Teachers love poetry too!  We should be reading and creating it as much as we want our students to.

Last night was a fun 4th grade chat ( #4thchat) on Twitter with other 4th grade teachers.  The topic was poetry and one teacher, Nancy Carroll@ncarroll24 asked:

Does anyone write poems alongside their students?”

Modeling Poetry Writing for Students

One teacher, Jessica Bamberger@MissBamberger replied, “Sometimes I do to show them what I mean. Model is important. They also like to see us try out the projects”

Yes, modeling is important!  I love to model poetry writing to my students.  I do so live on a projector, explaining my thought process as I go.  So far this year I have demonstrated a list poem and couplets.  Later today, I plan to share with my students what Dada poetry is.

Here’s my List Poem about Getting Ready for our 4th Grade Wax Museum

So much to do!
Posters
Speeches
Costumes
Dates
Standing in places
Practicing speeches
                Stand tall
                Feet apart
                Look up
                Bend your knees
Days are flying by
We need to be ready!

 Modeling is important because it allows students to watch another, more experienced writer create.  As we model, we talk our way through things so our students get a glimpse into our thoughts.  I never worry (anymore) that a student may copy my ideas.  I now believe that that can just be part of a young writer’s process.

The nice thing about modeling poetry is that it doesn’t have to take a long time.  I write for about 7-10 minutes to complete a poem and then make my work available for students to look at later.

Writing Poetry About Students

I also responded to that original tweet as well: “I do. Been writing a poem a day-personalized poem abt my sts.”

Every April, I send my students on a personal poetry journey where they discover poetry they love and write poetry each day to find their own voice.  It’s called the Poetry Project.  It’s a balanced approach to poetry instruction as an independent project.  During our reflection time each day, while my students are writing a poem about their day or other personal or related subject, I take the opportunity to write a poem ABOUT one of my students.  It’s fun!

So far, I have tried to capture the spirit of each student in a fun and positive way.

Here is one of them:

Like a flower, waiting to bloom
Lily sits at her seat.
Always thinking,
always ready.
When that time comes,
she sprouts up her hand
and lifts her voice.
She has so much to share.

Writing Poetry because You Want To

Poetry is one of those art forms that can be intimidating to people, until they learn to just do it.  Some people gravitate to poetry that has rhythm and rhyme, some love to follow forms and structures, others like a more free flowing form of poetry and there are those that love it raw and real.  Teacher poets fall into all those categories as well.

A kindergarten teacher I worked with this past winter during an arts integration course I taught had a knack for writing the best raps (and then performing them!)

Why Arts Integration???

And you may ask…Why Arts Integration???

Let me tell you why…It’s an amazing sensation

Reading, Math, Social Studies and Science

Are of utmost importance for which we do have reliance

They cannot however be taught in isolation.

It is missed opportunity for individual fascination.

All children must be given a chance

To paint, draw, create and dance

Without the arts, it is opportunity lost

Which eventually we all have to pay the cost!

 

This high school teacher wrote this poem in response to listening to a piece of music during the same course:

Connections

Hard & Fast

Immediate & Strong

Powerful, Tearful &

Joyful

Distant & Tenuous

Gradual & Far-reaching

Them to Me

Me to Them

Imperative

Connections

~ Michelle R

An ELA teacher from the same course showed her talent as a poet in this beautiful poem:

Celestial Dance

by Dara M.

My eyes scan over the sea of faces, expectant, shining
and the music fills the air
flitting, gliding, they sail across the floor
in a motion of musical notes.
I smile and swell at the vision before me
and close my eyes to be filled with the sounds…
Swish, Sigh, Slide, Sway
But as I focus again,
I notice a skip
in my perfect melody of movement.
I see the steps falter and slow,
the music fade, and the faces fall
as the mismatched shoes, clunky and awkward,
begin slipping from each foot.
I rush to tie the laces,
strengthen the support that has left them faltering,
but I realize
that my flitting clouds are just  wisps of air,
disconnected and fragile
as a dandelion’s downy seeds.
No, this will not do.
Where are my trusting visages looking toward their futures –
Looking for the beat of their next celestial dance?
The old shoes are cast off,
and now are replaced with the elegant lines
of supple leather
and sleek satin.
Feet slide into them and sigh
as the shoes mold into a perfect fit.
And now bodies rise to their fullest height as they flow
through the atmosphere
in a flurry of joy.
The music soars with them as they whirl and sway and dance
on the wind that carries them to a brighter horizon.
The clouds and
the music and
the shoes and
the student
Become one.

There are countless teachers who have extended themselves far beyond the walls of the classroom to bring their love of poetry to the community.  Ayanna Gallant, a fantastic slam poet (and awesome personal friend) is one teacher who can rip up a room with her poetry.   (In fact, she led a poetry workshop for the teachers that came to the Teacher Art Retreat last summer!)

And so I end as I began –

Teachers love poetry too!  We should be reading and creating it as much as we want our students to.

Here’s your challenge: Please leave a comment – as a POEM! 😉

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