Archive for October 16th, 2012

Fall Poetry

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Teaching gifted students means I teach multiple grade levels at the same time. This can be both a joy and a challenge. Some of my students come to me for their language arts block, some for math. My two second graders come to me at the very end of the day. They usually come in to an already active classroom.

One day last week when the second-graders came in, I had all the other students seated at the table writing fall poetry. On the projection screen was a collage of fall pictures for inspiration. We had collected words and were in the writing process. Tobie sat right down to write, but couldn’t find his journal, so someone found him a loose leaf page to use. Emily, however, was intrigued by the projector and started making finger puppets in the light. I sent her away to a desk in the classroom. I wanted to make sure she was behaving herself and that she wasn’t too upset about being punished, but when I looked up, I saw her perched on the edge of the farthest desk in the room quietly writing. I left her alone. Later after our lively sharing session, I encouraged the students to post their poems on our kidblog. Emily posted her poem. The next day I got an email from her mother praising me for inspiring Emily’s poem.

As I reflect on my classroom, I often worry about the constant activity and many levels going on at the same time. Sometimes, I have so many balls in the air, I just know one will clobber me in the head at any time. What I realize about writing workshop is that even when it doesn’t seem to be working, it is working. It’s about making writing an integral part of any day. It’s about safety. And it’s about providing the space for creativity to happen. And ultimately, it is about the students themselves.

I am posting Emily’s fall poem today. Originally, there were few periods and no line breaks, but I took the opportunity to have a little mini-lesson with her about this, so you are seeing the revised version.

Fall Leaves

I walk down the path.
It’s morning. The sun hasn’t even risen yet.
I watch the wind carry the leaves across the valley.
I see pumpkins in the pumpkin patch.
I love the colors falling from the trees.
I smell the sweet smell of sugarcane.
The sun is rising and getting warmer.
I feel the breeze. I find some leaves.
I pile up the leaves, and I jump in!
I love the fall,
the best season in October.

Massachusetts in October where leaves turn golden. Courtesy of my friend, Leon, who is traveling and posting beautiful pictures of real fall.

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