The topic of discussion today in the second grade was the eating of babies. Yes, babies. Being eaten.

We were working on synthesizing, and I used Shel Silverstein's poem, Dreadful, so we could do some thinking as the poem went on, and then see how our thinking changed as we got more information.

We began with the first stanza.

Someone ate the baby.
It's rather sad to say.
Someone ate the baby
So she won't be out to play.

We'll never hear her whiney cry
Or have to feel if she is dry.
We'll never hear her asking, "Why?"
Someone ate the baby.

At this point, the kids had some guesses about the fate of this poor baby. Mariah thought it might be an alligator. Charity figured it seemed more like the work of cannibals. DeAngelo thought maybe the mom or the dad was the culprit. When pressed for some text evidence to implicate the parents, the kids pointed out that the narrator seems to think the baby quite annoying, what with the whining, the diaper changing, the crying.

Someone ate the baby.
It's absolutely clear
Someone ate the baby
'Cause the baby isn't here.

We'll give away her toys and clothes.
We'll never have to wipe her nose.
Dad says, "That's the way it goes."
Someone ate the baby.

Someone ate the baby.
What a frightful thing to eat!
Someone ate the baby
Though she wasn't very sweet.

The discussion progressed to some comments which were surprisingly sympathetic to the reasons someone might have for getting rid of a baby. "The mom probably has to be up all night with the baby," said Nikki as she clapped her hand to her forehead and shook her head at the thought. "Stressing out--she probably got rid of the baby so she could give away all her misery!"

It was a heartless thing to do.
The policemen haven't got a clue.
I simply can't imagine who
Would go and (burp) eat the baby.

We finished out the rest of the poem and made some inferences based on the last line. Not only did we get to talk about a baby getting swallowed up, but we also got to talk about burping!

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