National Poetry Month came late to my students. Spring Break and a field trip conspired to make yesterday our first classroom school day of April. Poetry had to wait too. Or did it?
We’ve been reading Locomotion by Jackie Woodson a page at a time. Students annotate their copy with what they notice, know, and wonder. I read it aloud, they write, we share, I write their thoughts on my copy. Poetry has engulfed us daily — the sound, the structure. We’ve been looking closely.
To begin our “official” poetry unit, I started out with an inquiry. I asked students to complete this:
describes feelings in an easier way
can tell something about yourself
expresses things around yo
sometimes tells a story
sometimes has a form like haiku
sometimes has a rhythm like rap
helps you imagine
shorter slices of life
words from the heart
The power of their thoughts. Unfiltered. All from the word poetry.
They know so much. Little snippets of poetry snuck up on them with The One and Only Ivan. Then Woodson’s beautiful words showed the many ways poetry could go. Students have read May B, Brown Girl Dreaming, and The Crossover and begged for more. Poetry has been with us all along.
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What follows is some erasure poetry from this post. Last year Dana introduced this writing to me. I took my post copied it and started deleting words that didn’t contribute to what I thought was the essence. I don’t allow myself to change the order. I can just erase and change line breaks.
Thanks to Anna, Beth, Betsy, Dana, Stacey, and Tara at Two Writing Teachers for Slice of Life Tuesdays. Read more slices here.