Today we learned about William Carlos Williams and studied his iconic poem: This is Just to Say. Students were quite excited about the idea–especially when I encouraged them to be playful. They apologized to their dogs, to chairs, to brothers, and more.
Me…my apology poem was dedicated to my feathered friends: snowy egrets.
On day 20 of the poem-a-day challenge, we tackled the list poem. Using Eileen Spinelli’s Creativity as our mentor text, we studied how this list poem was constructed. Students noticed the list of ordinary objects, pointed out the rhyme, saw the punctuation and got ready to create their own lists.
Often, I base my poems on a photo I’ve taken. But today, I decided to write my list poem about poetry…and found myself putting bits of language from my students into it (including that rat from yesterday!). Here’s my first attempt:
A week or so ago I experimented with 6-room poetry with the poem Yellow Bird. Today my students and I tackled this approach–using a moment from our weekend as the topic for the poem. I wish you could have heard my students’ efforts–the one about the dead rat (really?) described as a mountain of fur, the outdoor haircut, and more.
Of course I wrote alongside the kids, using my unexpected dousing by a rogue wave on my walk on Sunday as my moment for the poem. And here it is:
I’m always surprised when I find ladybugs crawling around on the beach. What brings them there? The shoreline just doesn’t seem like a place they would be! But then again, seeing ladybugs always fills me with wonder. These tiny perfect things are such fun to watch and to photograph.
Today my students were introduced to odes. We began with the picture book, Ode to an Onion: Pablo Neruda and His Muse by Alexandria Giardino. The book shows Neruda finding inspiration in an ordinary onion from his garden.
After reading and discussing the book and thinking about the ways ordinary things are often overlooked and under appreciated, my students and I headed out to the school garden in search of the ordinary, knowing we would return to the classroom to write after snapping a few photos.
While Neruda’s original Ode to an Onion was a bit intimidating–it is a LONG poem for 8 and 9 year olds–they were excited to elevate the ordinary subjects they identified. We had poems about a roly poly, a stump, ice plant, a bucket, pea pods, a pine cone, and so much more. My own featured dandelions.
Today was my first day back with my full class, full day, now on a 5-day a week schedule. I’ve challenged them (and myself) to writing a poem-a-day during the month of April. Today I started by reading them Little Black Crow by Chris Rascka–a picture book written entirely of questions. And we revisited the poem Yellow Weed by Lilian Moore–a question poem. Then we set off to write our own question poems.
I love writing with my students–and I love when they make no hesitation before beginning to write. And better yet, when after 7 minutes, I asked who would like to share their question poem–more than half the class shot their hands into the air! What fun to hear their question poems and the variety of topics they picked to write about. And they were not surprised at all to hear than I chose to write my question poem about snowy egrets.
So here is my poem:
Feathery friend, what brings you to the beach today?
Is it the tasty orange shrimp in the low tide soup?
Feathery friend, do those bright yellow feet
bring critters near as you stomp and stir?
Are they a beacon shining bright in the salty sea grass?
When you spread your delicate white wings
do you feel like a plane
or a kite lofted into the gentle sea breeze?
Feathery friend, what do you think when you see
my eye pressed to my camera lens?
Am I intruder or a familiar-faced friend?
Feathery friend, where do you go when you leave the beach?
Sometimes a photo holds a story–or wants to be a poem. This one that I took over the weekend keeps speaking to me. I’m not sure yet whether this is the story or poem it wants to be…but maybe it is a start.
Today was one of those gloomy, gray days. There wasn’t quite rain, but the air was saturated and left a fine mist of droplets on everything…including me. A busy work day left me leaning on a short form for today’s poetry: Haiku (with some literary license).