April 12, 2016

Friday, May 23, 2014

In Residence: Poetry Zoo

Welcome to the Poetry Zoo!

This zoo doesn't have cages. Lazy lions, grazing buffalo, and playful frogs populate the stanzas of this destination, as imagined by my Northfield third graders. Just look out for the ferocious T-Rex.

You won't find a T-Rex at our local Baltimore Zoo.
It's a beautiful Poetry Friday, so after you stroll through our animal opposite poems, you'll want to visit the gift shop for some poetry souvenirs. Violet Nesdoly -- this week's Poetry Friday host -- has shelves of poems and posts for you to browse at her blog.

Put on your walking shoes, and let's see the animals.

[If you'd like to read about my opposite poems workshop, start with Tuesday's post.]

As you can see, the third graders were working on description. Although these are list poems, the poets gave each animal an action or a description.

Carnivores are Strong
by Noah W.

Carnivores are strong:
The lazy male lion
that waits for the females.
The ferocious T-Rex
that shows no mercy.
The beautiful wolf
that howls at the moon.

And herbivores are strong:
The fast antelope
that runs from the cheetah.
The huge buffalo
that grazes in the savanna.
The huge elephant
that carries huge loads.

We spent a little bit of time talking about poetic techniques like alliteration, but many students use these skills naturally in their writing. Mary's poem has some beautiful alliterative lines.

The Exciting World
by Mary S.

Under the water is exciting:
when the sneaky crocodiles feed on the fish,
when the whales start talking and the smart dolphins start diving,
when the sharks are quick in the waves
and when the eels start swimming freely.

Out on land is exciting:
when the fast cheetah and the mighty lion
fight for the grazing buffalo,
when the swift horse goes running wild,
when the courageous falcon flies over its prey,
and when the powerful elephants start
trumpeting away.

Just as a real zoo has a map, showing how the exhibits have themes, we used stanzas to organize our ideas. Charlotte's poem keeps the wild animals separate from the tame ones.

Wild Animals Are Dangerous
by Charlotte

Wild animals are dangerous:
the lion full of fangs,
the powerful giraffe,
the rearing snake,
the charging bison
and the stalking cheetah are all dangerous.

Tame animals are safe:
the friendly, playful frog,
the racing rabbit,
the hopping robin,
and the lovable dolphins are all safe.

Thanks, Northfielders, for giving me permission to share your poems. I hope everyone enjoyed today's trip to the Poetry Zoo! We're spending the weekend at another Baltimore institution -- Balticon. It's the annual Science Fiction and Fantasy convention, with amazing workshops for both writers and fans. See you there.


jama said...

So glad I dropped by your Poetry Zoo today. Great job by all the student poets. :)

BJ Lee said...

I love "the ferocious T-Rex that shows no mercy"

Violet N. said...

Your students are wonderful poets! Thanks again to them, and you, for this zoo collection.

Linda B said...

I love the way it's all things zoo,Laura,and students used their knowledge to create vivid images! Must have been lots of fun.

Karin Fisher-Golton said...

What a great idea. I love how the first two are about opposite subjects with the same attribute. Seems like a good lesson in itself.

I love the sounds and the grandness of "the courageous falcon flies."

Mary Lee said...

A fun trip to the zoo, indeed!

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

Work to be proud of, for the students and for Mrs. Poems who guides them so expertly. Love the "lion full of fangs."