Today we took a closer look at reading poems as poets- as people who are planning to make poems ourselves. I wanted to help kids focus their inquiry on some specific qualities of poems, so I walked them through this chart of questions.
My Day 1 poetry post received this invitation:
I shared Amy’s site and some of her poems with the kids. They loved hearing her read her own work! Many of the kids were intrigued by Amy’s monthlong exercise in writing a daily poem about the same topic.
We also talked a little about the poet’s lens, which is one tiny linguistic adjustment I made to use our unit with 4th grade. When they went to write, students chose from a variety of options: list possible topics, try out topics to write a bunch of poems about (per Amy’s invitation), start playing around with poem ideas, or anything else they felt could help them get started.
Well, it didn’t quite go as I had planned, but I guess things happen!
Today I read and showed the class a poem I first heard as a child- Fog, by Carl Sandburg. From the first time I read it, the image of the fog on little cat feet captured my imagination. I couldn’t pin it down, the image always changed. The silence and weightlessness of a cat materialized for me, like fog, in a form that shifted from opacity to hazy translucence. At first, I told the class, I was curious. I had to read it, and read it again. I looked for the word or line that gave me this easy but unbalanced sensation. I couldn’t find it. All the words were just regular words.
Today was day one of the NYS ELA test, which has particularly hight stakes for NYC fourth graders. They have to APPLY to middle school. While many middle schools are moving over to an admissions method that holds a student’s body of work more valuable than their fourth grade test scores, most have not yet made that change.
I saw Chris Lehman‘s tweet and post about a possible poetic antidote to the testing season blues, and…
So today I put out a bunch of books and invited students to explore, peruse, examine, and otherwise investigate the variety. We just had a quiet and relaxing time. Tomorrow we’ll talk a bit more about what we’re noticing and wondering. I’m not exactly sure where we’ll go next, but I’ll have the resource with which I’m most familiar:
And hopefully the occasional virtual author visit from poet and coauthor extraordinaire, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater.
Some other resources that will help us immerse ourselves in poetry are…
AND OF COURSE…