Wednesday, June 4, 2014

In Residence: Imagine That

Today, I meet with the Northfield third grade team to evaluate our residency. We ask ourselves:

  • How did it go?
  • Did we meet the goals of the grant?
  • Did the students enjoy the workshops?
  • What could we do better or try out next year?

My favorite part of the evaluation meeting is sharing anecdotes about what the teachers observed. I love hearing about students who aren't seen as strong writers, but who have a chance to shine during our poetry workshops.

I get to share my favorite moments of the residency also. I'll never forget how excited Chris became when I showed his class the non-fiction picture book GREECE! ROME! MONSTERS! illustrated by Calef Brown

Mr. Poe and Mr. Shakespeare are fans of
Greece! Rome! Monsters! -- a picture book
encyclopedia of creatures from classical mythology.
Chris could not wait to get his hands on this book and was thrilled when I loaned it to his classroom for a few days.

I brought the book to third grade for three reasons:

1) Our model poem for the day was by author/illustrator Calef Brown.

2) Our workshop prompt was to focus on the imagination. GREECE! ROME! MONSTERS! allowed us to talk about how creative the human imagination is, and has been for thousands of years, to think up all of these cool creatures.

3) Mythology is enjoying huge popularity with elementary and middle schoolers, in large part due to two series of books: Harry Potter and Percy Jackson.

The imagination lesson has four basic parts:

1. Read and discuss "Eliza's Jacket" by Calef Brown (from POLKA BATS AND OCTOPUS SLACKS). You can read the poem at this post.

2. Imagine -- if you could put anything in your jacket pocket, what would it be? A super power? A magical object? A sunny day? (Two rules on this step. No money. No wishes. Anything students want to buy or wish for goes directly in that pocket.)

3. Write the pocket poem.

4.  When students have finished drafting their poems, there is one more step. Make pockets!

The pockets are designed to look like the back pocket of your jeans, with the poem on white paper to look like a hankie. The teachers put up a display of the pockets.

Our students *love* interacting with poetry in this way. They get to look at the decorations on a pocket, pull out the poem, and what they read is a surprise -- almost like cracking open a fortune cookie to read the message.


Here are some of the Northfield third grade poets' pocket poems, with a few highlights of Friday's open house celebration. Each of today's pocket poems contains an imaginary creature.

Pocket Poem
by Chris W.

I have a jacket,
a jacket made of pockets.
In pocket #565
I have a mini to giant mammoth to
help me survive in the northern
part of Canada and Alaska.
I would take it out when I reach north Canada
and Alaska in winter by
magic passageway from U.S.A. to
Canada and Alaska,
so I could explore northern
Canada and Alaska during
the cold, frigid winter and
use it [mammoth] to carry my survival
kit and to ride on and to
snuggle with to keep me warm.


Pocket Poem
by Ellie R.

I have a jacket,
a jacket made of pockets.
In pocket number 2
I have something blue.
It has glowing red eyes.
It likes to eat pies.
It looks kind of weird.
It has a long beard.
But he's my best friend
and that won't end
because he's very kind.
Sometimes I'm not, but he doesn't mind.
He comes out of my pocket when
I'm feeling sad
and if I start to get mean
he won't get mad.
I have a monster in pocket
number two
and he likes to eat
lollipops -- ones that are blue.

Reading pocket poems.
Pocket Poem
by Julia L.

I have a jacket,
a jacket made of pockets.
In pocket #29
I have a robot that can do anything!
He's made of metal, square head.
He looks well fed.
He only listens to me,
and I bet he can even sing!
He doesn't smell, so my mom won't care.
He can eat too, he also shares!
He smells danger,
has X-ray vision.
Getting a robot, it's a good decision.

I ask him to come out when my homework is hard.
He even gave me a birthday card!
He can sew, clean, and even book.
He reads me my favorite book!
He cheers me up when I'm feeling sad,
and he calms me down when I get mad.

He makes my life better.
He's my best friend.
He's the awesomest robot in the world,
I'm pretty sure.

These poems were posted with permission. Look for the final three Northfield poems -- we have a few more pockets to share -- on Poetry Friday.

1 comment:

Tabatha said...

Love these pocket poems -- so inventive! Not only inventive, but practical, too, with mammoths who keep you warm, and creatures and robots who cheer you up. I like the details, e.g. blue lollipops, survival kits, and being read to.