Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Poetry Lesson

Poetry is not a form of writing that comes natural to me let alone be feel adequate in teaching my students any techniques.  My colleague offered to come in and teach a lesson on writing poems.  It was a success.  Betsy modeled how to zoom and focus our invisible binoculars to see the details.  She read a poem and then shared the process of a poem that she wrote herself.  We went outdoors and first wrote down any general details of whatever catches their eye and then digging deeper, zooming in to notice the more specific details. 
We took our notes back to the classroom and she showed us how to put our ideas together to form lines in a poem.  I was amazed at the ideas the kids came up with.  They were a bit hesitant at first but once they began to put details together poems began to emerge. 
Betsy showed the class her journal and the entire process of observing, taking notes, reworking the poem and then the final product. 
At first the kids were hesitant to share as poetry writing is new and they were insecure but when we began to praise them many more wanted to share.
After Betsy left we had a heartfelt discussion about why it's difficult for some to share.  I was amazed at their honesty.  Here are their responses:

Worried others would make fun of their writing
A few students confessed that someone had told them that their writing wasn't good
Not sure of their own writing ability- think they aren't good writers
Afraid to share their writing that is personal revealing what others don't know about them
Feel like they are on a stage performing when they share and get nervous

We came up with some strategies that would help everyone feel safe to share and how we can be inspired by sharing our work. 
They revealed a lot about how they feel as a writer.  I wished I would have had this discussion earlier because I could have tried to create a safer environment for sharing.  I realize now that I need to have regular small writing celebrations. 

So, I challenged myself to make an attempt at creating a poem.  So here is my attempt.  Please be warned that it is my first attempt.  :) 

pink scaly skin 
wiry thin hair
cloven toes

curly tail
that wiggles
back and forth
and springs back
like a slinky

notched ears
beady black eyes

round pink nose
wrinkled up
back and forth
digging in dirt
like a shovel
flinging dirt in the air




  1. Yay for Betsy and poetry! I love how you went the extra mile with the discussion after. Isn't amazing how much we can learn from our students?

  2. I am realizing how behind I am on commenting here! Look at you! I LOVE the piglet poem, you used a lot of description and I really liked the line breaks and ending with just one word, piglet.
    The discussion you had with your students was so powerful and amazing. I'm so glad you did that even if it felt like it was too late, it just never is too late to do something that builds community. So worth it!

  3. Lucky you to have Betsy right there to offer a poetry lesson! I think you were paying attention to every bit of advice. Your piglet poem is delightful. No warning needed before reading this. All the way through I was trying to figure out what critter this was. Well done!