FIVE CHANTS is a poem by David McCord
that contains a repeated line, called a Refrain.

"Every time I climb a tree" is the refrain.

"Five Chants" by David McCord is taken from THE EARTH IS PAINTED GREEN: A GARDEN OF POEMS ABOUT OUR PLANET. Editor, Barbara Brenner. 1994. Scholastic.

Introduction:  Ask students how many of them have ever climbed a tree?  (Students who live in the city may not have access to trees, but could improvise with something like a fire escape.) What did you see when you were in a tree?  How did you feel when you were in the tree?
After sharing personal experiences, invite students to listen to the poem about climbing a tree.


Every time I climb a tree
Every time I climb a tree
Every time I climb a tree
I scrape a leg
or skin a knee.

And every time I climb a tree
I find some ants
or dodge a bee
And get the ants
All over me.

And every time I climb a tree
Where have you been?
They say to me
But don't they know that I am free
Every time I climb a tree?

I like it best
to spot a nest 
That has an egg
or maybe three
And then I skin 
the other leg.

But every time I climb a tree
I see a lot of things to see
Swallows, rooftops and TV
And all the fields and farms there be
Every time I climb a tree.

Though climbing may be good for ants
It isn't awfully good for pants
But still it's pretty good for me
Every time I climb a tree.

Extension:  After reading the poem a few times, have students write or illustrate something they do or would like to do that allows them to feel free, like the person in the poem.

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