SOL16, Day 18: Locomotion

I’m reading Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson to my students. I love this book and this author.

My students love Woodson. They know her from Each Kindness, The Other Side, and ShoWay. A few know Brown Girl Dreaming.

I read and we talk about it; we study the structure and the meaning. It’s an accessible way to discuss craft, to notice small things a writer does.

Yesterday, we read the poem that describes how the central character, Lonnie Collins Motion AKA LoCoMotion, got his name. Lyrics from the song are in the poem.  I read it this part and hear the song.  But my students have no context.

So I share.

They giggled.

But then they got serious. “Is this during the sixties?”

“Was there segregation?”

They’re  noticing. Starting to name not just what’s happening but how Woodson puts her words together on a page. And what words are standing out as important. Reading a verse closely and finding a line or two that stands out to them.

I ask, “What’s the verse name? Where is it located?”

“Verse?” They say.

“That’s a poem. It’s like a chapter in a novel in verse,” I say.

“It’s in the last, what do you call it?” T says.

“Stanza,” I say.

“Oh, stanza.”

They are learning poetry. And loving Locomotion.

I found this audio interview of Woodson from the Poetry Foundation made after she was named the 2014 Young People’s Poet Laureate.  She reads several poems from Brown Girl Dreaming, and from Locomotion. If you haven’t heard this, it’s well worth the listen.

After my students hear this, they’ll love her all the more.

Thank you, Two Writing Teachers for the Slice of Life March Challenge. Read more slices here.


And thank you to Robyn Hood Black for hosting Poetry Friday at Life on the Deckle Edge.

poetry friday logo


11 thoughts on “SOL16, Day 18: Locomotion

  1. I recently blew the dust(!) off of youtube videos of Yakkity Yak and Under the Boardwalk for our reading of Watsons Go to Birmingham and it is always a fun surprise for the kids to watch the performers and hear the soundtrack of the setting. (By the way, I loved Brown Girl Dreaming)

  2. You are making me think this book needs to be our next read aloud. I’ll add the video and audio to my lessons. So much to notice in this book. Thanks.

  3. This is great. I always have much success when I fill in all the holes in kids’ understanding before and while I am reading. Love how they are making all kinds of connections. Woodson’s writing is always amazing for connections.

  4. Love that you can bring visual and auditory context to whatever you might be studying. I have not read Locomotion, but since I loved Brown Girl Dreaming, I will have to find this book.

  5. It is a beautiful book, as are all the rest of Woodson’s too. How lucky we are to have them, and to teach students the history in this way, too. Love that you added the song, & hearing about the giggles.

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