Yes! Not no.
Fast or slow?
Stop. Then, go!
The Northfield third graders have been working on opposite poems. The full lesson is available here.
How do we get these emerging writers to think beyond writing a simple list of objects? Our model poem, "Swift Things Are Beautiful," was about fast and slow things in nature. Why didn't Elizabeth Coatsworth just put together her poem like this:
Swift Things Are Beautiful (List Version)
Swift Things Are Beautiful: And Slow Things Are Beautiful:
Swallows, deer, lightning, Sunset, waves, ember,
rivers, meteors, wind, opening flower, ox.
|This weekend, the Preakness is running in Baltimore.|
Look for strong-withered horses!
Many of the students write animal poems: fast/slow, big/small, water/land all lend themselves to animals opposites. I ask these students to give each animal an action. I have an old student sample to read as a model. My favorite line in that poem is "crabs are pinching."
|The Blue Crab is Maryland's State Crustacean.|
Find a list of state symbols here.
Animals Big and Small Can Be Clever
Big animals can be clever:
Elephants picking up grass with their nose,
Whales squirting water out like a hose,
Giraffes picking leaves from tall trees.
Small animals can be clever:
Mice sneaking away with cheese,
Hummingbirds moving their wings
As fast as a cheetah in the grass,
Grasshoppers jumping around.
And, as I point out to the students, it's fine if two students write on the same topic. Each person's mind works in unique ways, so the resulting poems will be different. Here is Sam's take on big and small animals.
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Some Animals Are Big
Some animals are big:
Elephants stomping in the mud,
Whales swimming through the water,
Rhinos charging at each other,
Hippos diving into the water.
Some animals are small:
Mice running through the grass,
Beetles flying in the air,
Chipmunks digging into trees,
Peacefully in the water.
Ashlyn's Happy-Sad poem starts as a simple list of items. However, in stanza two, her poem moves beyond the list, taking a turn with the word "If."
|The Diamondback Terrapin is the Maryland State Reptile.|
Happy Things Are Wonderful.
Happy things are wonderful:
When you get an A+ on a test
Or get a massage for your feet.
You win your soccer game
And you get a surprise treat.
None of these things are lame.
Sad things are despicable.
If you hurt yourself
Or lose a toy
And cry for help
Yet no one bothers to come.
If this ever happens
Or comes to your mind,
Just think of the good things
And you will be fine.
Tomorrow, the last group of opposites poems. Then we will build on two elements from this lesson -- brainstorming opposites and using action to describe -- for a workshop on portrait poems.