April 12, 2016

Friday, May 4, 2012

We Got the Beat: Fibonacci Poems Part 2

Happy Poetry Friday!

I am in residence at Northfield Elementary this month. We started the visit with Fibonacci poems. Today, I am sharing Part 2 of the lesson. You will find Part 1 here, with some student poems.

Fibs were invented, as a poetic form, by Poetry Friday blogger Gregory K. Pincus (GottaBook). The blogosphere went kind of crazy for them, enough so that the New York Times featured Gregory and the Fib trend.

Even though the form is only four years old, there are e-zines devoted to Fibonacci poems: Fibetry,  The Fib Review. Here are some Fibs I liked at The Science Creative Quarterly.

Yesterday, I shared Robert Bly's poem "Conversation with a Mouse" with the students. This helped me introduce the idea that a poem can move from very small (a mouse's nest) to extremely large (the Milky Way galaxy) in just a few lines.
From Atlas of the Universe. The Milky Way's shape
follows the Fibonacci pattern.

Next, we read some of  Sarah C. Campbell's book Growing Patterns as I introduced the math concept behind the Fibonacci sequence. We also looked at examples of the pattern in nature.

We're almost ready to write. I adapted Gregory's blog post on Fibonacci poems to create a handout.

We read a few sample Fibs. Since I am asking the students to write about something science-related, I used the fib "Moon." This was written at Patrick Henry Elementary school with my friend, Karren Alenier as the resident poet.


……...................And shiny
…….................Seen at night
……...............Different phases
............The many whitish gray craters
Looking like a sweet old man smiling happily down

Thanks to Karren for permission to post the poem. You'll find more Fibonacci info at poet Karren Alenier's blog.

Next, we wrote a Fib as a whole class. I created a form for this step. It looks something like:

Give it a try -- grow a Fib poem.

A Fib is 6 lines long (longer, if you wish) and only has 20 syllables.


Keep going?

As we worked, I reviewed the math with the class. (0 = blank line, line 1 has 1 beat, add 0+1=1 so line 2 has 1 beat, add 1+2=3, 2=3=5, and so on -- always adding the syllables in the two previous lines to figure out the number of beats in the next line.)

A lot of us were counting on fingers and tapping on desks while we did this.

Ms. Pruitt's class has been studying pendulums. I like the rocking feeling in their class Fib.

makes round trips
gravity pulling
swinging back and forth, on and on

From wikipedia
Ms. Hoge's class was ambitious, taking their scientific poem to eight lines.

Millions and millions
The sun is a very big star
The Earth is lone little spot in the Solar System
The same matter form the stars helps make up part of human beings, like Mrs. Hoge's class!

The class soon figured out that the initial five lines of the poem have a minimal feel -- the economy of language we talk so much about in poetry. From there, the lines become expansive. The poem begins to feel like a jigsaw puzzle, fitting all the pieces together and squeezing in extra syllables to get the right number of beats.

Last, the children wrote their own Fibs.

Amaiya B's Fib

now little
going to grow big
growing big and pretty petals
now a big, pretty flower with a long, leafy stem
My seeds blow away now through the air. I wonder where they go, far or right next to me.

Gavin F's Fib

a type
of weather,
it's all wet outside
walking in mud getting shoes dirty

Ellis K's Fib

falling leaves
roots drinking water
animals live inside of trees
I am swinging on a rope swing from its long branches
green, yellow, red and brown leaves falling down and people jumping into piles of leaves

Shelby K's Fib

fruit blossoms
redwood, maple
calms my nerves and fun to climb up

Have you ever tried growing an avocado by
placing the seed in water?
Thank you to the families of these students for allowing me to share their wonderful poems.

You'll find links to more Poetry Friday posts at Elaine's blog, Wild Rose Reader.


Katya said...

What a neat form for a science poem. I'll have to share that with my son's fourth grade teacher because they write science poems in 4th grade.

Author Amok said...

Hi, Katya. It's a great form to share with elementary schoolers. Though not the most "poetic" of forms, Fibs teach a good sense of rhythm. Kids will also feel how a short poetic line is staccato and a longer line often has a smoother feel.

Andromeda Jazmon said...

I love these student poems! What a great lesson you've put together. And my son and I did try growing an avocado pit. We got it to root in water after about three weeks. We transplanted it to dirt in a pot. We put the pot outside in the sun to wait for the leaves to grow up. The next day it was GONE. I think a squirrel thought we had put it out for his lunch. Now we are going to have to make guacamole again and start over!

Author Amok said...

Hi, Andi. Thanks for stopping by. My mother used to grow avocados when we were kids, but they never seemed to make it out of the root/water stage. Once they were potted, they died. At least yours went to a good cause.

Robyn Hood Black said...

These two posts are wonderful, Laura! I can tell the kids enthusiastically embraced the challenge by the amazing work they came up with. Amaiya covered so much ground in hers, like your Bly poem in the previous post. (And yay for my Sarah's book; we're proud to have her here in SCBWI Southern Breeze.)

Tara said...

Seeing what your kids were able to do, and how much they obviously enjoyed the process, I am going to have to do this with my sixth graders, too. Maybe something Civil War-ish, which is where we are in Social Studies. Thank you!

Author Amok said...

Hi, Robyn. Please send Sarah a shout-out from me. I love her book and was so excited to share it with the third graders.

Tara -- let me know how it goes. It might be interesting, with older kids, to talk about the snowball/avalanche feeling a fibonacci poem creates. That can happen during wartime, too, events gathering steam and rolling out of control.

Linda B said...

I too am interested in this for a lesson in both third and fifth graders this coming week. All the poems are terrific and I especially enjoyed seeing those of your students. What a neat challenge, to craft small, but talk about big topics. Thank you!

Author Amok said...

Linda, thanks! Let me know how it goes. Over ten years of doing these residencies, I have learned that working one or two simple tasks (counting syllables, sticking to a theme) works well for E.S. kids. From there, I can add layers to our conversation about poetry.

GatheringBooks said...

What a thoroughly inspired way to combine poetry, science, math, and the form/structure/unyieldinglyperfectbeauty of Fibonacci. Thank you for sharing the poetry of your poetry-apprentice! :) I enjoyed this post greatly. Will share with my ten year old daughter, I have a feeling she'd be as equally fascinated. :)

Betsy Hubbard said...

Loved how your post progressed from ideas, to teaching points, to past experience, all the examples. Just all great stuff!

I'm Jet . . . said...

Laura, these are great. I taught elementary school enrichment for years, and loved Fibonacci numbers. Wish I'd heard of this form back then. Actually, wish I'd thought of it!

Great post!


Tabatha said...

Hi Laura, my laptop wasn't letting me post on your blog yesterday. I wanted to compliment you on your fascinating lesson! I esp. like Amaiya's fib.

Author Amok said...

Thanks, ladies. I'm glad you liked the lesson. The third graders were very excited about the math/science/poetry combination. And the poems were something they could handle with ease. Nice way to start the residency.

Ruth said...

Great post! It's fun to see what students come up with.