Thursday, May 14, 2015

POETRY FRIDAY: Kindergarten Poetry Fun

Thanks to Diane at Random Noodling for hosting Poetry Friday this week!

* * * * *

On two days last week, I had the pleasure of talking about poetry with a class of kindergarteners at a local elementary school. On the first day we talked all about poetry, including different types of poems and different characteristics of poems—rhyming vs. non-rhyming, silly vs. serious, fiction vs. non-fiction, etc. Then we read LOTS of different types of poetry from books I’d brought with me to the classroom. It was especially fun to read several poems from the The Poetry Friday Anthology (one of my favorite poetry resources) aloud to the kids!  

Towards the end of our first session, I announced that we were going to write a class poem together. First, several kids suggested topics to write about and then they voted and decided that our poem would be about a butterfly. Next, the class voted on whether they wanted to write a rhyming or a non-rhyming poem, and rhyming won. Then they voted on whether to write a silly poem or a serious poem. Silly won the vote, but by a surprisingly slim margin. Finally, with our main points ironed out and about 15 minutes left on the clock, we started writing.

My main goal was to lead kids through a real-life poetry writing session and to model that there is no “right” way to write a poem, so we began by brainstorming aloud. Then together we came up with a great first line and I wrote everything down on a large sheet of chart paper. A little farther into our writing time, the kids decided that they wanted our poem to have a surprise ending, so I went back and scribbled through the first line and we came up with another. As we crafted our poem, I scribbled and crossed things out, and our words evolved into a funny, creative, messy, beautiful poem. I explained to the kids that this is the way writing often goes, and that it is perfectly fine to write a “sloppy copy” and then edit your work before you present your finished product. So when we were through writing and editing the poem together, the kids headed out to the playground and I copied the finished poem onto a clean sheet of chart paper. When they came back in from the playground, their cleaned-up poem was waiting for them!    

Tickle Surprise
by Mrs. Mayhew and Mrs. Dixon’s kindergarten class

I felt a tickle on my head
But had no clue what was there,
Until my best friend stopped and said,
“There’s a big BUG in your hair!”

  I screamed and yelled and jumped and shook,
And waved my hands up in the sky.
Then my best friend said, “Oh, look!
It’s just a pretty butterfly!”
 
The next day I came back into the classroom and read some more fun poems to the kids, and then we talked about acrostic poetry, which I’d introduced during our general poetry lesson the day before. Following this discussion, the kids each wrote an acrostic poem about their moms, most using “mom” or “mommy” as their focus word. Later on, the teachers helped the kids add handprints and frame the final products, and then each child took home a special gift to his or her mom for Mother’s Day. I was thrilled with how these precious poems turned out!

I LOVE talking to kids about poetry, and had such a wonderful time with these sweet, brilliant children. One of my favorite things in life is seeing children light up when being read a great poem or book, and reading poems and stories that kids have excitedly labored over. I’ve talked with lots of older elementary students about poetry and writing over the past several years, but this was entirely different and definitely just as fun. One of my favorite moments was when two little girls came and shared with me a poem they’d just composed together—on the playground!  
Awhile back I shared another poetry-writing-with-kids experience, and you can read more about that here if you are interested. Have a great Friday and a wonderful weekend, and Happy Writing!
Thank you to Mrs. Mayhew, Mrs. Dixon, and their amazing kindergarten class 
at Sugar Creek Elementary School for all the fun!  

22 comments:

  1. Sounds like you had so much fun, Becky. I love that poem, Tickle Surprise, that you co-wrote with the class!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Claudine! The kids were very excited about the title they chose!

      Delete
  2. I like that you pointed out that a "sloppy copy" is normal. Many kids think that writers and artists sit down and a perfect piece pops out. More kids might take to writing if they realized that genius is nothing more than work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is what I was hoping they'd get from it. And you are 100% correct--genius IS nothing more than work!

      Delete
  3. "Tickle Surprise" turned out so well! (And what a perfect title!)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Enjoyed reading all about the group poem you and the kids wrote together. Just the word "tickle" makes me happy. Cute poem!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love the way you taught the poetry writing process. Kids created a group poem to be proud of and they made lovely gifts for their moms. Awesome!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Reminds me of a group poem my sixth graders wrote about our field trip to the zoo! It was such fun to compose together! It's fun to see the process in action. And those poems for moms - priceless! Our Mother's Day writing projects were always one of the high points of our writing year!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The personal poems are the best, I think--I am sure the moms loved their gifts!

      Delete
  7. Hi, Becky--

    As a fulltime K teacher, I can tell you that 5- and 6-year-olds are the most natural poets around--they play with words effortlessly the way we adults have to struggle sometimes! Here's my recent blogpost featuring poems by my kindergarteners at the end of a year of regular exposure to poetry and a week of intensive poetry study: http://myjuicylittleuniverse.blogspot.com/2015/05/what-do-kindergarten-poets-do.html

    Glad you had so much fun with your Kinders!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I loved your post, Heidi! Thank you so much for sharing the link here. When I taught 3rd grade, I tried to incorporate some kind of poetry every day. The kids loved it, and so did I! = )

      Delete
  8. Sounds like you gave them quite a gift. The end result turned out cute, too!

    ReplyDelete
  9. A winning collaboration, for sure! I really enjoyed hearing about your process, Becky, and can only imagine how excited those kids must have been to see their final masterpiece.

    ReplyDelete
  10. You gave those kids a memorable gift, Becky. I would have loved that class not only at their age but today also.

    ReplyDelete
  11. This is really good Becky! You might want to submit this to Highlights for their kids page or Stone Soup. And the kids can have a surprise when they come back in the fall as they enter Grade 1. What a wonderful gift you are giving these kids regardless.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Love the poem, Becky! Talking writing with kids has become one of my favorite things to do as an author. Sounds like you gave your students an amazing time.

    ReplyDelete
  13. How lucky we (fellow) poets are that you're out there doing great work with kids! And thank you for sharing poems from The Poetry Friday Anthology series!!!

    ReplyDelete

Thanks so much for visiting my blog!

Due to new COPPA laws, children under the age of 13 are not allowed to leave comments. If you are under 13, please have a parent leave your comment. Thank you! = )