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