Poetry Friday: A Response Poem

Thanks to Liz at Elizabeth Steinglass for hosting Poetry Friday

Back in April, during National Poetry Month, I had the opportunity to sub in a fourth grade class. I read the book CAN I TOUCH YOUR HAIR?: POEMS of RACE, MISTAKES, and FRIENDSHIP by Irene Latham, Charles Waters. This was a 2018 CYBILS Poetry finalist.

As the students listened, I had them write down words and reactions to the book. Afterward we made a list of phrases. It doesn’t always work to finish the poem when I’m one day in a class and then gone for awhile as was the case with this sub job. But I know when I returned to the class we’d finish what we started.

This past Wednesday was that day. I prepared the strips and shared them. We read them aloud and determined that since we had some one that began, “Each night…” they would serve as the beginning of a new stanza. As I was writing, I noticed this line: “Fists clicked-Chains Cracked” and felt it would be a good repeating line. The first line and the end were givens.

Then each student placed their strip where they thought it might go best. We reread the poem, took away a couple lines, and came up with this response to Irene Latham’s and Charles Waters’ brilliant book:

Each Night

Each night we talked at the table
We didn’t know how
to explain the curse they gave
Some whites ashamed
about how they treated blacks
Fists clicked-Chains Cracked

Each night we plopped chains
classmates crumbled in shame
Classmates black and white
Some kids sat in shame
Fists clicked-Chains Cracked

Each night we gave forgiveness
We didn’t know how
to explain the forgiveness they didn’t give
Black and white forgiveness
Fists clicked-Chains Cracked

Each night we forgave classmates
with an apology
Classmates black and white apologized
Thunder cracked
Chains cracked
We forgave them
Shame hit
We cracked
In the end, we became friends.

© Mrs. Brown’s Fourth Grade Class

Today (as I’m writing this on TH) went into the class and we looked it over. We discussed tightening the poem and removing words. I explained how Stephen Kind reduces his drafts by 10% and Richard Peck tries to fine ten words per page to remove, I gave each student a draft and asked them to select at least five words that could be removed.
 

After the discussion, our poem looked like this:

This is the final copy:

It was a fun lesson to do with this class. I feel so lucky to be able to work with students on these mini-lessons.

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Poetry Friday: Student Poetry Month

Thanks to Irene at Live Your Poem for hosting Poetry Friday this week

I interviewed Laura Purdie Salas about her new book IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT in March. That interview is HERE.


Then I had an opportunity to work with a fourth grade class. We made a list of classroom inanimate objects. I am featuring their poems all week.

Messy whiteboards
we get scribbled on all day
messy scribbles, writing
People write on me all day
boards you write on forever

~Allison S

Jumping water bottle
bouncing as a chair
I am as running as a lion
keep you hydrated
healthy

~Taryn

The restless recorder
I am as cheesy as a chisel
definitely delicate
sweet, sour, smart,
silent restless recorder

~Macy

Poetry Friday: Voices in the Air by Naomi Shihab Nye

IMG_1077Thanks to Irene at Live Your Poem for hosting Poetry Friday this week.

This week, I want to show case the title I nominated for the CYBILS Poetry Awaed:  VOICES IN THE AIR, POEMS FOR LISTENERS by Naomi Shihab Nye.  If you have read my blog for any length of time, you know that I consider her a mentor.  Last April, I attended the 2018 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture given by Naomi Shihab Nye.   I, of course, bought her latest book.

What if we were the listeners of all the voices in the air? Those who came before us or those we have yet to meet? What if we took the time to listen? What would we notice?

VOICES is divided into three sections: Messages, Voices in the Air, and More Worlds.

Nye begins with an introduction, a pondering of making sense of the strange world we currently reside in with a quote by Galway Kinnell, “To me, poetry is someone standing up to speak, and saying, with as little concealment as possible, what it is for him or her to be on earth at this moment.”

She reflects on a conversation student at the Yokohama International School in Japan. She said listening and writing poetry give us more yutori– a place to stand back to contemplate what we are living and experiencing…more spaciousness in being and more room to listen. I love this!

This ninety-five poem collection is contemplative and we should listen to one another read these poems aloud. Many of the poems were written for specific people. At the end of the book, Nye includes Biographical Notes.

We should take the time to slow down and listen.

Some of my favorite poems in this collection include: “Twilight”, “Train Across Texas”, and “Where do Poets Find Images, and For the Birds”.

Here’s the first few lines of perhaps my favorite (I’m not sure I can really choose)

Reserved for Poets
(Signs on first rows of chairs at poetry festival. La Conner, Washington)

Sunsets.

Trouble.

Full moons.

No really–they’re everybody’s.

Nothing is reserved.

I highly encourage to find this book, read it, and listen.

Title: VOICES IN THE AIR, POEMS FOR LISTENERS
Author: Naomi Shihab Nye
Illustrator:
Published: 2018
Pages: 190
Reading Level: YA
Publisher: Greenwillow
ISBN: 978-0-06-269184-2
Source: Personal purchase

Celebrate: Five Star Things About the Week

20140503-195736.jpgToday’s the day to reflect on the week. Celebrating all the good things at Ruth Ayres Writes.
I am a bit late today because of number one.

ONE
Today I presented/taught at the 30th Annual Oregon Writing Festival for fourth grade through twelfth grade students. It was my first time to present and what fun. I had two sessions of fourth-fifth graders. We wrote poetry. At the end of the second session a boy wanted me name his hat. I did, “Gregoire.”

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TWO
My grant books came in this week:

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THREE
Second grade authors’ celebration for their nonfiction writing. In a time when the school day is packed with the “have-tos” that these celebrations can occur.

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FOUR
The responses from people receiving their poetry post cards. Several postcards have shown up on blogs. Then a box arrived from Irene Latham with signed bookmarks for the students who sent postcards.

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FIVE
My grand girl’s cat had kittens. She reads to them every night.

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FIVE.FIVE
The Portland Trailblazers won and move onto the next round.

What are you celebrating?

Poetry Friday: Wrapping Up National Poetry Month

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Well, it was almost thirty days of student poetry. I hate when days get ahead of me and I don’t get posts up. National Poetry Month is complete.

I want to thank those of you who have shared your poetry postcards on Facebook and your blogs such as Laura Salas and Liz Stenglass. I loved getting signed and personalized bookmarks for the students from Irene Latham. I have been sharing these with students.

Most of the postcards that were sent out have been accepted into the National Schools Writing Project’s Young Americans Poetry Project.
This digest is in its twentieth year and such a great place to send student work for publishing.

Here is more poetry for students:
+++++++++++++++++++++++++
I am a tiny humming bird.
My colors are as colorful as a bright rainbow.
You can barely see my wings flapping so hard.
I never stop beating my wings or I can die.
I am the fastest flier.

Kara M.
Grade 4
+++++++++++++++++++++++++
I am cerulean.
I am as swift as a whale.
I travel like a fish.
I have razor-sharp teeth I am big so look out for me.
I am a whale shark.

Malachai D.
Grade 4
+++++++++++++++++++++++++
I am a soft Tiger.
My tail wiggles like waves in the ocean.
I sneak up under the grass to stalk my prey.
I purr when I am happy.
I am a brave Tiger.

Melissa R.
Grade 4
+++++++++++++++++++++++++
I am a pink pig.
I am as fat as a bookshelf.
I wobble and tremble.
I don’t sweat.
I am a pig named Olga.

Nathan K.
Grade 4
+++++++++++++++++++++++++
I am a cute dog
Small as a Persian cat
I can go five miles per hour
I am a pug

Logan M.
Grade 4

If you signed up for a postcard and didn’t get one, please email me at macrush53-at-yahoo-dot-com. I will be getting a few final ones out(international next week).
Poetry Friday is at Katya’s Write.Sketch. Repeat.