Poetry Friday: Student Poetry Randomly Shared With Me

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Thanks to Margaret at Reflections on the Teche for hosting Poetry Friday this week.

Earlier this week, I got a noticed that a fifth grader, Jamison, had shared poetry with me.  We have been done with poetry for awhile in the library but fifth graders may have been working on poetry in class.

When I had Jamison in class on Wednesday, I asked him if meant to share his poetry with me. He said yes. Jamison is one of those students that I wouldn’t expect to do this.   He’s active, speaks out, and sometimes you wonder if he’s listening.  I asked if I could share on the blog today and he said that’s why he shared them with me.

I am skilled with games
I wonder if I am going crazy
I hear rustles in the basement
I see morning stars on the roof
I want to have the earth’s core in my hand
I am skilled with games
I pretend there’s no sound
I feel bad presence
I touch a shadow
I worry that something is going to jump at me
I cry about my grandma
I am skilled with games
I understand my mom
I say the world is ending
I dream everything is ok
I try to convince people
I hope I last long

–Jamison, 5th grade

I am a casual ghastly
Nobody wants me though I am alone
All by myself an alleyway
Asking if I can be someone’s partner
It’s been 3 days without anything
I’m behind a trashcan hiding
I have a visitor and he has a nice home
I guess I’m not so lonely after all

–Jamison, 5th grade

Such thought provoking images. this always makes me happy to receive unasked for poetry from students.  Thank you, Jamison, for sharing with me.

Poetry Friday: Kinder Fibonacci

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Thanks to Tara at A Teaching Life for hosting Poetry Friday.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been working in a kindergarten class on different poetry forms.  We tried the Fibonacci form with a small tweak.  Instead of the typical 1-1-2-3-5-8 syllables, we wrote them with 1-1-2-3-5-8 words.  Here are a few.

Earth
By Elecia

Earth
I’m
going to
help the plants
We can help the earth
I’m going to help the earth get healthy

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Planet
By Alyssa

Loves
Planet
Help the world
Throw away the plastic garbage
I feel happy for fantastic planet earth.

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Friends
By Kingston

Friends
Class
Have fun
Play at recess
John, Daniel, Yelisy, Matthew, Autherius
I like all my friends at school

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Bedroom
By Brooke

Bed
Room
Bed, dresser
Dad moved them
I like where they are
My room looks so good.  It’s cool.

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Bedroom
By Maria

Clean
Tidy
Bedroom
Make my bed
Try to keep it clean
I will try to make my bed daily.

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Mom
By Vivianah

Mom
Rose
Love my mom
Plants smell beautiful
I love my mom she’s
the very best in the whole wide world.

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Planet
By Autherius

Planet
Earth
Save water
I like it
It’s our planet, our home
The earth is a good place to live

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Earth
By Anthony

Earth
Day
Help earth
Pick up trash
Fun to turn off lights
Make plants and more trees. Grow fun stuff.

 

Poetry Friday: Kindergarten Poetry

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Thanks to  Jama at Jama’s Alphabet Soup who’s hosting Poetry Friday.

I’ve been working with a kindergarten class on writing poetry.  We started with a group poem based on “Step Outside, What Do I See?” by Alan Wolf and “My Dog” by Ken Slesarik.

Students observed rocks.

Our first draft:

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I posted on Twitter and Carol V. asked a great revising question: “What do the students wonder?”  So our next meeting we revised:

The final version:

Rocks by Room 207

When I look at a rock|
I see
shapes in it and holes in it
Colors, rainbow colors, a train,
sometimes symbols, and crystals

When I touch a rock
I feel|
hardness and smoothness
straight and rough, sharp, smooth, soft
Slippery, muddy and dirty

And I feel
Nervous scared
because it might move

I wonder this
if you look away
will it move?
If you look at it
will it stay still?

I wonder
if  they fall by themselves
if it will play with me
if when you sleep, it stays still
if it will hurt or if it’s poisonous

I wonder
if it’s hot like a lava rock

If you see a rock
you go under your bed
It finds you
And jumps
on your head.

Next week, I’ll share more individual poetry from this class.

Poetry Friday: Interview with Laura Shovan

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Thanks to Catherine at Reading to the Core for hosting today.

Laura Shovan was interviewed at the CYBILS website earlier this week.  Here are follow-up questions for her.  These questions were generated from the CYBILS Poetry panel and judges.,

School closings like this don’t happen very often. Did you know of a school that was closing or where this idea come from?

School closings are quite common in Maryland. Schools here are part of large, county-wide systems. Boards of education will sometimes shift entire neighborhoods from one school to another to relieve overcrowding, or even close a school that’s below capacity. For example, in 2016, the year THE LAST FIFTH GRADE came out, a high school was closed in Carroll County, Maryland. There was a lot of push-back from the community and from families who wanted the school to stay open. Despite all the research that shows how important community involvement is in making a school feel welcoming and successful, community members are rarely consulted about such closings. They tend to be a financial decision.

How did you choose the character names and did you map out the characters and classroom dynamic in a visual way?

Some of the characters’ name have clues about their situation or personalities. One is Brianna Holmes (homophone for “homes”), whose family is temporarily living in motel. Another is Newt Mathews (the word “math” is embedded in his name), who prefers form poems where he can count out syllables. And the twins, Sloane and Sydney Costley, have the small word “cost” in their last name – a nod to the fact that they are somewhat wealthy.

I’m a visual person. I had my daughter’s fifth grade school photo taped inside my revision binder. Since I come from an education background, I had to make a seating chart. That helped me to see which characters might develop friendships … or tension. I also had a list of who lived in which neighborhoods, who rode the bus together, who lived close enough to the school to walk.
What choices did she have to make to keep each voice unique?

Giving each of the eighteen characters a unique voice was something I focused on during revisions. Instead of working on the book from the beginning to the end, I pulled out each character – one at a time – and only worked on that person’s poems. In that way, I could look at things like vocabulary, cadence, and formal elements. A free verse poem in Sloane’s voice, for example, will incorporate slang and have a lot of rhythms, to capture her attitude. A free verse poem in Norah’s voice will have longer lines and more descriptive language because Norah is more observant than Sloane.

Have you as a child or your children involved in a grassroots campaign?  

No. My family wasn’t very political when I was growing up. I don’t remember my parents talking about the Viet Nam war at all. I didn’t become politically active until I was an adult. My friends at All the Wonders recently did a post on this topic, featuring picture books.

What other books for children would you suggest if students want to learn more about becoming activists in their community?

There are many types of activism that are appropriate for children. I tend to like books about the Civil Rights movement of the 20th century and picture book biographies of civil rights activists. Three of my favorites are:

Andrea David Pinkney’s picture book SIT IN: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down

Debbie Levy’s WE SHALL OVERCOME: The Story of a Song.

Tony Medina’s LOVE TO LANGSTON, about Langston Hughes’ childhood.

Another great resource is this Nerdy Book Club list from 2014: Top 10 Picture Books for Activists 

What advice do you have for writers who are working on a novel in verse?

I hear from a lot of authors who love reading novels in verse. But because they don’t see themselves as poets, they’re afraid to give the form a try. My advice is to think about the poems as short monologues. In a novel in verse, the main character or characters take the stage and describe their thoughts, feelings, and a moment of change or realization. Poetic line breaks add rhythm to the character’s speaking voice. I think this is what makes the novel-in-verse form so well-suited for voice-driven books. The combination of monologue and rhythm helps the reader hear what the character sounds like.

Thank you, Laura, for your insight!

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Time for Student Poetry Postcards!  Sign-up HERE

 Happy Poetry.

Happy Friday.