“And when you find a poem idea, you have to catch it.”

Every January we transition from narrative and information writing to poetry writing. Like during our narrative and information writing units, friends apprentice themselves to poets, using their poems as mentors for their own.

Our budding poets use line breaks to “add music” to their poems—slowing or speeding the rhythm. They repeat words, sounds, or phrases to strengthen meaning. They use comparisons to create metaphors to illustrate a feeling. They try to create a mood in their poem, carefully considering words that convey a certain feeling.

We started the unit by looking at different treasures like seashells, sea glass, creek-smoothed rocks, acorn caps, and milkweed. Students tried to look at them in new ways. Amy watched the milkweed seeds floating in the air and said, “It’s like a parachute!”IMG_0589 IMG_0590 IMG_0611

They then started generating their own ideas because writers, of course, write about topics that are meaningful to them–not just rocks that I brought back from my childhood rock collection. Soon poems about loving brothers, anxious first days of school, and tenderly holding a baby sister for the first time filled our classroom. After just a few days of writing, we visited our Pre-K neighbors in Ms. Berger’s class to share some of our poems.

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After, a Pre-K friend asked, “Where do you get your ideas?”

Our poets’ thoughtful responses showed just how much intention they use in their writing.

“Ms. Thesing read us a poem that said that poems are hiding in our shoes. Poems are hiding and we have to live our lives like poets and always be looking for them. We have to always be looking for poems because poems are everywhere.” –Anna

“Poems are hiding. You just have to find the ideas. And when you find a poem idea, you have to catch it.” –Ryan

“Ms. Thesing brought in different treasures so we could get ideas for poem. For example, I wrote mine about milkweed.”–Amy

“We take our Tiny Topics notebooks everywhere and we find ideas everywhere.” –Phoenix

This week, we will learn about poem structures and will soon begin the process of selecting, revising, editing, and publishing our poems for a February 12 Poetry Celebration. Look for more details soon!

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