Today we studied Francisco X Alarcon’s poem: Words are Bird as our mentor text. My students noticed that way words were described as birds, something that was new for them to think about. It took a bit of work and experimentation for the kids to find their own metaphors. Some that they came up with included: hand sanitizer is a warrior, trees are magical, and words are gum in your hair. I was a bit skeptical about that last one–and expressed that while I wouldn’t rule it out, it seemed like a difficult one to write for a word lover like me (and this student happens to be a word lover). While I don’t have the text in front of me to share with you all, let me tell you that she did manage it…in some interesting ways!
I may have taken the easy way out, writing my poem about poetry. Here’s the draft I wrote with my students today:
We continued our work with color and poetry today using Marilyn Singer’s poem Watercolors as our mentor text. Students loved the way she described black in such detail. I offered paint chips again today–some kids used them, some went in other directions.
My paint chips were the yellow tones of chamomile tea and the green of cabbage patch. Students had just been out in the garden when they came in to write. You can see that influence in my poem for today.
Today I pulled out the paint chips poetry box and spread paint chips all over the counter (face down). Students picked out 3, wrote the descriptive color words at the top of their notebooks and got ready to write! There were a few challenging words (thistle, cumulonimbus, potpourri) and when one third grader pulled pinot noir I suggested he go ahead and trade that word in. The words push students in interesting directions, although most end up not really featuring color.
Today’s rain kept us indoors–and listening seemed to be locked outside the classroom. Maybe that was another reason for the direction my own poem wanted to go. I pulled the colors/words: smoke signal, graphite, and potpourri And here is where my brain took me:
It’s not unusual to find old balloons when we walk on the beach. What was once bright and shiny, filled with Helium and lifted aloft in celebration becomes a beach hazard. Danger for sea creatures and birds, eventually becoming micro plastics that endanger us all. And while we find these damaged symbols of festivity along the shore, I always wonder where their journey began. Do they escape from backyards? Bob out of car windows? Escape from the small hands that delight in these bouncing beauties?
My poem today tries to capture that dichotomy in words…along with the photo of the mylar balloon we found onshore today.
I never need an excuse to walk on the beach, but if I did need one, low tide is the best of all reasons! Though gloomy and gray today, the tide was nice and low, giving a wide expanse for walking and exposing the intertidal zone–more commonly known as tide pools.
Most of the time when I peer into the tide pools I see sea anemones, mussels, and crabs, some sea grass and algae and not much else. We often talk about how rare it is to see a sea star–even though they are native to our area. Today as we walked near the tide pools, my husband noticed a woman putting what looked like sea star into a shallow pool. We headed in that direction.
Sure enough, there it was. A quite large–the size of my hand or maybe bigger–sea star was sitting in the pool. As we stopped and looked we could see the tiny tube feet moving, propelling the star–it was alive! So many questions–where did she find the star? Was it in one of these shallow pools? Was she rescuing it, returning it to the watery pool? Or did she pull it from a pool and was now returning it?
As we left, the tide was on the way up. I’m sure the sea star will find its way back to the place where it lives, somewhere where I seldom see them. I’m glad I got a close look today…so it could provide fodder for today’s poem.
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: