Archive for August 28th, 2015

Poetry Friday round-up with Sylvia at Poetry for Children

Poetry Friday round-up with Sylvia at Poetry for Children

Catch your breath

If you are a teacher, here is another poetry book to add to your collection. I am a big fan of Laura Purdie Salas. She has a good voice for children. This new book is small and rich. I have been doing an activity every few days or so with my students. The activities only take about 15 minutes of your writing time, and yet they build strong poetry muscles.

I recently listened to a podcast, On Being, about creativity in which the neuropsychologist Rex Jung suggests that the way to creativity is through practice. What this suggests to me as a teacher who wants creativity to stay in my curriculum is I must model the practice daily.

Laura’s book introduced my students to the author Thanhha Lai who wrote Inside Out & Back Again. I loved that book, but never thought of using it as a mentor text for writing poetry. Using a short 4-lined verse from the book, we see imagery and the craft move of showing, not telling. How can you show an emotion without using the emotion word?

I am sharing two poems today, one from Jacob (2nd grade) and one from Vannisa (6th grade). Each of these students wrote about their younger sisters using imagery to describe an emotion. We talked about how the words you use not only describe an image, but they also inform the tone (emotion).

When I re-read the pages to prepare for this post, I realized that Laura does not use the words imagery and tone in her “Your Turn” writing activity; however, through this simple poetry lesson, I can tell the students that they are practicing creative moves that writers make.

My sister’s face lights up
like a nightstand lamp.
You can tell by her eyes,
though they don’t crinkle,
that she is smiling.
Her toothless smile giggles.
My sister’s tiny smile.

–by Vannisa, 6th grade

My sister's face lights up!

My sister’s face lights up!

My baby sister’s face
opens up
like a confetti egg.
I appeared out of nowhere
and said, “Rahhh!”
She wants me
to do it again.

–Jacob, 2nd grade

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