Archive for April, 2018

Right Poem, Wrong Assignment

April 24, 2018

Today I had my fourth graders write about something small, taken for granted, or unappreciated. We started with a poem I wrote and shared about lowly feet. Then it was time for the kids and me to get cracking.

I meant to do the assignment along with them. I really did. But I couldn’t think of ANYTHING to write. So after a few minutes of being blank (which felt like an eternity) it struck me that perhaps boredom itself goes unappreciated.

In I went to compose a poem elevating boredom through poetry. But then a different poem came out. It’s still one I kind of like, so I’m sharing it here.

The kids still have me on the hook for the real assignment, though.

Boredom

When my pencil
(poised above paper) awaits,
Anxious to do the bidding
Of my master/mind
Yet no command comes
A standoff:
As my hands
(eager to get moving) wonder
What is wrong with
The machine that moves them
And my mind
(unused to blankness) panics
When finding itself
In silence.

So my imagination
(relenting to this break in the action) sighs,
Succumbs to numbness,
Twiddles its thumbs
And waits
For a lost, lonely idea
To find its way
Home.

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More Important Things

April 23, 2018

Once again, I got to enjoy composing alongside my students today. This group of fourth graders was also working on “important” poetry, but we decided on pencils as our object. Here’s my contribution:

The Important Poem

The important thing about a pencil
Is that it is sharp.
It’s long, it’s yellow
And you can twirl it between fingers
If you teach yourself how.
It gets shorter and shorter, especially
When you sharpen it to the perfect point
And blow on it
Because that’s what you do.
And whether it is
Fresh-out-of-the-box-new, or
Worn down to a tiny
Eraserless nub that you
Pinch in your fingertips,
It will still take
All of the pictures
That circle your brain
And give them to the rest of the world.
But the important thing about a pencil
Is that it is sharp.

Important Poetry

April 20, 2018

Once again, my students and I are composing poetry, this time based on Margaret Wise Brown’s The Important Book. It’s such a charming read, and both the kids and I love how Brown takes ordinary things in our lives and sees the poetry within.

The kids wanted to write their poetry today about paper. So, I joined in. It may still be a work in progress, but I thought I’d send it out into the world for now. Have a good read!

The Important Thing

The important thing about paper
Is that it is thin.
We find it in any size
Or color.
We ball it and throw it.
We fold it and tear it.
It carries the weight of words
And stories
And lists
And lives.
But the important thing about paper
Is that it is thin.

On Feeling (not) Useful

April 19, 2018

Well, it certainly has been a while since I’ve stopped by. I felt the pull to write once again as I am watch my fifth graders craft allegorical stories.

Funny thing is, they’re the same group who formed trusted reader circles in fourth grade.

And here they are, working with a new set of trusted readers. They’re talking to each other about what’s going well, where they are struggling, and what they can do to improve their writing.

And me?

I’m here. They’ve all shared their work with me, and I can read every piece. I can comment on documents and confer with my students. They can also come to me if they want me to be one of their readers. And I will.

Right now, though? I’m just…enjoying the view.

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