Posts Tagged ‘student poetry’

Photo by NASA on Unsplash

What the Hurricane Knows

Hot August oceans churn.
Tornadoes internally spurn
a meteorologist’s concern.

This is what the hurricane knows.

With strength beyond a whale’s tail,
swallow waves into booming gale,
loosen nature’s grip and WAIL!

Margaret Simon, draft

On Friday, I wrote wisdom poems with my students. I couldn’t focus on much except Hurricane Ida heading our way. They also wrote some wonderful wisdom poems linked below.

Adelyn, 3rd grade

Jaden, 6th grade

Katie, 6th grade

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Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for creating an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write and share.

I have been playing with collage in my notebook. One day Chloe saw one of my pages and said, “I want to try that.” So I loaded her up with some magazines to take home. She came back the next day not only with a beautiful collage but a poem inspired by it. I interviewed her about the process and recorded it. The Soundcloud recording below is our conversation.

I love what Chloe said about how an image that she put in her collage became surprising images in her poem. The process of cutting is meditative. It can work both ways, too. Creating a collage after a poem can help you process and make connections in a visual way.

I’ve been working through the book The Artist’s Way. Julia Cameron encourages self-discovery and self-nurturing through creativity. She offers affirmations to write and rewrite and say to yourself, questions that move you to letting go and letting spiritual blessings of creativity in. In the margin of a page, I wrote “How is my creativity a blessing to others?” I think I found my answer.


The silhouette of spinning
monkeys swinging on 
peacock feathers,

Turtles following dogs on
beaches waving at the waves

As the pig and bird guard their 
treasure found at sea,

and the mother and
daughter watch the
world they live on
on the beach shore.

Chloe, 5th grade
Magazine collage by Chloe

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Linda at Teacher Dance

My students this year look forward to Poetry Friday when we read a poem and talk about what we notice, then try the form on. A few weeks ago we read Jane Yolen’s poem, “A Word is Not a Poem” that I had saved from her daily email poems. Having the form of her poem in hand, my students created interesting poem responses.

A Laugh is Not a Smile
A laugh is not a smile 
but it is a feeling inside you.
You can laugh once
but it’s best to laugh twice.
         laugh laugh
A smile is not a frown
but it is a feeling inside you.
used in several ways,
to express love, and happiness.
            smile smile

Jamison, 4th grade

A Book is not a Word
A book is not a word ,
but a forest in a tree .
Used in many ways ,
it can even be funny .
A book is not a poem
You can only read it once ,
but best to read it twice .
Book , Book .
A book is not a song ,
the words you cannot spin .
Won’t know it going in
you will though coming out .
Tone , Note .

A.J., 6th grade

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Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Do your students ever ask, “Why are we doing this?” Friday we celebrated the completion of the March Slice of Life Story Challenge. Kathleen from Two Writing Teachers shared a Google Slide Show in which she posed these questions to student bloggers:

I discussed these questions with each of my class groups. Sometimes I wonder if my students really understand why we do this. I can see the benefits daily. Each day, they try to do better, write more, and add more craft into their writing. But it’s more than that. They grow as human beings, too. They share a piece of who they are and who they are becoming.

Noah said, “I learned that when you write on the blog, you are showing other people who you are.”

Sometimes these are hard lessons. These kids are at an age where they are still figuring it all out. They try stuff. They write things that may not be true to who they are or want to be. This blog space becomes a safe place for them to express whatever is on their minds.

Erin said she has learned to be more open. Kaiden has expressed emotions through figurative language. And even Tobie said he learned he wasn’t so bad at poetry.

With all the balking about writing every day and even the multiple posts of things like Google tricks, writer’s block, and “Idontevenknowwhywearedoingthis” posts, my students grew as writers and as people making their way in the world. I am grateful to the Two Writing Teachers, especially Kathleen and Lanny who led the classroom challenge. Another year down and many lessons learned.

I am sharing Kaiden’s clever poem about writer’s block.

A vacuous screen

filled with a picture

of a polar bear

in a snowstorm.

Snow swirling,

chills sinking

into your skin

in this winter wonderland.

Place your links for DigiLitSunday below:


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Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for the Slice of Life Challenge.

Poetry Friday is with Catherine at Reading to the Core

Happy Birthday, Billy Collins!  His 76th birthday was on March 22nd.  

I introduced my students to the poetry of Billy Collins with this poem, The Trouble with Poetry.  The poem gives good advice about writing poems.

“The trouble with poetry is…
it encourages the writing of more poetry…
the longing to steal,
to break into the poems of others
with a flashlight and a ski mask.”

I asked my students to steal a line and write their own poem.

The trouble with reading poetry is
that it’s so fun to read you can’t stop.

The trouble with poetry is
that you are to sit in the dark room
and wait for a flame of idea to pop up.

The trouble with poetry is
that Mrs. Simon makes us look for
what the poem means which is super hard.

The trouble with poetry is
thinking about ideas which is like hitting
yourself in the head with a rock.

The trouble with poetry is
that sometimes people steal ideas
and don’t give credit.

The trouble with poetry is
that you think your idea is bad
when it is really good.

The  trouble with poetry is
that you can have a writer’s block.

The trouble with poetry is
that you have to read it out loud to find mistakes.

by Andrew, 4th grade


Poetry Fills Me With Joy
Making me Float Above The Clouds
Like A Hot Air Balloon Soaring Above
After Being Filled With Hot Air
Like A Plane Being Filled With Fuel
And Taking Off
Like The First Letter Of Each Of These Words
Trying To Soar Off of The Screen

poetry fills me with sorrow
making me sink below the ground
like a balloon being popped
and crashing in the sea
like a plane crashing and burning
like the letters of this poem
trying to sink off the screen

By Kaiden, 6th grade

Billy Collins sarcastically expresses the feeling I get when I read poetry, and the reason I read poetry with my students.  Poetry breeds more poetry.  And I can’t think of anything better that a poem might do.  Thanks, Billy Collins, for encouraging my students to steal a line and try their own hands at writing poems.  

“ And how will it ever end?
unless the day finally arrives
when we have compared everything in the world
to everything else in the world,

and there is nothing left to do
but quietly close our notebooks
and sit with our hands folded on our desks.”


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Poetry Friday round-up  with Jama At Jama's Alphabet Soup.

Poetry Friday round-up with Jama At Jama’s Alphabet Soup.

This week we brainstormed all the poetry forms we know.  The list included reverso, zeno, haiku, concrete, abecedarian, and so on.  But one form that we didn’t have on the list was the palindrome poem.  That’s because Kielan made it up.  This is what she wrote in her post:

The first, third, and fifth lines are free verse. The second and fourth sentences are palindromic sentences. You can have more than 5 lines, though. Below is an example.

Would you rather
Borrow or rob
My best friend, Bob?
Yo, banana boy!
Leave him alone.


Try to write your own Palindrome.

To write a palindrome poem, you first may need to look at a list of palindromes.  We found this one. 

I gave it a try.

The doggone day I slipped in
dumb mud,
I cursed the blooming
lid off a daffodil.
My mom washed my mouth out with soap.

–Margaret Simon

Jacob was writing this one beginning with the palindrome “Do Geese See God?”  Then he told me that he is afraid of dogs.  I replied “I wonder if God is afraid of dogs?”  Warning: this poem contains a putrid word.

Sometimes I wonder
Do geese see God?
I always tell my dog
“Dog! no poop on God!”
Is God scared of dogs?


Now it’s your turn.  Can you write a palindrome poem?  My students and I want to know.  Write it in the comments or send to me by email and I will add it to this post.

Robyn is adding a line to the Progressive Poem today. Click the image.

Robyn is adding a line to the Progressive Poem today. Click the image.

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Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for March Slice of Life Challenge.

Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for March Slice of Life Challenge.

I am an adult, and sometimes I just plain take myself too seriously.  The last few days have brought some heavy news: The loss of someone who was once an important mentor to me,  the observation from my administrator in order to give me a score for my teaching expertise, and the necessary surgery for my dog on an infected mole.  The list adds up and weighs on my shoulders.  I start to feel stressed and worried and somewhat out of control.

Then a child, one who faces what comes each day with absolutely no control, comes to me for a hug.  Another child realizes a gift that she has for music is being recognized.  And this child, a first grader, writes a ditty on her blog.  I discovered it when I came home and started checking my Kidblog site.  It brought a smile to my face and lightened my load.  I hope it does the same for you.


I look outside, It is flooded. It is not that bad, but it is still flooded. When my mother told me to go get the mail, I could not even get by the mailbox. That is bad! There was water all around the mailbox. It was terribly crazy.  When I saw it from window view, I thought this song up.

It is raining,

It is pouring,

I wish I was snoring,

I wish I were in bed,

So I would not bump my head,

And I would be able to get up in the morning.

Macaroni and Cheeze,

Yes, please!

Goodbye, Popeye!

–Lynzee, 1st grade

Reading time

Reading time

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Poetry Friday round-up with Catherine at Reading to the Core

Poetry Friday round-up with Catherine at Reading to the Core



Discover. Play. Build.

Ruth Ayres invites us the celebrate each week. Click over to her site Discover. Play. Build. to read more celebrations.

Over at Today’s Little Ditty, Michelle has posted the wrap-up of nothing poems from this month’s ditty challenge posted by Douglas Florian. I have a poem in the collection.

I challenged my students by sharing Diane Mayr’s nothing poem. She used anaphora, a repeated line, “Nothing, but…” This prompt generated a lot of thought. I was excited by the results.

Today, I have a dual post: I celebrate the nothing poems my students created and add them to the Poetry Friday Ditty collection. The digital images were created on Canva.

Love this nature nothing poem from Andrew, 3rd grade.

Love this nature nothing poem from Andrew, 3rd grade.

Lynzee loves the songs of nightingales, 1st grade.

Lynzee loves the songs of nightingales, 1st grade.

Nothing by Kaiden

Nothing poem by Kaiden, 5th grade

Nothing poem by Kaiden, 5th grade

Kielan’s poem is about a classmate, Erin.

Nothing but rainbow narwhals

Nothing but rainbow butterfly unicorn kittens

Nothing but unicorns

Nothing but love

Nothing but a helpful heart

Nothing but imagination

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Use this button created by Leigh Anne Eck to post your Digital Poetry this month.

Use this button created by Leigh Anne Eck to post your Digital Poetry this month.

Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for Tuesdays Slice of Life Challenge.

Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for Tuesdays Slice of Life Challenge.

I love this poetry exercise inspired by Bob Raczka “Some Reasons to Write a Poem.”  Stacey Shubitz of the Two Writing Teachers wrote one here that is personal to her mothering a four-year-old girl.  Catherine Flynn’s version is here.  My digital version here. 

I prompted my students last week and told them the form would work well as a Slice of Life poem.  But some child poets are not happy with their first try.  Some of them (actually a rare few) take a poetry prompt home and incubate.  Emily did this last week.  She showed me her poem written in a spiral notebook she carries in her booksack.  I have to share this with you.  You’ll know why when you read it.


Because the Earth is round,
not flat

Because the rain seeps into the ground

Because the birds chirp a high pitched melody

Because trees are mossy giants

Because of the polka-dot fawn in the barn

Because the man on the moon is fishing for stars

and caught one
for you!

–Emily, 4th grade

(leave comments directly to her on her blog)

A mossy giant in my yard.

A mossy giant in my yard.


Matthew’s version starts off like an SOL then moves into a hats-off-to-writing-a-poem poem.

Reasons to write a poem

Because you ate too much candy last night and didn’t sleep
and woke up early to get donuts.

Because you’re in class with, like, 5 poetry beasts!

Because I took time out of my me-time to write this, which, F to the YI, is a poem!

Because you can be free, and you don’t have to do just one thing.

Because you can’t mess up.

Because you can’t be better than anyone,
or worse.

–Matthew, 5th grade

(comments for Matthew)

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SOL #27

SOL #27

Join the roundup with Jone at Check it Out.

Join the roundup with Jone at Check it Out.

Mr. Al surrounded by children.

Mr. Al surrounded by children.

With our 6th grade students in the parish (district), we have been doing an enrichment Wednesday each month that we call WOW for Way Out Wednesday. This year’s theme has been wonder. One of the wonders of our area is this huge old oak tree named Mr. Al. A few years ago, Mr. Al was in the way of a planned service road next to the highway. Protesters were instrumental in getting Mr. Al moved to a safer location. He now overlooks an intersection of the highway, Highway 90 at Weeks Island Road.

This past Wednesday was a gorgeous spring day. We took the 20 students out to Mr. Al for a picnic. They sketched and wrote poetry. I coached the poetry writing with a suggestion that they look outside and write description, then look inside for a memory or inner feelings, then go outside again. Darian came to me with an idea. She was caught up on the directions, though. She told me she saw the whole area as a kingdom and Mr. Al was the king. I loved this creative response and told her, “Yes, this idea is using your imagination that is inside you.” She crafted this poem.

What a wonderful way to honor Mr. Al with writing and drawing. The time was peaceful and productive. A true gift to the students and their teachers.

A tree in the middle of nowhere,
As lonely as can be.
But the tree is not as lonely,
As the eye can see.
Ferns and flowers, moss and thorns,
Give the tree some company.

The hill is a castle,
Its rightful ruler on top.
A king greater than all kings.
King Al is protected by his guards,
The ants and spiky plants.
His loyal citizens obey his commands,
For they are the flowers,
purple, yellow, white and green.
His advisers–the fern, magnolia and evergreen,
Work together in harmony.

Long branches reach out,
As if to be holding up the sky.
Leaves more numerous than stars.

Mr.Al is a wonder of nature,
Nature of wonder .​

–Darian, 6th grade

Mr. Al 2

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