SOL16, Day 11: Hoping for Poems


I offer this a slice to share the few thoughts about poetry that have been rattling around my classroom. There isn’t enough. Yet. Thank you to Irene Latham for hosting Poetry Friday on her blog Live Your Poem and to  Two Writing Teachers blog for the eleventh day of the March Slice of Life Challenge. The slices I’m reading are beautiful, provocative and entertaining. What a group of writers lives here.

poetry friday logo11454297503_e27946e4ff_h

Narrative free verse poetry attracts me as a reader.  The white space offers room for the reader to absorb the story. The occasional rhythm and often playful author placement of words allow readers to experience the story.

I’ve found my students revel in verse novels. The words don’t overwhelm; the chapters are short.There’s lots of room to wonder and notice. It gives the struggling reader a release from complex sentence structure and the thoughtful reader time to ponder.

We’ll start Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson next week for read aloud. And as a writer’s gift for April, students will receive a blank book to create a story in verse or a collection of poems. A post on our classroom blog made me realize this couldn’t come soon enough.

a long time ago I was in love with poems. I knew every single kind of poem there was. I would spend all my free time writing poems. I got over it eventually just let me tell you how.

I had just finished another poem when my aunt came up to me and asked me what I was doing. I told her I was writing when my brother came by and threw my papers all over the place. As I chased him through the house my aunt read my poem and told me a poem had to rime.

This post created ripples.

At lunch, I overheard two students collaborating in Google Docs over a poem.

They sat across the room from each other. They go back and forth in their document. Adding and subtracting lines.

J came up to me later saying, “I think we could develop an app for people who are afraid of poetry.”

I asked him to say more. His vision sounded like a version of Mad Libs. I didn’t want to mention it exists. Let him try it out.

The response of teachers and students who commented on her post was inspiring.

Erin offered this:

I discovered last year that I love to write poems, and none of my poems rhyme.  😉 I hope you will try your hand at writing poems again.  I think it takes a talented writer to be able to say so much and evoke strong feelings with so few words.

Wow. You nailed it, Erin.

I’m excited for the what will surface in the next few months. Hoping some will “try their hand at writing poems.”




22 thoughts on “SOL16, Day 11: Hoping for Poems

  1. I am intimidated by writing poetry, myself–whenever I attempt free verse, it’s basically just paragraphs chopped up into short lines. How wonderful that your students are overcoming their fears and others’ misconceptions, and that they are supporting each other! They must have a great teacher. 🙂

  2. I have a few “Erins” in my room and I am loving how they are teaching so much through their comments which, as I type this, makes me think our blog comments could or maybe are a form of free verse poetry? I am a big fan of free verse novels. Along with Jacqueline Woodson, I adore ALL Helen Frost’s amazing books!! I look forward to reading more about poetry from you and your smart, talented writers. My team just decided that in April, we will encourage our students to use Kidblog to write poems during National Poetry Month!! After seeing how this tool helps them to write small moments, I can’t wait to see what April will bring. I also liked reading how 2 students sitting ACROSS the room wrote together on Goggle Docs. Just yesterday, a 3rd graders discovered this “magic” for the first time and was SO excited!! (I think I’ll have to slice about that this month, too!!) Have a great Friday and weekend!

  3. Was that my Erin? I didn’t even know about this. I love how their blogging life parallels ours. Your student got some wonderful feedback. I hope she will discover that poetry is poetry. Locomotion is a great mentor text.

  4. I love everything about this post. Last April I learned that I could write poetry. I, too, had lots of misconceptions about them. Mary Lee Hahn taught me about real poetry and I’ve been able to do it ever since. I love that they get a gift of a notebook in April. very special.

  5. An app for people who are afraid of poetry!? I am so impressed and excited by their desire to make that. Also, by your gift of blank books. Yay, you!

  6. Love the ripples that went through your class! What an adventure they will begin as they write poetry. Some people have such a gift in creating poems. I’m working on that in my own writing. No gift, just determination! 🙂

  7. If they take off, learning, adding ideas, as a group, it sounds wonderful to me, Julieanne. It’s really like a young child taking those first steps, there they go. And you’ve been there all along guiding with wise words, the information they need. Poetry can be/do so much for us. I love that your students are beginning to know that.

  8. This is so great. Please tell you student that writing free verse poetry can be much harder than writing rhyme–it is so much harder to write true and deeply than to follow a set meter and rhyme.
    How wonderful that students can feel safe to write about their feelings. Great job.

  9. The student slice is a reminder how careful adults have to be with their words. I love when the students encourage each other.

  10. The poems I heard as a child always rhymed. I was terrible at rhyming and therefore never wrote poetry. It wasn’t until I became a teacher that I realized poems didn’t have to rhyme. Then, I fell in love with poetry (reading and writing).

    Erin is going places, especially with you guiding her.

  11. What excitement lies ahead for you. Slicing this month and writing poems in April. One of my favorite novels in verse is Home of the Brave.

  12. “…to say so much and evoke strong feelings with so few words.” That is the essence of poetry, isn’t it? Looking forward to hearing more about your students’ writing.

  13. There are so many ways to write poetry! My daughter, the writer, hates using punctuation, capitalization, etc. in her poems. She said she likes to rebel. I can come up with little poems, but for some reason, I DO always make them rhyme. Have fun writing, class!

  14. I hope your students do create an app that helps people rediscover the joy of reading, writing, and sharing poetry. There is a lot we, educators and poets, can do to help people return to poetry. An app would be so much fun to play with!

  15. How funny that the kids want to create an app like mad libs. Perhaps they will invent magnetic poetry next! 🙂 So many ideas need dusting off and reinventing. I’m glad to hear that kids like novels in verse. And I like rhyming poetry, but free verse is a delight, too.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s