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Posts Tagged ‘Nikki Grimes’

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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Dig poetry

 

My friend who doesn’t write sent me the joke poem above.  My response was “You understand me. I dig deep.”  I have committed myself to write everyday this month about poetry.  I am not promising an original poem each day (but who knows?). To share our poetry activities this month, we are using #digipoetry.  Leigh Anne (@teachr4) made this button for our blog posts.  Feel free to use it, too.

 

DigiPoetry buttonWednesday is a good day to wonder.  I wandered over to Wonderopolis and found a wonderful article about dolphins and echo-location.  To think about writing a poem, I collected words and phrases from the article.  After many false starts (rough drafts), I read about Nikki Grimes’ tanka contest.    Nikki Grimes’ contest for kids in grades 3-6: Tanka writing

Sometimes when writing doesn’t come easily, a form gives you the structure you need to create.  A tanka is similar to a haiku. There is no rhyme and a syllable count of 5, 7, 5, 7, 7.   Nikki Grimes has a book coming out in May, Poems in the Attic, which includes tanka.  (Click the link for more information.)

I used PicMonkey to create this image poem.

dolphin-203875_640

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Join the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge!

Join the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge!

My students write reader responses each week to whatever book they are reading. At the beginning of the year, I placed some questions in their binders to prompt these responses. I find that week after week, they select the same questions to answer.

A few weeks ago, I read Dana Murphy’s post on Two Writing Teachers about reader responses. She wrote about three different strategies she teaches her students, lifting a line, character maps, and visual note-taking. I posted these ideas on our class blog and have discussed each strategy with my students.

Words with wings

I love the connections I can make with authors online. I follow Nikki Grimes on Facebook, so I saw a post about her talk on Booktalk Nation (which, sadly, I had to miss) along with the opportunity to purchase a signed copy of Words with Wings. The book arrived last week. Vannisa is a fan of verse novels and picked it up immediately. She decided to lift a line to write her own poem about the main character. When I talked to Vannisa about her poem, she told me she was interested in how the character herself was also just words on the page.

I know a girl
who waits and listens.

For her daydreams,
she awaits.

Who comes from
a family
that doesn’t
daydream.

Waiting
for words
to take her
high into the sky
or her mind.

Tell her to stop,
she won’t

Who comes from
words

Locked
in her mind.

No one even knocks
on the door
for a visit.

Who comes from
a book.

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