perfect pooch for our family.

We love Brady.  We really do.

We love Brady so much that some days he gets to wear dress-ups, he gets songs sung to him, he gets read to.  We love him so much that we write stories about him and we write poems about him.


 Cora loves Brady so much that she often reads to him or lets him wear her fairy wings.

And I know we’re not alone in our love for our pet which is why I’m excited to share some fun news.

The PAL–Pets Add Life 4th annual poetry contest is this month, and we have an opportunity for one teach mama reader to win a family five pack of PAL shirts and a $50 American Express gift card that can be used to purchase pet food, supplies, or toys–or even buy a brand new pet for your family!  How awesome is that?  Pet love for everyone!

Here’s the skinny. . .

  • Learning with Pet Poetry:  Our pet-poetry learning was simple, on-the-fly, and fun.

Using our magnetic letters and our pooch’s name, I introduced Maddy, Owen, and Cora to the always fun, totally cool acrostic poem.

Acrostic poems are poems that use the first letters of a word or name to begin each line of poetry.   Each line can be a word, a phrase, or a sentence.  In its most basic form, it’s a short poem of only a few words that relate to or describe a single word or name.  Our poem was super-simple.

I’ve always said that I’m a big fan of celebrating names, so because Cora has just mastered the spelling of Bradyboy’s name (woot!), I threw his name on the fridge.

And I created the very first poem instead of making lunches like I should have been doing so we’d get to school on time.  The poem was simple:


And it really captured the essence of Brady if I do say so myself.

So when Owen came downstairs, he said, Mommy, why is this big mess of letters on the refrigerator?  Why did you write ‘bad’ and ‘dog’?

Ooooh, you’ve got a good eye, Owen, I said. But that big mess of letters says a whole lot more than ‘bad’ and ‘dog’.  Use your strong eyes to see if you can see other words in that mess.

He worked through ‘racer’ and said, Oh, and ‘acro’ (mispronounced as ‘a crow’).

I said, That word is ‘acro’ and I was just starting to write ‘acrobat’.  Do you know what an ‘acrobat’ can do?

He didn’t, so I explained: An acrobat is someone who can do gymnastics, jump high, do twists in the air, that kind of thing.

Well why did you write all of these words on here?

It’s a cool type of poem, actually.  It’s an ‘acrostic’ poem.  An acrostic poem is a secret, sneaky kind of poem where the whole poem is built on one word or name. And each line of the poem describes that word or person.  Let’s read it together.

We read it together, and by that time Maddy and Cora had (finally!) made their way downstairs for the breakfast that wasn’t even ready.

Okay, so can you find the secret name in this acrostic poem, now that we read the whole poem together?

I could literally see the light bulb go on as he eyed the letters ‘BRADY’.  BRADY! He said. It’s a poem about Brady!

By that time, it was much later than it should be, and I had like five seconds to make lunches, for the kids to eat breakfast, and for us to get coats and shoes on, backpacks packed, and for us to run all the way up to the school.

So it was a mad scramble as Maddy and Owen changed the words of the poem from ‘bad’ to ‘big’ and ‘racer’ to ‘rad’ and ‘dog’ to I’m not even sure I want to know what.  But before I knew it, Brady McBraderson made his way into the kitchen, grabbed one of the magnetic letters right off of the fridge, and ran into the living room. . .

Treeeeeeeeat! . . .


With a little support, almost any child can write a simple, clever acrostic poem about their pet, and most kiddos are more than eager to write about the pets they love.  So I am totally psyched to share a way that students in grades 3-8 can share a little pet poetry love–

The American Pet Products Association (APPA) is pleased to announce that the organization’s 4th Annual Pets Add Life National Children’s Poetry Contest!  The deadline for submissions is Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 5:00pm EST.

  • Students in grades three through eight are invited to write a unique poem about their pets, what they love about them, the joys they bring, and then post it online at www.petsaddlife.org or mail their final poem and submission form to: Pets Add Life, 661 Sierra Rose Dr. Reno, NV 89511.
  • One student from each grade level (6 total) nationwide will win a $250 gift certificate for pet products, and a “by-line” in everydog magazine, a nationally circulated publication. In addition, the six winning students’ classrooms will each receive a $1,000 scholarship to spend on pet-related education.  FUN!
  • To learn more about this exciting contest opportunity for kids, visit petsaddlife.org

I know that this is a great way–and reas0n–for children to express their pet-love and to get writing, and I am so hoping that someone I know enters–and wins!  So please let me know if you do, my friends!

And because I know many readers are parents or teachers of kiddos who may be a bit too young to enter, we have an opportunity for everyone to be a winner:


GIVEAWAY: a family 5-pack of PAL shirts and a $50 American Express gift card

Do you want to win a family 5-pack of PAL shirts and a $50 American Express gift card!

  • All you have to do is leave a comment here sharing what you love about your family pet(s)–or if you don’t have one, share what you love about a favorite friend or neighbor’s pet.

For extra entries:

  • Tweet this: Win family tee’s & $50 gift card from @PetsAddLife on @teachmama — learn w/ pet poetry http://wp.me/p1NAxy-1Cn  #weteach
  • Share this post on your Facebook page–very easy!
  • Share this post with a friend (just tell me who you shared it with!)
  • Pin this post on Pinterest! (Use ‘pin it!’ button below post!)


By entering this giveaway, you are demonstrating your understanding of and compliance with the Official Sweepstakes Rules.

This contest ends Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at midnight ET. Winner will be chosen by ‘And the Winner is. . .’ and will be notified on or around 2/29/12.  Winner must respond within three (3) days of notification or forfeit the prize, in which case an alternate winner will be selected.  All Official Sweepstakes Rules apply.

fyi: This post is part of a sponsored campaign with PAL. Opinions are all my own, influenced only by my three little pet-loving poets and our brave, fierce pooch.




  1. Kim spurry says

    My most favorite thing about our Princess Abby would be that she really feels like she’s one of our children… She gets in the kids bed just to wait her turn for her goodnight song and kiss goodnight!!!! Family movie nights in bed … She’s right there all 65lbs of her cutest snuggled between all of us… Love you Ab’s….

  2. Brandy says

    My favorite thing about Zoe is that even though she is 10 1/2 years old, she STILL acts like a puppy. Frustrating at times, but so so so cute the rest of the time. The vet thinks she is the strangest thing…all hyper and playful and totally gray.

  3. Mami2jcn says

    I shared on FB with my username Mary Happymommy–https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=304263562955808&id=100000611160195

  4. DeLinda says

    My favorite thing about my cats is that they keep each other in line. If I have to tell one of them “no” for ANYTHING, the other one runs up and swats the one in trouble. This is something they just started on their own, and they never hurt each other – they just give each other a tap to say “don’t do that!” And it usually works. :) I have never seen two cats – from two different families (both rescued), that acted more like brother and sister.

  5. Renee says

    I shared this on Facebook. As I said there, it seems perfect for our family. My oldest daughter loves to write poetry and has a nice flair for it AND we own a plethora of pets (dogs, cats, rabbits, rats, hamster). We could probably write a whole volume. I think the 2 month-old dachshund puppy may be getting the most odes right now though, based on sheer cuteness.

  6. dottie lutz says

    Our doxi boy Louie was so sad when his buddy got sick and passed away. Finally 5 months later he was still sad and lonely, so we decided to save a life because we had lost a life(a dachshund we all loved dearly). We went to the local shelter and fell in love with a young mixed doxi and Louie also loved him on their “Meet and Greet” visit. He had his”surgery” the next day and now lives with us and is one of the most lovable lil dogs we have ever had in our family. Our adoption also opened up room at the shelter for another little dog to get a chance at “love”.

  7. Sandra Graham says

    I have 3 wonderful dogs, each one with a different personality. My littlest is a terrier/poodle mix named Lucky, that we got at the pound several years ago. He loves to play ball and is very spunky. My second dog is a shelty mix named Delilah, and she looks like a little fox. She is fun loving, but at the same time mischeivious. My biggest dog is an american bulldog,her name is Princess, she loves to go for walks and loves to give kisses. All of them are loved very much and I don’t think we could live without any of them. They are part of our family now.

  8. Carolsue says

    I love my cat because he loves me! He follows me everywhere and gets really upset if I close the door with him on the other side!
    Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net

  9. Carolsue says

    I shared this post with my friend, Jennai Keefer. She may be entering herself.
    Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net

  10. says

    We had a pet named Fluffy he was the cutest little dog. He passed away recently, but what my kids and I loved most about fluffy is his licks (kisses), We have a toddler and everytime Fluffy came over to her he would lick her face usually because whatever she had recently been eatting was on it. So she would laugh and laugh and so would my other kids. We loved her kisses. She is missed but we hope to get another family dog in August for my daughters birthday. We rescued her and then she rescued us.

  11. Kathryn C. says

    I have a new Chow Chow puppy that I adopted at Christmas. She is now 4 months old and I just enjoy playing ball with her, taking her for walks, and just watching her enjoy her new life with my family. She has brought so much joy into our home with our children.

    katbirdfl (at) gmail (dot) com

  12. Ashley Hatten says

    We have a cat, Zorro. He was adopted when he was a kitten he is now 11. Even though he is getting older he still loves the kids and loves to play with them. He especially loves it when they rub his head :) Zorro has brought great joy to our family :) He is a very special kitty!

  13. Shannon Thompson says

    i love about little ellie is she is so sweet. Plays with the kids so good and loves to cuddle.


  14. Nasly says

    I love the opportunity ninja (our cat) gives our children to learn to care and be kind with other living creatures, regardless of how smaller than us they may be. I also love how he always fall for tricks I play on him over and over…

  15. Margie says

    In Honor of Tess,
    Our Family was going through a hard time emotionally and daddy was gone for a couple of weeks. We dog sit for many neighbors and love dogs but currently do not have one. Tess and her son Elvis frequently walk down our private lane in the evening, however never come up to the house. We dog sit for them occasionally at their home. This particular day Tess must have known we needed her gentle love. She not only came up to the house, she came up on the back deck and laid down and waited for us to come out. She stayed for several hours giving and receiving love. Just what my four kids and I needed that day. She has now passed and we miss her very much. Margie

  16. Kris says

    Our favorie thing about our cat Sky is when she plays with us. She loves to chasae foil balls, pom poms, play Barbies and ponies and just sit on our lap when we read books!