Friday, June 12, 2015

Another Poet is Born

It's Poetry Friday! Yea!
And do I have a treat for you!
But before that, thanks, Jama, for hosting the Roundup today at Jama's Alphabet Soup. Make sure you go there and enjoy the fare!

On Monday, I went to school to do my usual reading and writing with second graders.  And as usual, I had a blast.  I am always delighted to have students greet me in the hallways again, as I did when I taught.  But these days it is a different greeting.

"Are you going to read with me?"
"Are you going to take me?"
"Is it my turn?"

Sadly, I cannot take them all!  And I hear the disappointed "Aw" when they aren't the one to come with me to a quiet corner to read or write for a few minutes in their day.  Now, remember, I was a long time classroom teacher, so I know most of the yearning I'm hearing is for a walk down the hall, or a potential break in what they were doing.  I'm not naive, but it is still nice.

Monday was like all the other days, even though we are close to the end of the school year now.  The students are still reading and writing up a storm - especially writing poetry lately.
This day, I got to write with a wonderful, eager student for a little while, and because she was so enthusiastic and it was our second time working together, we got a lot out of our brief time!

I asked her what she needed to do...

Abby:  Write a poem. And I want it to rhyme. Or maybe not -

Me: Ok.  How about doing an acrostic?  Do you know what an acrostic poem is?

Abby: Uh, no.

Me:  Let me show you.

I explained what an acrostic was briefly, and then we wrote an acrostic poem together using "FROGS", with me modeling the format and her offering some words - like amphibian and lilypad, gobble and pond.
Here's what we came up with:

Me: Okay, now it's your turn.  What are your favorite animals?

Abby: Birds! No, not birds. Robins! Hawks! And parrots! Parakeets!  I really like parakeets!

Me: How about bears or deer? Octopus or fish?

Abby: Yes, I like all of them! But I really like parakeets!

Me: Well, parakeets is pretty long for your first acrostic.  How about trying Robin first? (I know, I should have gone with parakeets, but it seemed truly a difficult one to start with!)

Abby:  Ok.  I like robins.

Me: What is there about a robin that could begin with the first letter, R?

Abby: Red!  They are red all over.

Me:  Are you sure?  I think they are red or orange only in one part.

She was pretty sure they were red all over, so I suggested that we look them up on the computer to be sure what they really looked like.

I did a search (because I don't like having a student do searches unless I have already used the search terms prior to their search) and came up with a great page that showed adult robins, robin eggs in a nest and some baby robins.  I read the description of a robin to her.

When I told her that we could also listen to the robin's song on the page, she was very excited.  She put on a headset and listened intently, adjusting the volume.  Her face lit up.  "It's beautiful!" she shouted (headsets will do that), and she promptly hit "play" again.
I suggested that she might be able to identify a robin now just by it's song, even if she couldn't see it.

Me:  Now, let's get back to your poem.  Maybe that information will help you write your poem.

Abby hunched over her paper and began to write.  I pointed to the O in "on" she had written on the first line, and she quickly realized it could go to the next line for the O in "ROBIN".

When she got to the letter B and hesitated, I just asked her to think of what we'd learned about robins.  I expected "bird" perhaps, but she began writing "blue eggs" instead, and the rest continued to flow out easily.

She read it to herself and edited it before she read it aloud, fixing the spelling of "feathers" on her own. We discussed "it's" versus "its" for her to determine which it should be.
Then, finally, she read it to me.

Me: And you made it rhyme!

Abby:  I did?

Me:  Read it again.

She read it aloud again.

Abby: I did!

And here's the promised treat: a rhyming acrostic for ROBIN:

Red feathers
On its chest,
Blue eggs
In the

by Abby, Grade 2

Isn't it great?  I wish I had written it!
Another poet is being sent on to third grade and beyond!
Congratulations, Abby!  Well done!

Now how about that parakeet poem?


  1. I love hearing this process, Donna. You are such a good teacher and story teller. The poem is lovely, I agree. She did it just right.

    1. It has been so much fun!
      I just love this poem - short, sweet and the essence of a robin.

  2. I'm a teacher and I absolutely loved this post! (I also have a book of bird factual poems called Words on Birds). Her finished poem is amazing!!! You must have felt so proud of this sweet girl!

    1. I do hope she writes another poem soon - "parakeet" would be nice!

  3. Interesting reading about your time with Abby. Loved the process notes and of course she came up with a great poem!

  4. Huzzah for Abby! Your lesson was just the right amount of support for her to successfully write. I agree with you -- it's a poem I wish I had written!!

    1. Wonderfully simple wording that says so much about the robinness of a robin!

  5. What a wonderful story! I have to admit, I really wanted to scroll down to the end to see her work before it was time but I held off! This poem is beautiful and so is the teaching and thinking behind it.

  6. I love sitting in on this lesson with you and Abby. I like how you brainstormed words at the bottom of the page. So much to learn right here every Friday with my poetic friends!

    1. I love my Fridays full of poetry and poets!

  7. Wow! I love Abby's poem...and the way you guided her through the creative process. =)

    1. I'm excited to see Abby on Monday and find out how she liked seeing her poem here.

  8. Abby's poem is wonderful! Would love to see what she does with "parakeet"!

    1. I hope she has given "parakeet" some poetic thoughts! I'd love to read it!

  9. What a lucky poet, to get to work with such a fabulous mentor! I bet she'll knock out that parakeet poem in no time.

    1. You are so kind! I'm sure she is going to write many, many more poems - and hopefully, one will be a parakeet poem!

  10. What fun you both had. I loved the way you led her through this, Donna. :)

    1. You are so right! We had a blast! I love seeing these poetic sparks!

  11. I love Abby's poem and how your gentle guidance helped get her there. Lovely!

  12. You're much more fun than a plain old walk down the hall! Fun lesson, especially since you made it a multi sensory experience!

    1. I really like pulling more resources into lessons - I'd love if students would remember that there are places to learn things on their own and not to be afraid to use them!

  13. What a treat to read about how Abby created her first acrostic! Terrific poem. She had some wonderful guidance. :0)


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