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Archive for the ‘Poetry Friday’ Category

Poetry Friday is with Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference.

Nikki Grimes did not invent the Golden Shovel poetry form, but she may have perfected it.  After listening to this podcast on All the Wonders, I pulled out the advanced copy of One Last Word that Nikki graciously signed at NCTE 16.  To share the poems with my students, I copied the original poem written by a Harlem Renaissance poet alongside Nikki’s Golden Shovel poem.  These were high level poems that really pushed the thinking of my students.

The idea of a Golden Shovel is to take a line or stanza of a poem, write the words down the right margin and build your own poem around the words.  I had never done one myself, so I wasn’t really sure how well my students would do.  I gave my students the option to use a line from the poems I shared with them or choose another poem from the plethora of poetry books on the shelf.

Imagine my surprise when I selected No Images by William Waring Cuney that I found in Hip Hop Speaks to Children and realized that Nikki Grimes had tackled this same poem in One Last Word.  I felt a kinship to her with this serendipity.

With her lips, she
speaks volumes but does
only good, careful not
to disturb what they think they know
about her
She does not know her own beauty.

With her eyes, she
looks deeply, thinks
longingly about her
future in brown
skin.

If love has
an answer, then no
one can take away her glory.

–Margaret Simon

No one knows Everything
the world Is
a mystery, but digging deeper shows Everything
has a connection, a purpose, but What
is the meaning of life? Is
it just simply surviving, no! Lives are Meant
to be lived; hearts are meant To
be shared; care is supposed to Be
given. People don’t donate their emotions anymore, but they Will
regret this. Remember no one knows everything, so let it Be

After Lauryn Hill

by Emily, 6th grade

“The line I used came from the poem, For a Poet by Countee Cullen.  The line is And laid them away in a box of gold.” Lynzee, 2nd grade

 

I have hopes and
dreams. I have laid
all of them
my blossoming treasures away.

They are safe in
a box beside my heart; it is a
treasure too, my glittering box
full of
treasure, made of gold.

This is what my student Andrew, 4th grade, had to say about writing a Golden Shovel poem.

“When I was told to do a golden shovel poem I was like, ” Hm. That shouldn’t be so hard.” Then BOOM!! You get punched in the brain. So we have to take a whole line from a poem and use all the words and every sentence that you make has to end with one of the words. For example . The sentence that I chose was, “We move and hustle but lack rhythm.” The first sentence had to end with We. The second sentence had to end with move then so on so on. I have to admit that was the hardest poem I have to make. And it took the longest to come up with. I don’t know the exact time but it was more than twenty minutes. Usually my poems take about 5-10 minutes but this was a lot longer. But I think that might be my best poem.”

Thanks, Nikki, for the punch in the brain.  I think we are all better poets because of it.

 

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Poetry Friday is with Doraine at Dori Reads.

I joined a Facebook poetry writing group created by Laura Shovan.  We wrote poems during the month of February to ten found words from news articles. So many of us didn’t want it to end, so Laura extended the project. Each month one member puts up a prompt of 10 found words. This month Heather Meloche posted a spring poem by Rainer Maria Rilke.

EARLY SPRING

Harshness vanished. A sudden softness
has replaced the meadows’ wintry grey.
Little rivulets of water changed
their singing accents. Tendernesses,

hesitantly, reach toward the earth
from space, and country lanes are showing
these unexpected subtle risings
that find expression in the empty trees.
–Rilke

Heather’s selected words quickly came together in a poem for me.  The practice of writing poetry is a mystery.  Sometimes I can write, scratch out, rework, search for the just right word, and still end up with nothing worthy of sharing.  But this poem wrote itself.  I love it when that happens, so I continue to scratch each day and celebrate when the small miracles appear.

The Dance

Suddenly, my hardness of heart vanished
into the meadow of his eyes. My gaze traveled
rivulets of tender tears watering the earth.
Tree rises from the soggy ground like a goddess
holding her arms out in expression of pure joy.
We danced in the softness of her embrace.

–Margaret Simon

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Poetry Friday is with Irene and Live your Poem

On Wednesday I presented to my students Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s “Writing the Rainbow” poetry project.  We were on the letter C for our poem-a-day writing, so we wrote crayon cinquains.  The cinquain syllable pattern is 2,4,6,8,2.

Amy suggested this video of Mr. Rogers’ visit to a crayon factory.  The kids loved it, especially when the crayons appear in the tray like magic.

 

I will share a few of our poems here, but you can go to our Kidblog to see more.

 

 

Erin’s orchid bouquet

Erin chose the crayon “orchid” and drew the picture above. I encouraged my students to use metaphor in their poems. Erin imagined that the orchid bouquet was a crown for a woodland princess.

Orchid
Blooming Flower
Wonderful Pristine Crown
Perfect For A Woodland Princess
Wondrous
by Erin, 5th grade

When Madison colored in her journal with the crayon “Cadet Blue”, she saw a sky before the rain. I love how the name of the crayon informed her metaphor.

Rainy
Cadet Blue Sky
Thunder Beating on Drums
Lightning Marching Through the Clouds
Pouring…
by Madison, 3rd grade

I randomly picked a crayon from the box of 24 crayons and got “blue bell.” Of course, at first I thought about Blue Bell Ice Cream. Then I did a Google image search and found bluebell flowers. I drew a picture in my journal using the blue crayon. When Lynzee saw my picture, she said “It’s a fairy skirt.” So I stole that and used it in my poem. This form is fun to work with because it makes you think harder to get the syllables right.

Bluebell
a fairy skirt
balancing on a branch
hang like church bells in the steeple
Ring! Ring!
by Margaret Simon

Go to Amy’s padlet to see more of this crayon color poetry craze.

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Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for the Slice of Life Challenge.

Poetry Friday is with Amy at The Poem Farm

 

Today is the final day for the Slice of Life Challenge, and I have run out of words.  I took a tour of my Facebook feed to find some.  It was a good day for most.  I found happy, dreamy words and created a poem.  Thanks for taking this daily writing journey with me this month.  Now on to National Poetry Month and a Poem-a-Day.

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Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for the Slice of Life Challenge.

Poetry Friday is with Catherine at Reading to the Core

Happy Birthday, Billy Collins!  His 76th birthday was on March 22nd.  

I introduced my students to the poetry of Billy Collins with this poem, The Trouble with Poetry.  The poem gives good advice about writing poems.

“The trouble with poetry is…
it encourages the writing of more poetry…
the longing to steal,
to break into the poems of others
with a flashlight and a ski mask.”

I asked my students to steal a line and write their own poem.

The trouble with reading poetry is
that it’s so fun to read you can’t stop.

The trouble with poetry is
that you are to sit in the dark room
and wait for a flame of idea to pop up.

The trouble with poetry is
that Mrs. Simon makes us look for
what the poem means which is super hard.

The trouble with poetry is
thinking about ideas which is like hitting
yourself in the head with a rock.

The trouble with poetry is
that sometimes people steal ideas
and don’t give credit.

The trouble with poetry is
that you think your idea is bad
when it is really good.

The  trouble with poetry is
that you can have a writer’s block.

The trouble with poetry is
that you have to read it out loud to find mistakes.

by Andrew, 4th grade

 

Poetry Fills Me With Joy
Making me Float Above The Clouds
Like A Hot Air Balloon Soaring Above
After Being Filled With Hot Air
Like A Plane Being Filled With Fuel
And Taking Off
Like The First Letter Of Each Of These Words
Trying To Soar Off of The Screen

poetry fills me with sorrow
making me sink below the ground
like a balloon being popped
and crashing in the sea
like a plane crashing and burning
like the letters of this poem
trying to sink off the screen

By Kaiden, 6th grade

Billy Collins sarcastically expresses the feeling I get when I read poetry, and the reason I read poetry with my students.  Poetry breeds more poetry.  And I can’t think of anything better that a poem might do.  Thanks, Billy Collins, for encouraging my students to steal a line and try their own hands at writing poems.  

“ And how will it ever end?
unless the day finally arrives
when we have compared everything in the world
to everything else in the world,

and there is nothing left to do
but quietly close our notebooks
and sit with our hands folded on our desks.”

 

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Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for the Slice of Life Challenge.

Poetry Friday is with Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge

 

Do you know what a fractal is?  I had a vague idea, but certainly didn’t know enough to teach my students about them.  Nonfiction books are wonderful ways to introduce new concepts to students.  At the SCBWI MS/LA regional conference last weekend, I ran into Sarah Campbell.  Her most recent book caught my eye and my curiosity. I knew it was be a favorite in my classroom.

Sarah describes fractals through photographs and simple descriptions.

Every fractal shape has smaller parts that look like the whole shape. Fractals are everywhere in nature, and can form in different ways. A tree is a fractal. It starts with one shape that changes in the same way over, and over, and over again.

–Sarah Campbell, Mysterious Patterns: Finding Fractal in Nature

 

 

dill flowers by Sarah Campbell

I wondered aloud with my students if there would be a poetry pattern designed after fractals, as we have Zeno poems from J. Patrick Lewis and Fib poems from Greg Pincus and others that come from mathematical patterns.  We did a quick Google search and a poetry exercise evolved.

Fractal poem: Choose a root word.  List words that use that root.  Create a poem that uses one of your words in each line.

Frag

By Madison

A frag of hope
in the fragment of
a diamond,
sparkling
and flaring
like a
fragile
piece of
orange glass
a fragrance
of a delicious
orange.

Enlighten Poem

by Andrew

There is lightning in every storm
which is a light
of hope
and in every lighted room
there is faith.
And in every room is a child
enlightened by a night-light.
And all the moonlight that shines
on this Earth, there is life.

Hope

by Margaret Simon

Hope is in the seed
Food of hope within
Hoping light will shine
Enter my hopeful seed
Hopefulness, dance with me
Take hopelessness away
Grow more hopeful in each day
Hope is in the seed.

Click here to read my students’ posts on Kidblog.

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Poetry Friday is with Michelle at Today’s Little Ditty

 

 

I am blessed to have a group of friends who chat through Voxer.  This poem came out of a conversation on our chat.  It’s a found poem.  But the words were found from spoken words.  Their arrangement here is changed to make them flow together as a poem.  Creating a poem is a puzzle to be pieced together.  Creating a life is a puzzle to be pieced together.

 

My Presbyterian husband did his best
to make me feel guilty
about this irreverence,
this moving on.
I’m having a hard enough time
finding my voice,
finding a new perspective.

We all know things can change
in the blink of an eye.
I’m ready;
I’m creating a new story for myself
welcoming this grand adventure.

It’s all about revision,
another draft.
I want to learn something new
Maybe that’s asking too much.

We are all inching our way to that something–
who we are, who we are meant to be
So many things get in the way.
No one path will be the path.
Ultimately, we do the best we can.
I am making my way
as you are making yours.

–Margaret Simon, all rights reserved

 

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