The only hoops in this game are the ones children's poets jump through. In each round, organizer Ed DeCaria gives the "authletes" an assigned word. We have 36 hours to create a kid-friendly poem, using that word.
|This brilliant bracket belongs to and is the creation of the technically astounding Ed DeCaria.
It's up to readers to decide who moves through the the next round of the tournament. Ed, an educator and poet, has this handy list of things to look for in a strong poem.
From Think Kid, Think!:
Things to Consider in Making a Choice:
- How well the poem incorporates the authlete’s assigned word.
- Technical elements: meter, rhyme, form, shape, and other poetic standards.
- Creativity: wordplay, imagery, unusual approach, etc.
- Subtle elements that make the whole greater than the sum of its parts.
- Your overall response: emotional reaction such as admiration, tears, laughter, terror, or some indefinable feeling.
My word for this round was "speculate." The first thought that popped into my mind was, "speculate what's on my plate" -- maybe a mealtime poem.
I wrote three pages of notes for this poem.
|Page 1: Speculating about what's on the plate.
If it's a school lunch, it could be Rib-B-Que or mystery meat.
At home, maybe its unidentifiable leftovers for dinner.
|Page 2: more notes with potential-words Post-It.
specter (a ghost in this poem?)
speculate (with definition)
ruminate: to must upon, meditate
Notice that the word "flatulate" does not appear anywhere on my list. Hold that thought.
I played around with a few lines before submitting. The "radioactive fleas" became "radioactive peas" to better integrate the poem's food theme.
As much as I liked the speaker's personality coming through in the line "That's why I'm being so dramatic. Some vegetables make me asthmatic," I chucked it. The poem was starting to feel like a string of one-liners. For that reason, I also added some enjambment.
You can read the final poem, "A Bargain," here: http://www.thinkkidthink.com/6-speculate-vs-3-rigged/
However, before I sent the poem in, I once again doubted myself and wrote a totally different poem.
|Page 3: Another attempt.
The tournament is called March Madness
for good reason.
My brother complains,
"Why must you always speculate about normal things.
Grass it just green. There are stars in the sky.
Does it matter why?"
It matters to me! I want to know
if my skin absorbs light like a blade of grass
why don't I turn green? And how can it be
that atoms are in me, the grass and those faraway stars?
This poem was uniformally voted against by my husband, kid #1 and kid #2.
Remember the thought that I asked you to hold? The word speculate has some, let's call them interesting, rhymes. Which my very goofy parents quickly realized. They raced off to write their own "speculate" poems, rushing to see who could send me theirs first.
On dewy ground I perambulate,
Allowing my thoughts to fluctuate,
Now is the time to speculate,
On why I have to flatulate.
by Pauline Dickson and not Franklyn Dickson
I hesitate to speculate
About the impact to my fate
When we go to bed at eight
And all I do is flatulate!
By Franklyn Dickson
|Growing up in my family, it would have
been useful to have this sign in the house.
And remember, you can never be too old to have embarrassing parents.
Take it away, George Carlin! He shares a few fart jokes in this kid-appropriate clip.