Posts Tagged ‘student poems’

Brenda Davis Harsham is hosting Poetry Friday today.

We talked about descriptive poetry, writing so that your reader can visualize your topic.  I have the privilege of working with small groups of students, so I am able to collaborate with an individual student on a poem.  Chloe wanted to write about a swan.  I shared a poem from my book Bayou Song that was about the white ibis.  The poem was in a triptych form.  Chloe and I wrote a poem using the same form writing description from a photograph of a swan.  In the process, she learned the word cygnet, and we both learned that a swan tucks her cygnets under her wings.

Swan Triptych

It’s the way
white wings swim
in the crawfish pond.

It’s the way
mother swan protects
her cygnets
tucked into her wings

It’s the way
the beautiful swan
is reflected on the water.

by Mrs. Simon and Chloe

With Landon, we used metaphor dice.  The dice turned up “My soul is a silent trophy.”  I suggested changing trophy to garden.  He loved the idea and guess what? The line was eight syllables long, perfect for the first line of a zeno. (See more about zenos here.) I asked him, “What did you see in the garden?” He remembered a praying mantis hiding in a bush.  As we continued to discuss the word choices for this poem, we decided to break the rule about the one syllable words rhyming.  Sometimes when you try to rhyme, you lose meaning.

Garden Zeno

My soul is a silent garden
Praying Mantis
The small garden
is their

by Landon and Mrs. Simon

Collaborating with students on poems or even having students work together can result in rich conversations around word choice and produce a poem that all are pleased with.


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Click over to Steps & Staircases for more Poetry Friday.


Inspired by Project 1,2,3 originated by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and continued by her daughter, Lisa challenged us to make a metaphorical poem from an object/image.  Many of us took the challenge.  To see more poems, click over to Lisa’s blog to read more posts.

I brought this idea to my students and combined it with a lesson from Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s book Poems are Teachers, “Make Metaphors” on page 136. We looked at model poems and talked about how an object can become a metaphor.  In one class, I passed around a paintbrush and said, “A paintbrush is…”  In another, I blew bubbles and said, “Bubbles are like…”  Each of these inspired beautiful responses from my kiddos.

  • A paintbrush is your imagination.
  • A paintbrush paints your path.
  • Bubbles are sparkling rainbows.
  • Bubbles are in orbit flying around Saturn.

As I wrote with my students, I grabbed a pink marker and made three swirls on my paper.  Back at home with a little time to craft (snow day!), I cut and pasted pink swirls in an art journal.  Thanks, Lisa, for the fun prompt.


Swirl of pink
diamond bright
stars of night

Swirl of pink
puffy parting clouds
play peek-a-boo
with the sun

Swirl of pink

–Margaret Simon, 2017


Chloe’s Bubble poem

Trace’s pink paintbrush poem

Austin’s wooden flute poem

Lynzee’s angel poem

After we wrote and shared our poems, Andrew had an idea.  “Why don’t we take a line from each of our poems and make a new poem?”  Sounds like a great idea.  Here’s the resulting poem.

To dream it, all you have to do is start.

Don’t erase yourself from the real world.
Paint your true colors.

There is no fright.
Not to lose but to gain.

Flying high above
a swirl of pink puffy parting cloud,

The sea is my world.
The sand is my happiness.

–Caneview GT Allstars




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Poetry Friday round-up  is with my birthday sister, Julieanne.

Poetry Friday round-up is with my birthday sister, Julieanne.

rainbow sno-cones

Marci Ridlon

Have you ever smelled summer?
Sure you have.
Remember that time
when you were tired of running
or doing nothing much
and you were hot
and you flopped right down on the ground?
Remember how the warm sun smelled and the
That was summer.
Read the whole poem here.

That was Summer was the first poem for my students to unpack this year. Yesterday was my birthday. (I share the day with two PF peeps, Linda Mitchell and Julieanne Harmatz.) To celebrate my day, we had popcorn. Somewhere online over the summer I saw pictures of a teacher’s classroom eating popcorn and discussing poetry, thus “popcorn poetry.” We started this fun tradition this week.

After reading and discussing That was Summer, I suggested that my students try out the form. Some did. Some chose another form. That’s OK. No requirements, just write what you want to write.

Madison and Jacob both chose to write about the taste of summer.

That was Summer by Jacob

Have you ever tasted summer?
Sure you have.
Remember that time
you rolled in the mud?
That was summer.

Remember that time
when you ran into
a field of flowers?
That was summer.

Remember that time
when you were so hot
you drank the ocean?
That was summer.

Remember that time
when you jumped into
a pile of leaves?
That was summer.

Summer by Madison

I tried out the form and enjoyed finding my own memories of summer.

That was Summer
after Marci Ridlon

Do you miss summer?
Sure, you do.
That easy time
when days are long,
the sun shines on and on.

Remember the time
when you chased the mosquito truck
in a cloud of toxic dust,
your father spanked you
for the first and last time?
That was summer.

Remember the time
when you gathered all the blankets, sheets, and pillows,
and built a fort in the living room,
an indoor camp-out with Karen and Ralph?
You shined flashlights and made the shadows dance.
That was summer.

Remember the time
when you lay awake
in your parents’ bed
waiting for the hurricane?
You whispered Is it here yet,
and wondered where all the birds and squirrels hid.
That was summer.

Remember the time
you waited for the sound of the sno-cone truck,
when Mary Had A Little Lamb
echoed over and over,
and you couldn’t help humming along?
Remember watching the sno-cone man
pour the syrup over ice
in rainbow flavors, strawberry, lemon, and bubblegum,
a trio of colors on your frozen tongue?
That was summer.

–Margaret Simon, all rights reserved

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Poetry Friday round-up with Bridget at Wee Words for Wee ones.

Poetry Friday round-up with Bridget at Wee Words for Wee ones.

Photo by Laura P. Salas

Photo by Laura P. Salas

If you haven’t discovered Laura Purdie Salas’s Writing the World for Kids and 15 Words or Less, you’re missing some poetry fun. I love playing with words. Every Thursday, Laura gives us a chance to “wake up our poetry brains” by writing a quick poem in response to an image.

If you are having trouble fitting poetry playtime into your schedule, this may be your answer. Earlier in the year the site was blocked by our school server, but yesterday I tried again and by some miracle (or maybe a little nudging email), the site was open for viewing. I set the timer for 7 minutes and we wrote. Sacred writing time. I am always amazed at what my kids can do in such short blasts of writing.

Not everyone followed the rules. Tobie tweaked them a bit and quickly produced a rhyming poem that has 15 words in each stanza. I told him I couldn’t post it in the comments on Laura’s site, but I would share it here.

X marks the spot of chests of gold
They who find it prove themselves bold

X marks the spot of ye treasure
As he who finds gets thee pleasure

The spot to find depends on thee
the shadow of branches of a tree

He who finds it grants one wish
Most men want an excellent dish

As one wise man steps up to thee plate
He wishes for ye wishes eight

So if ye find the sacred treasure
Be wise with your choice, others or pleasure

Can trees really walk
Or dance while we’re not watching?
Disco, cha cha, frozen in place.

Giver of life
Lush green leaves
Shade for the creatures
Thank you trees
For life.

Shadows copying
Shadows dark
Shadows curly
Shadows straight
A big family of shadows

On these writing days, Laura and other writers chime in with comments on each other’s poems. Here’s what Laura had to say about my three writer’s offerings. “I love these, Emily, Erin, and Kaiden–thanks for sharing! I like the three different moods/techniques. Emily’s is full of whimsy, Erin’s of reverence, and Kaiden’s of pattern. And all full of imagination:>)” Real feedback from a real author! So cool!

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Poetry Friday round-up at Write, Sketch, Repeat.

Poetry Friday round-up at Write, Sketch, Repeat.

From The Time is Now weekly writing prompt:

Poetry Prompt
This week, listen to a poem new to you–by a contemporary poet or a bygone poet–and jot down the words, phrases, and images that are most striking or memorable to you. Then write your own poem inspired by this list of words. How do you transform someone else’s poetic intuition and choices into a work that demonstrates your personal idiosyncrasies and specific aesthetic sense?

The word Listen caught my attention in this prompt. How does listening change your perspective? Reading and collecting words is easy. Would listening work as well?

One of my favorite poets is Naomi Shihab Nye. I’ve had the privilege of seeing her live and meeting her in a workshop setting. But this is a new school year, and I hadn’t brought her voice into the room yet. I selected a video from the Dodge Poetry Festival, one I had actually attended, so I could tell the kids, “I was there!” If you haven’t heard this poem, it is hilarious and much more so from the actual voice of Naomi Shihab Nye. She wrote things her 2-3 year-old-son actually said.

I instructed my students to collect words while they listened. Some lists were long. Others had nothing. So I asked the ones who wrote to share their words. “If you don’t have any words, you can steal these.”

I love this kind of writing prompt because you never know where the words will take you. A few of the students wrote their own random poems, a list of nonsensical sentences. This was OK with me because the intent of the experience was to hear poetry and play with language. We don’t play enough with words. Poetry is playing. You can read all of the poems on this padlet.

Kids: they dance before they learn there is anything that isn't music. - William Stafford

I want to share a few here also. My poem is written for that student who constantly sings aloud in the classroom. You know the ones who have a beat to their step.

Music leaps into her ears
down to her toes.
Tap, tap!
Her feet gallop across the floor.

Notes fill the cup,
spill over her lips
like dictionaries for songs.

I would miss her singing.
I would miss her jumping feet.
I would miss loving her.
–Margaret Simon

Erin is only in 4th grade. When I read her poem, which she wrote covering two white boards, I told her she had the wisdom of a 65 year old. I also told her that she created a question/ answer form in her poem.

What is love?

Love is when you want a person to be your Valentine
so bad you want to gallop away with them.

What is love like?
Love is like a swing.
It can bring you up
or take you down.

Is love hard?

Love is like a peanut,
hard on the outside
but sweet on the inside.

What can love do to you?
Love can make you talk gibberish.
Love can make you dance the night away to soulful music.

What can love feel like?
Love can feel hard like a pecan cookie
or be soft like an ooey, gooey chocolate chip cookie.

What can love make you feel like?
Love can make you feel
like you are close by your
Valentine when you are truly
one thousand miles apart.

Love can be the best
or worst thing in the world.

–Erin, 4th grade

Emily is also one who is wise beyond her years. She picked up on Naomi’s opening when she said that we are all born poets, just some of us keep it up.


It is hard being a person
But, living is a gift that is given,
and all metal was liquid first,
and all people have to find their way to be.

Everyone is born with poetry,
but not all people stick with it.

You know when you find your thing
when you have music in your legs
and jazz in your toes.

–Emily, 5th grade

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Poetry Friday round-up with Laura Purdie Salas.

Poetry Friday round-up with Laura Purdie Salas.

Photo by Kam Abbott

Photo by Kam Abbott

The weather actually cooled off last week, so with the crispness of the air and the ending of September, we ventured out to the sidewalk to chalk fall poems.

I love to post poems that my students write. Today I celebrate a new writer in my class. Kaiden, 5th grade, joined us at the end of the year last year. (Gifted classes are revolving all year.) I love how he used the repetitive rhythm of the word fall as well as imagery about the season.

by Kaiden
Crisp brown leaves crunching under our feet
The cool breeze blowing against our faces,
The appearance of scary monsters and pumpkins,
A possible stroll through pumpkin patch,
Birds migrate south,

Vannisa, 6th grade, is back this year and adding in a little research into her fall poem. She actually looked up which meteor showers occur in the fall. I love how she wanted to connect meteor showers with fireworks.

As we Fall
by Vannisa
As we fall into winter,
the weather chills
and the leaves come down.
They fill the ground with
a fiery red
and blazing orange.

As we fall into winter,
we can no longer watch fireworks
like 4th of July,
but we can watch
the shooting stars of
Orionids and Leonids
and watch the days get shorter
until Spring comes back again.


by Emily

by Emily

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Find more Poetry Friday at Tabatha's blog, The Opposite of Indifference.

Find more Poetry Friday at Tabatha’s blog, The Opposite of Indifference.

Do you know what a bandicoot is? I didn’t. Neither did my students. We looked at bandicoots for the Wonder of the Week. After we read the page, watched the video, talked about the words, my new little first grader announced, “Now we write a POEM!” After only a few months he knows how my teaching flows. So, of course we did.

One of my colleagues found the poem Benjamin Bandicoot by A.B. “Banjo” Paterson.

If you walk in the bush at night,
In the wonderful silence deep,
By the flickering lantern light
When the birds are all asleep
You may catch a sight of old Skinny-go-root,
Otherwise Benjamin Bandicoot. (Read complete poem here.)

I asked my students to use alliteration in their titles and use at least 3 facts in their poems. I wrote, too, and settled for the acrostic form. It took me all day to write. Acrostics are not as easy as they look.

Australian marsupial
Nesting in a pile of leaves
Darkness cloaks
Insects are a delectable snack.
Creature with a ratty tail
Outback wanderer
Over land forager
Terrified of a bush fire,
Busy Bandicoot skedaddles.

Kielan worked more than a day on her poem and even created an Animoto video with it. I love her title, Banjo Boomsnicker Bandicoot.

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