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Archive for the ‘Poetry Friday’ Category

Poetry Friday is with Keisha at Whispers from the Ridge

Photo by Kim Douillard

I follow Kim Douillard’s blog. She posts a weekly photo challenge. Last week’s challenge was “Path.” To me, her post was poetic, so I took words and lines and created a found poem.

Path
a found poem from Thinking through my Lens

The snail’s wet trail caught my eye.
I remember Emerson’s words–
go where there is no path
and leave a trail.

I find the sculpture;
Its path formed of trash
her artistic eye transformed
into beauty.

My own path
ebbs and flows like the tides.
I follow moments of sunshine
to clouds echoing the waves.

Seabirds above
follow an invisible path.
In the sky, agile pelicans
intersect the line of a hang glider

Causing me to wonder
what magical paths
await if we are willing
to look.
–Margaret Simon

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Poetry Friday is at Teaching Authors.

If you’ve been following my National Poetry Month project, you know I’ve been teaching a poetry form each day to my students. I am learning so much about the benefits of writing a poem each day, but most of all, I glow when my students skip into class each day asking what are we writing today?

Writing a poem each day stretches your writing muscles. Like in a yoga practice, you find new muscles that you didn’t know you had. Word play leads us to discover deeper meanings for every day language.

Today I am sharing two of my poems from this week. The kyrielle is probably the most challenging form we have tried. Noah wrote a Kyrielle about dirt. I know I’ve reached my boys when they can adapt any poetry form to a typical boy topic.

Kyrielle Poem on Dirt

A substance covering the ground.
Laying on the ground all around.
Not making any sound at all.
Tracked by dirty feet down the hall.
Noah, 5th grade

For list poems, I turned to Falling Down the Page by Georgia Heard. We read the poems that started with “Things to do if you are…”

My student, Jacob, shouted, “Sky!” Then Madison said, “Always change colors!” and this poem was born.

Things to do if you’re the Sky

Always change colors.
Hold onto clouds.
Sparkle like diamonds.
Water the garden.
Dance with the wind.
Paint treetops green.
Wake up the morning glories.
Invite birds over for tea.
Make every day beautiful.
—Margaret Simon (with a little help from Jacob and Madison)

Yesterday, Michelle Heidenrich Barnes featured Madison’s cinquain on Today’s Little Ditty. Madison wrote her poem after pulling a cadet blue crayon from the crayon box. My students are feeling like “real” poets this month. Thanks, Michelle for the affirmation.

You can read more of my students’ poem on our Kidblog site.

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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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