Joyful Noise

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Written to be read aloud by two voices -- sometimes alternating, sometimes simultaneous -- here is a collection of irresistible poems that celebrate the insect world, from the short life of the mayfly to the love song of the book louse. Funny, sad, loud, and quiet, each of these poems resounds with a booming, boisterous, joyful noise.

In this remarkable volume of poetry for two voices, a companion to I Am Phoenix,Paul Fleischman verbally re-creates the "Booming/boisterios/joyful noise" of insects. The poems resound with the pulse of the cicada and the drone of the honeybee. Eric Beddows's vibrant drawings send each insect soaring, spinning, or creeping off the page in its own unique way.

Paul Fleischman has created not only a clear and fascinating guide to the insect world -- from chrysalid butterflies to whirligig beetles -- but an exultant celebration of life.

Curriculet Details
23 Questions
19 Annotations
1 Quiz

Designed for students in 5th grade, this free digital curriculum contains annotations explaining alliteration, theme and figurative language in a set of delightful poems told from the perspective of various insects. It also contains many images and interactive videos of insect life that support comprehension. Over the course of the book, students will answer Common Core questions and quizzes related to the point of view and voice in each poem, as well as exploring the author's use of language and structure to create meaning. This free online unit will increase student engagement while building reading comprehension.

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How many readers are supposed to read the poems simultaneously (at the same time)? 
When both readers have lines at the same level on the page, what should they do? 
These poems are intended to be read as duets. A duet is usually a piece of music played, sung, or danced by two people. Below is a picture of a musical duet. (This annotation contains an image)


Which of these lines are meant to be said by both readers at once? 
This is a book of poems written by Paul Fleischman. Fleischman is an award-winning author of children's books who incorporates his love for music and theater into his writing. See if you can find examples of this as you read. (This annotation contains an image)
Read the highlighted section to yourself. Notice where the readers read different lines at the same time. What is the effect of this passage?  
What does this poem suggest about grasshoppers? 
Watch this slow motion video of a grasshopper jumping. Does it remind you of the poem? (This annotation contains a video)

Water Striders

This poem, unlike "Grasshoppers," has sets of lines: three lines said together, and then three lines said individually. The "Grasshoppers" poem used short lines to create a jumpy, restless rhythm. What effect do these sets of lines have on this poem? Back up your claim with specific words or evidence. 
Here is a video of water striders skating on top of a pond. Do you think this poem is reminiscent of the way they move? (This annotation contains a video)
The use of the words "we" and "our" repeated in this poem make the water striders seem like 


Which of the following is the main idea of the highlighted lines? 
One technique that's used a lot in "Mayflies" is alliteration, or using words that start with the same sound close to each other in the writing. This video shows you a few examples of alliteration. Look for more examples of alliteration as you read.  (This annotation contains a video)
Redwood trees, like this giant sequoia, can live over 3,000 years! Why do you think the mayflies contrast themselves with a redwood? (This annotation contains an image)
Which of the following is an example of alliteration? 
What feeling do you get from this poem? Why? Use specific words and details in your answer. 


Which of the following is NOT an example of alliteration? 
This video is of a contemporary dance piece called "Firefly," choreographed by Anthony Heinl. Answer the question below after watching the video.  (This annotation contains a video)
Compare the video of the dance to the poem you just read. Which affected you more? Which reminded you more of fireflies? 

Book Lice

Book lice work their way through books, but not by reading them-- by nibbling at their pages and at the glue holding them together. Here you can see the damage done to a book by insects. (This annotation contains an image)
The author creates a little humor in this poem with double meanings. Which word in the highlighted section has a humorous double meaning? 

The Moth’s Serenade

Traditionally, a serenade is a piece of music sung by a man to his lover, often in the open air. In this poem, who is the object of the moth's love? (This annotation contains an image)
Who or what is this serenade addressed to? 

Water Boatmen

Compare this video of a water boatman beetle with the following video of a human rower on the following page. (This annotation contains a video)
Compare this video of a human rower with the video of the water boatman above. It's clear how the insect got its name! (This annotation contains a video)

The Digger Wasp

A Golden Digger Wasp digs her nest to prepare for young. (This annotation contains a video)
In this passage, find the six lines that are read by both readers at once. What do these six lines have in common? 


What do the six lines read by both readers in this passage emphasize?  
A close-up video of a North American cicada making its characteristic noise. You can hear a whole chorus of others in the background! (This annotation contains a video)


The queen bee is the larger, darker one in the center of this photo. She is surrounded by worker bees. (This annotation contains an image)
To unionize is to join together with other workers in a labor union. When workers unite, they can often bargain with bosses for better treatment and better pay.  (This annotation contains an image)
In this poem, the two readers take on very different roles: a queen bee and a worker bee. Contrast the lives of each. Why does the queen think a bee's life is the "best of all lives" while the worker thinks the opposite?  

Whirligig Beetles

Watch this short clip of whirligig beetles to get a sense of how they move.  (This annotation contains a video)
How does the author create the feeling of whirligig beetle movement in the words of his poem? 


A requiem is a song for the dead. This short clip is the instrumental part of Mozart's Requiem in D Minor, written after the death of his young wife.  (This annotation contains a video)
How did these insects die? 

House Crickets

Compare the house crickets to the dead insects of the last poem, "Requiem." Why don't the house crickets have to worry? 
A pilot light is a little flame that stays lit under a gas heater. When the gas is turned on to heat something, the pilot light is the spark that gets it going. Why do the crickets refer to it as "our sun"? (This annotation contains an image)

Chrysalis Diary

The chrysalis is the sac where a wingless caterpillar metamorphoses into a winged insect like a moth or butterfly. (This annotation contains an image)
What has happened in the highlighted passage? 
What is the "window" referred to in the poem? 
This last part of the poem shows that 
Final Quiz