After reading a lot of notebooks on Friday, I noted that many students were feeling comfortable playing with sounds- rhyme, rhythm, line breaks, phonemes… It seemed like a good time to shine a spotlight on content- poets make conscious, deliberate decisions about sound in service of meaning. I referred to our chart of ways to read poems as a poet.
From here, we extrapolated a simple list of ingredients for poems.
I showed them how I might write about a strong feeling I have- I love my son, Huck, so much. I’m not going to make a poem that says, “I love Huck. I love him so much. I really love him. A lot. I love Huck.” (Yes, a poem might go through a lot of work and end up there because of decisions that I made, but it’s not likely. For me.) What I might do instead is think about the specific moments, objects, or images that hold that feeling. Perhaps the image of an intricate lego structure that he made by himself while I was reading in the next room, or the moment that morning when I crawled into his bed to wake him up by walking my fingers up his arm, over his shoulder, and into the crook of his neck, and how I wanted to drink up his giggles. I wanted to show my students how I could show strong, universal feelings by writing about specific, concrete and personal details.
This can be pretty abstract. I imagine I’ll see lots of kinds of approximation, and that the next few days will revolve around small group work.
Here are a bunch of different ways that kids explored the idea of finding meaning today. I see them trying to get at something big inside themselves in a few ways. I’ll be more specific over the next few days, but these samples are helping me plan small groups.