#1. I always dreaded poetry. I took a creative writing class one time in college and when we had to write poems I was terrified. The poems I wrote were TERRIBLE. Since becoming a teacher, I have found many poems that I love. I have met some poets too whom I respect immensely.
A few summers ago I took a writing class over the summer called, Teachers Write. As a result of one of the writing prompts in that class, I actually wrote a poem I don't hate!
Lesson to be learned from this? Keep trying! Keep Exploring! If you haven't found poems you like yet you haven't read enough! Let's do this together!
#2. I think it's interesting to see all the poetic devices poets use in their poems to make them come alive with imagery. Similes and metaphors, personification and alliteration, irony and symbolism to name a few. I think that poets may just be the most talented writers because they are able to convey so much meaning in so few words.
The poem I wrote when I took that summer class started out as an essay about what you could see in your back yard after taking 100 steps.
Lesson to be gained here? Trying something new or unfamiliar can result in something really great or surprising if you give it half a chance!
#3. Of all the different genres in literature, poetry is seldom my first choice. It's not usually my second or my third. So I may be more like my poetry phobic students than different. However, I have begun to appreciate poetry and poets more and more over time.
Someone who was surprisingly skillful at poetry was my dad.
Many times I have tried to emulate my dad and his carefree rhyming notes. NOPE. Can't do it. Wish I had thought at some point to ask him how in the world he did it so easily.
Lesson learned here? Anyone can be a poet and it could very well be someone you would least expect.
#4. At the Rochester Children's Book Festival over the years I have met several notable authors. A few are poets and I have begun purchasing their books to use in my classroom. Nikki Grimes
When I chatted with her this year, she urged me to check out her newest book, One Last Word,
Andrea Page and my students.
Lesson learned here? New ideas for writing pop up all of the time. Be ready to snatch that idea and run away with it.
Those were the examples I shared with my students. Many of them struggle with focusing in on the journal prompt. They need to see many, many models of how you can just begin to write and the page seems to fill itself. Many were willing to share bits and pieces of their own writing after I had shared some of mine. There was less sharing than we normally get but maybe that will pick up as we move through this unit. Poetry is a slippery mountain we climb together one step at a time. Day one-- done in the land of 6th grade poetry.