When Kids Learn to Love Poetry

I admit it, poetry was never my favourite thing.

In fact, it’s easy and honest to say that I’ve spent pretty much no significant period in my life reading any sort of rhythm or rhyme.

For a long time, I dismissed such musings outright.

Who wants to read stuff that you have to guess at the meaning?

Rhyming, whatever!

I’m a novelist, not a poet!

poetry-pencil.jpg

Then, of course, came children.

I read SO MANY RHYMING BOOKS when my kids were little, and I started to realize the true cantor of words. Then, how spoken word carried a lyrical quality when written well. Then, how writing poetry could help me become a better long-form writer.

I was hooked and slightly ashamed at my willingness to dismiss such a gorgeous art form.

As I started teaching creative writing, I used it as a way for kids to develop their descriptive writing skills. The results are often amazing

IMG_2358.jpg

This past week, I introduced my wonderful Grade-1 student, Rickie, to this sort of magic. He got to take home a copy of the lovely Children’s First Book of Poems with illustrations from Cyndy Szekeres.

He pored through it for the last week, and got to pick out the one that made his heart sing.

It was, indeed, a lovely tale about a lonely puffin who traded eating fish for making friends with them (and got to eat pancakes instead, bonus!).

 

IMG_2357.jpg

We spent time today learning how to use descriptive words to write a rhyming puffin poem of his own, and it turned out so great.

In the end, though, the biggest win from all of this poetry was receiving an inspired text from his mom over the weekend with him reading a newly minted poem written by Rickie himself. Then, I got to see the hard copy of it today:

IMG_2356.jpg

 

 

 

 

Weekend Writing Prompt

I’ve been planning the weekend’s writing group activities for a bit—so excited to help young authors learn more about creating their own characters through fantasy short story writing.

We’l be whipping up character sketches, creating maps based on what actions characters take, and building wizarding sports teams.

First, though, they’ll be flash writing on this topic:

I’ll report back on the results. There is sure to be a story of the week out of this one. 🙂

 

 

Young Author Spotlight—Andrew Dong

This week, I’m changing it up a little bit and showing off some homework from a Grade 3 young author, Andrew Dong.  He is a lovely, energetic kiddo who really doesn’t enjoy writing. I get it, writing is challenging in ways that don’t naturally suit every learner.

Vocabulary development is a big part of the work we do, and I get them to write weekly vocabulary stories from lists I provide as homework rather than memorizing words. Being able to use those words in context, in my experience, proves far more valuable than memorizing them without knowing how to use them.

The photos here are from this past week. Andrew had to write two vocabulary stories—one in a frustrated tone and the second in a tone of his choice.

He did an excellent job, and my nagging about proofreading is starting to pay off (even with missing commas).

I love seeing this sort of progress in kiddos who enjoy class but don’t necessarily enjoy writing.

AndrewDong2.jpg

 

AndrewDong1.jpg

Young Author Spotlight: My Dear Bone by Joanna Fu

Note: Today’s story is from Grade 7 student Joanna Fu. This funny tale was written during a flash writing session where young authors got fifteen minutes to write a story from the prompt “A dog was walking through a park when . . . ” 

It’s also really exciting to note that, before this story, Joanna’s writing had been really struggling and she was performing well-below her grade level.  She has been in my writer’s group for about a month, and reading this story out loud to the crew was a real achievement for her. I love it. 

My Dear Bone by Joanna Fu

A dog was walking in a park when he saw her. He’d never seen anyone so beautiful—her pearl white skin, her hard attitude, and her radiant looks.

He wanted her so bad and had never felt so eager, wanting something this way.

She was a . . . bone.

Dog must have her.

He ran toward her, grabbed her firmly in his mouth, and he ran.

IMG_2163.jpg

Art by Joanna Fu

He never ran faster than now.

He ran faster than a cheetah, fast than a jet.

Now, Bone was all his.

He absolutely loved her.

Suddenly, a crowd of people was yelling and chasing Dog. They were wearing black and they did not look happy.

Dog thought, “Are they taking Bone away from me? No, I must protect her!”

Dog barked, jumped, and attacked these evil people.

“Noone can take my dear Bone away from me,” he yelped.

A woman said, “Please Doggie, give back my grandma’s bones. Today is her funeral, and you just stole her bone.”

She pleaded, “Please give her bone back.”

 

Photo credit: Max Pixels