Monthly Archives: May 2017

School Poetry Workshop: Persona Poems

June is almost here! This week, the Northfield 3rd Grade poets, their teachers, and families, will be celebrating poetry at our annual open house. It’s a great time to recognize how hard the students have worked on their poems.

 

I’ve shared the poets’ haiku and food poems. Today, I am posting the third graders’ persona poems. You can read about how to run this workshop at Today’s Little Ditty. I often use Shonto Begay’s poem “Down Highway 163” as a mentor text for persona poems. This powerful poem brings up social justice and empathy issues, even for young readers. Sharing it together always prompts a fascinating discussion.

 

Persona Poem Workshop post at Today’s Little Ditty.

Persona Poem mentor text, “Down Highway 163” by Shonto Begay.

 

With this group, we used magazine cut-outs for our writing prompts. The students will make a display of the cut-outs paired with their response poems. I’m looking forward to seeing those at the open house!

 

Thanks to the Northfield 3rd grade team and families for giving me permission to share students’ persona poems. This writing prompt is a great way to teach voice.

 

There is great detail in Moyo’s poem. Check out her use of narrative elements. This is a poetic story with a beginning, middle, and end.

 

Poet: Moyo A.

 

Art Contest

 

There are butterflies in my stomach.

I’m so nervous.

I feel my heart pounding.

Boom boom boom!

Today is my art contest.

The winner gets to meet

a famous artist.

And I signed up myself!

 

We arrive at the art gallery.

There is a table and seats all

set up for the artists.

We have half an hour

to draw anything we want.

Your time starts now.

Beep, the timer’s up.

 

The judges critique our drawings.

I hear the judges murmur.

I smell/taste victory.

“The results are in…

The winner is Moyo!”

“What?”

I see the certificate and confetti.

I’m now in tears of JOY!

 

Ava’s updated portrait poem, with the photo that inspired her writing.

My kids love fishing with their grandparents, so Ava’s poem spoke to me. I love how she captures the excitement of the catch.

 

Poet: Ava W.

 

My Fishing Poem

 

Dad, could I cast the rod?

“Yes you can.” I cast the rod. Oh, oh.

I got something, so I reeled it in.

O.M.G. I caught a catfish. I think

we know what dinner is going to be.

Yay, the rapids are here. Bounce

up and down we go, down the river.

A huge wave is coming. Come on.

It hits me and not you!

It’s 8:30, we’re heading back.

 

Part of the persona poetry workshop is to list all of the facts of the image, the things we can see. We use those facts as the foundation for imagining the speaker’s thoughts, feelings, and life details. Emily uses details from her magazine cut-out and then jumps into some creative ideas.

Poet: Emily J.

 

My family is rich.

I have a fancy blue dress and hat

I got for my birthday.

Once I was walking

through the forest, going hiking.

While I was walking, I found

a bottle that said, “Drink me.”

I bent down and picked it up.

The top was still tight so I

knew nobody else had drank it.

I popped the top off

and gulped.

It smelled of pepper.

A spicy taste filled my mouth.

I ran until I found clean water

to drink.

I put that bottle

in the stream to drift away

never to be found.

 

I love poems that capture energy in their word choice and rhythm. Evan’s last line reminds me of a famous poem by e.e. cummings.

Poet: Evan L.

In the spring
at the basketball hoop
a girl smiling, happily doing
a cartwheel, maybe she
kicks her dad.
It’s spring!

Kjell put a lot more work into this poem on revision day, but even the first draft has beautiful poetic moments. Listen to the sounds in the fourth line!

Poet: Kjell t.

There was a family so
happy as could be. They
went on a camping trip. In
the deep heap of forest leaves.
They smile. It’s like a sun in
the happy sky.

I’ll be posting persona poems all week. I hope you’ll stop by and visit with these wonderful third grade poets.

Check out the previous posts in this School Poetry Workshop series:

School Poetry Workshop: Haiku Hike, May 12, 2017
School Poetry Workshop: Food and the Five Senses, May 19, 2017
School Poetry Workshop: A Second Helping of Food Poems, May 25, 2017

 

School Poetry Workshops: A Second Helping of Food Poems

Last weekend, I visited my home state for NerdCampNJ. (Hey, Jersey! Looking good.) There’s no better way to spend a rainy Saturday than surrounded by educators, authors, and super readers.

At NerdCampNJ with members of the Sweet 16s debut author group (L to R): Isabel Bandeira (Bookishly Ever After, YA), Kristy Acevedo (Consider, YA), Melanie Conklin (Counting Thyme, MG), me with my button-covered lanyard, and Kathy MacMillan (Sword and Verse, YA).

One of the highlights of my day was co-leading a workshop: Building Literacy with Poetry and Books in Verse. You can find notes from the workshop here.

I met two wonderful poet/authors.

Beth Ain’s new verse novel is IZZY KLINE HAS BUTTERFLIES. It’s a great book for kids who enjoyed reading THE LAST FIFTH GRADE. It has an upper elementary school setting and an inviting voice. Izzy is working through real life problems with humor and thoughtfulness. (Beth has a very cool writing activity that supports developing emotional intelligence. There’s more info at her Instagram account.)

Available July, 2017.

Emma Otheguy’s debut picture book in verse is MARTI’S SONG FOR FREEDOM a biography of poet and activist José Martí. You can read more about Emma’s book here. I’m a huge fan of picture book biographies and this book is gorgeous. The story is told in Spanish/English poems by historian Otheguy.

I still had a taste for food poems, since my Northfield 3rd Grade poets described their favorite delicacies so well. That’s why, for my part of the NerdCampNJ workshop, I walked teachers through the Mystery Food exercise (find it here) and shared the mentor text, “Good Hotdogs,” by Sandra Cisneros.

Stop by Margaret Simon’s blog, Reflections on the Teche, for more Poetry Friday poems, reviews, and posts.

Thanks to the Northfield 3rd grade team and families for giving me permission to share students’ food poems with our Poetry Friday community. Let’s read more poems focusing on using imagery of the five senses.

 

 

Kelly’s poem is filled with tactile details about chocolate.

Poet: Kelly J.

Chocolate

Brown and smooth
Comes in different tasty flavors
With sweet smells
And chewy sounds
It’s crunchy and juicy
With it mostly hard
Sometimes there are bumps
Sometimes there are cracks
They don’t taste as delicious
If they are all melted.

The milky bites in my mouth
Remind me of cake
Chocolate cake is
Creamy and
All mushy.

 

Can you hear the rhythm and near-rhymes that Benjamin plays with in this fun poem?

Poet: Benjamin W.

Bubble Gum

Stretchy fun blow a bubble
When it pops blow again
Lost its taste get another
Ran out buy another
Any kind, get some color
Crank it up, taste the sugar
Add some mint, make it smell good
Hear the sound when it pops
Change the color, blue green pink

 

I like the pet cameo at the end of Zola’s poem about chocolate.

Poet: Zola G.

Chocolate

On the shelf at Aldi’s
Milk chocolate
Just waiting to be
Bought.
After my dinner of
Potatoes, broccoli, and sausage,
I ask the sometimes
Devastating question
“Can I have a chocolate bar?”
“Yes, of course. You
Ate real good.”
I run over to our candy cupboard
Which some people think
Looks like Mr. Willy Wonka’s
Factory!
I grab my chocolate and
Sit down to eat.
The sweet, creamy taste
Is awesome on my tongue.
Gnocchi looks up at me and
Then the chocolate.
It’s poison for dogs!
I won’t give her any! All for me.

 

Annchi’s poem tells a whole story. Have you ever gone fishing for your dinner? I have.

Poet: Annchi L.

Fried Fish

A rock around
On the bank, I sit
Only me and Dad
My hand holds a fishing pole
The bait is worms.
I can feel the worms squirm in my hand
As I put them on the hook.
Holding the fishing pole I swing my arm
Plop!
I sit there waiting, talking with my dad
Suddenly, something pulls and tugs.
I pull the string with all my might
Beads of sweat doll down
There I battle with the fish
Like playing tug-of-war with my friends
My dad helps, with one tug
The fish gives up.
Two against one.
I bolted back to home.
My mother fried it,
Sizzling in the pan,
I gobbled it up, a meaty flavor
I spit out all the prickly things
At my brother.
I run back to the bank, wanting for more!

 

Isabella’s poem had me drooling.

Poet: Isabella H.

Chocolate Peach Crêpe

In Canada, we go snow tubing.
Me, my cousins, grandparents, Mom, and Dad.
Afterwards, we eat the perfect French
Delight. Cling, cling, go the coins. I watch
The baker place the batter on the pan.
She spreads it flat and talks to us.
She plops on the big, juicy peaches,
Drizzles on the chocolate, scoops on
The ice cream, and rolls it up. When I see
The plate, it is white and plain…
Until she adds the crêpe. It’s thin,
Soft and creamy. Oops. It’s gone.
I gobbled it down.

 

I like the way that Nieve listened closely to the mentor text and incorporated ideas  from “Good Hotdogs” into this poem.

Poet: Nieve T.

Pizza

Cheesy golden brown saucy
Two dollars for a piece
We arrive to the shop
Cheesy, crunch
Crust is golden brown
“Crunch, crunch, crunch”
Smells like olives and cheese
Grease dripping down
I hum
We drive home.
I save none for my sister
Golden brown crust.
Yum! That pizza was so good.

 

Max and I had a good chat about our favorite hamentashen flavors. This cookie is a traditional Jewish food, enjoyed during the spring festival of Purim. Haman is the villain in the story of Esther, which is retold and acted out at Purim celebrations.

Poet: Max S.

Hamentashen

Flatten that dough
Circled out
Put some Nutella in the circle
Folded into a triangle
Hardened and heated
Yummy cookie and Nutella!
We eat Haman’s hat.
Bad Haman.
Smooth brown Nutella
In Haman’s hat.

 

This is another poem with great energy. Kali shares the anticipation of waiting for a favorite food.

Poet: Kali L.

Papa’s Special Pasta!

Every summer
Once a year
Saucy, sweet
Red sauce
Boiling water
Come, come on
Everyone it’s here
I can smell it
Come on
Five people here
Waiting on two
Come on Come
on

Our last workshop at Northfield will be persona poems. Look for those next week.

Check out the previous posts in this School Poetry Workshop series:

School Poetry Workshop: Haiku Hike, May 12, 2017
School Poetry Workshop: Food and the Five Senses, May 19, 2017

School Poetry Workshop: Food and the 5 Senses

Poetry Friday is at Kiesha’s Whispers from the Ridge. Click through to find more delectable poetry posts from the kidlitosphere.

It’s Poetry Friday! Welcome back to Northfield Elementary, where the third grade poets are using their five senses to write about food.

When I’m working with young writers on food poems, I want to guide them away from catch-all words: delicious, yummy, tasty, good, disgusting. Pizza and ice cream are both delicious, but they don’t taste anything alike (unless you visit this LA restaurant.)

Here’s a quick cooperative writing game/exercise you can use to help students focus on specific, descriptive language.

Mystery Food
Goal: Get the class to guess your mystery food in three words.

  1. Make a set of small cards with the name of a food on each one. I use half an index card. The foods I use are: ice cream, bubble gum, tacos, hamburger, pizza, apple, chocolate, orange, celery, spinach.
  2. Give groups of four-six students one card each. Don’t read the card aloud (we don’t want our classmates to hear), but pass it around the group.
  3. The group has 5 minutes to come up with the three adjectives that are so descriptive, the class will be able to figure out the food in one guess.
  4. Each group take turns reading their three words. The rest of the class tries to guess the food.

My students have a great time with this one. The classroom teacher and I do walk around, reminding them that they can use color, shape, texture, flavor, and other descriptors.

Our mentor text for the food poems workshop is “Good Hotdogs” by Sandra Cisneros.

Thanks to the Northfield 3rd grade team and families for giving me permission to share the students’ poems. Today, we were focusing on using imagery of the five senses.

Poet: Ayesha A.

Popsicle

Going outside
In the warm sunshine.
You run behind me.
Something’s in your hand.
You yell, “Wait!”
I turn around, something plops in
My hand.
I rip open the foil
And see all the types
Of colors. I take a bite
And out leaks the juicy
Cherry flavor. When I’m done there’s
A stick left behind.
I then say thanks and then
I leave. Yum.

Poet: Will Y.

Sushi

Waiting ‘til Friday
Hearing a ding
Going to the door, meeting
The sushi man
Pizza, sushi, and video games
End of the week, tired
California roll, sweet crab, soft avocado
I think it is tasty

Poet: Celia V.

Pepperoni Pizza

As I taste the spicy pepperoni
Smell the cheese at the tip
Of my tongue, see the cheesy
Pizza, hear the likes of
My mouth, ready to eat it
Up, I touch the hotness of
My pizza.

Poet: Tanishka H.

S’mores

Out in the dark
We sit in the pitch black.
Mom and Dad
Shout surprise! Out come
Hershey bars, marshmallows
Honeylicious graham crackers.
Mom and Dad light up the fire.
I see marshmallows
On a stick soft, crispy,
And looks yummy! First goes
The cracker, then goes toasty
Marshmallows and sweet
Hershey piece and another
Honeylicious graham
Cracker on top. We take
A s’more. We smell sweet crisps
Of marshmallow burns.
We take a bite. “Yum,” we say. Chewy
Squishy marshmallows in our mouths.
S’mores we all love.

Poet: Ava R.

Warm Drinks in the Winter

I hear the coffee machine dispenses warm liquid.
I feel the warm cup against my cold fingers.
I smell the hot chocolatey air.
I see the marshmallows melt into the hot chocolate.
I hear the sound of the whipped cream
Squirt out of the can into the hot chocolate.
It tastes as if I got it from heaven.
The warm liquid swishes in my mouth.
Swish, swash, gulp!

Still hungry? I’ll post more Northfield food poems next week.

Check out the previous posts in this School Poetry Workshop series:

School Poetry Workshop: Haiku Hike, May 12, 2017

School Poetry Workshop: Haiku Hike

Thank you for hosting today’s Poetry Friday link up, Tara Smith! You’ll find a list of today’s poetry posts at Tara’s blog, A Teaching Life.

Happy Poetry Friday, Readers.

It’s May, my month to serve as poet-in-residence at Northfield Elementary School. This is my longest running residency through the Maryland State Arts Council. 11 years!

When I had my orientation meeting with third grade educators this year, they had important information for me. This year’s 3rd graders are active. They need to move! How could we adapt the poetry lessons to meet this need?

We decided to kick off our series of poetry workshops with a haiku hike, inspired by the book HAIKU HIKE from Scholastic. This book won the 2005 “Kids Are Authors” award. It’s a great introduction to haiku and inspired us to go outdoors and gather images for our poems.

Haiku poems have a rich history, steeped in Japanese culture. We talked about a few quick things before we went outside.

  1. Japanese is read from top to bottom, not left to right like English. The 5-7-5 syllable count isn’t a rule, but an attempt to recreate the rhythm of a Japanese haiku. I encourage students to write three lines — short-long-short — or even two lines for their haiku. (We looked at a traditional haiku, in Japanese, from a page in the book WABI SABI, by Mark Reibstein, illustrated by Ed Young.)
  2. The book HAIKU HIKE introduces the concept of kigo, a word in the haiku that symbolizes the season.
  3. In some classes, we discussed the difference between haiku and senryu.

Then we were ready for our hike.

Each of the five third grade classes went outside for about 10-15 minutes on a series of sunny, very windy days. Wow! They student poets were so observant, paying attention to details small and large.

The wind was so chilly, students lay on the warm blacktop while they wrote down observations.

 

Thanks to the Northfield 3rd grade team and families for giving me permission to share the students’ poems.

Poet: Jessica M.

Leaves whispering quietly
My name in the breeze
Come outside with me

Modeling for students: flowers in our path/ buttercup turns our chins yellow/ on a haiku hike

Poet: A.J. H.

Itchy eyes
Acorns on the tips of trees
Millions of grass

Poet: Jameson I.

Running in grass
Brown pine cone in our path
Sappy hands

Poet: Sarah B.

On a sunny day
Spring flowers start to bloom
Then I do too

 

Poet: Sarena D.

Scratch, dirt creaks and crack
Under tree, all alone, far away from home
No movement, no tossing

Poet: Kate A.

Cute little creatures
Scurrying through green tree tops
Eating lots of nuts

Poet: Lucas B.

Shooting star
Some people make a wish
Others just watch

Poet: Milie S.

Shh, the leaves go
Rustled by the spring wind
Nature’s librarian

Poet: Jackson A.

Furious wind
Trees swaying and branches battling
Spring wind war

Poet: Addy M.

Raining, sad, sorrow
Sitting in my lonely shadow
Boom! Crash!

Then, this happened. (Haiku by Ms. Shovan)

windy spring day
student papers take flight
haiku blizzard

Inspired by the wonderful haiku by Northfield third graders, I’ve been working on my own haiku poems this week.

During one of my walks, I took photos instead of notes, then came home and wrote haiku like this one.

May walk
Sun puddles on pavement
Watch your step!

Want to try this lesson with your students? This is the frame I used. Feel free to borrow.