April 12, 2016

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Teaching Stanzas Part 2

On Monday, I posted a lesson in teaching stanzas to elementary schoolers.

Using Elizabeth Coatsworth's "Swift Things Are Beautiful" as a model, my Northfield third graders chose a pair of opposites with which they could explore a particular theme. Since opposites have two distinct parts, it's easy for young writers to figure out their two distinct stanzas.

John offered the opposite "Extreme/Boring." I expected him to write about extreme sports, and ho-hum activities. Instead, he wrote two small character sketches. Look at the level of observation John uses in the details that describe his Extreme guy and Boring girl.

Poet:    John F.
Grade: 3
Teacher: Hilliard

Extreme and Boring

He is extreme since he has
All the video game systems known
To man. He can do a pop-a-wheelie
On his motorcycle, and can
Jump a moat that is filled with
Sharks, and also wears leather.

She is boring since she
Only listens to classical music,
Only reads. She also watches
Only educational TV, and she
Doesn’t eat any candy or
Soda, and wears sweater vests.

Ere connected the opposites to herself and something she enjoys -- sports. Her opposites were Win/Lose. I love how the taste of the snacks reveal the emotions our speaker feels.

Poet: Ere O.
Grade 3
Teacher: Taliano


When I win,
I go crazy.
I slap my friends on the back,
Cry with joy,
And the snacks are so yummy.
Dad is going to be sooo happy!
I just won a championship game.

When I lose,
I’m frustrated.
My head’s down low.
I’m crying.
My snacks have no taste.
My dad is mad.
I feel like I lost championship game.

Wonderful third grade educator Karen Hoge stopped by Leyla's desk during writing time. Leyla is new to the United States. She and Ms. Hoge decided a natural opposite for Leyla to write about would be her country of origin and her new home.

Poet: Leyla S.
Grade 3
Teacher: Hoge

Russia and America

Russia and America are
really different, you know.
Russia is very old and has
a lot of history.

America is new and
shiny and full of funny
things, and the one school
I like most of all.
It’s Northfield, the best
school in the world.

It's fascinating that one prompt had such varied responses from the kids. One of the best things about working as a visiting poet is seeing how young writers take the prompts and turn them into expressions of what's on their minds and in their hearts.

Great job to these poets! Thank you for giving me permission to post your work.
Tomorrow is Poetry Friday. I've got some delicious Northfield food poems to share. See you then.

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