Archives: Northfield Elementary

School Poetry Workshop: Poetry Celebration!

Thanks to Buffy Silverman for hosting Poetry Friday this week. Stop by Buffy’s Blog for all of this week’s poetry links.

Happy Poetry Friday! I’m saying goodbye to Northfield Elementary School this week. For the past month, I’ve been conducting a poetry residency with the school’s third grade.

At the bottom of this post, I’m sharing a gallery of some of the poetry displays. The kids outdid themselves this year!

Our final workshop was on persona poems. You’ll find lesson details in my recent posts, linked at the bottom of this page. Let’s get straight to the poetry!

In Erin’s poem, I see an imaginative leap when an unexpected character enters the poem, adding tension to the story.

Poet: Erin A.

Hello, my name is Bob. I am
47 years old. I live in Florida
and love lamb. Today, I got a promotion
and raise. My family will be so
happy. I have two boys, a wife,
and a pet puppy. My family was
very happy, even my puppy.
It went better
than I expected.
We went outside
for dinner.
But suddenly,
my big brother came.
I knew
he was going
to make fun
of me. But
he didn’t. He said
very good things
about me. Right
at that moment
I felt really special.

*

Here is the updated poem, on display at our celebration.

Eva’s poem also has a moment where something unexpected happens.

Poet: Eva L.

Spring Day

It was a new spring day
on the field, many dandelions on the ground.
A little boy ran to the field.
He picked up a full dandelion.
He was thinking, let me make more
seeds for spring.
Maybe if I do that will I be a
spring hero.
The boy went to blow the dandelion.
Then a big wind just blew the dandelion.
The little boy worried the dandelion
is not blown by him.
Will he be a spring hero?
Or dandelion seeds not grow?
All will see in the next spring.

*

Alex wrote our only non-human persona poem this year. This one made me laugh! Wow — that’s some clever use of onomatopoeia.

Poet: Alex K.

I am a cat.
I have brown and black fur.
Hands pick me up!
Save me—ow!
My eyes glisten with unhappiness!
Put me down!
Get away.
You’re licking me!
Weird lady, get away!
She puts me down.
I scramble to hide.
Where do I hide?
An empty bowl?
I get in it and wait
‘til she finds me.

*

Miah’s poem is has an air of mystery. I feel sad for the character she created, who loves to play with friends, but seems to be struggling at home.

Poet: Miah A.

A child playing with friends,
laughing and active.
Playing until the moon meets.
Feeling happiness in all the other children.
Always active,
never resting.
Loudness disturbs Mom’s quiet time.
Waves goodbye, in her blue eyes,
they shine today, with the friendship.
But Jessie couldn’t do her homework.
Mom did not rest. They got mad,
but I just smiled.

*

I had a chance to hear Claire perform this poem for visitors today. She did a great job imagining what it might feel like to be a college student.

Poet: Claire D.

I like my friends Sarah,
Stella, and Lisa in college.
They are so kind. But especially I love…
MY UNIVERSITY! It’s beautiful.
It has good education and kind teachers.
When I read the books in the library
I feel I am part of the story.
But when I feel the potions
in Chemistry, it feels tickly on my fingers.
But I just love the people. They wave. They laugh,
which makes me feel like I belong.

*

Now for a quick photo gallery!

Haiku by Kevin Z.

Food poem by Abby W.

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

*

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 Workshop: Persona Poems, May 30, 2017
School Poetry Workshop: Creating a Character, June 1, 2017

School Poetry Workshop: Creating a Character

Today is the poetry open house at Northfield Elementary, where I’ve been in residence for the past month. I haven’t seen the third grade poets since our revision day. It’s always exciting to read their poems again and see how they have developed.

Let’s look more closely at persona poems.

When we’re creating a character, whether it’s in a poem or in prose, how do we move away from our own thoughts and experiences and begin to imagine the internal life of another person?

I’ve shared that I use images of people — postcards and magazine cut-outs — to give young poets a concrete starting place. Layering imagination onto a picture of a stranger can be a challenging task.

Over the years, and with the help of classroom teachers, this is the brainstorming sheet I’ve developed. It helps students dig into the personas they are creating for their poems. Feel free to use this worksheet. As always, if you share it, please acknowledge or link back to me.

Laura’s Persona Poem/Character Development brainstorming sheet.

Feelings: How does your person feel in this moment or about his or her situation?

Thoughts: What is he or she thinking?

What happens next?: Imagine that the picture is a TV or movie screen, with the action on pause. If you hit the “Play” button, what’s the next thing that would happen?

Maybe: Any other possibilities or ideas you have about this person’s life or situation.

You can read a full description of how to run this workshop at Today’s Little Ditty. I often use Shonto Begay’s poem “Down Highway 163” as a mentor text.

Persona Poem Workshop post at Today’s Little Ditty.

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

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.

Sophia’s poem is all about capturing tone. Each item in the image adds to the feeling of loneliness.

Poet: Sophia B.

The girl looks

sad and lonely. She is alone.

She stands out against

the black wall and

brown curtains.

She’s eating apples

in a blue dress.

A lonely five year old

girl sitting at the table

all alone.

*

Isabella’s poem creates an entire family! The speaker’s happiness and love for her husband and daughter shines through this poem.

Poet: Isabella C.

I Am Outside

 

With my husband and daughter.

We are getting ready to play ball.

My daughter’s having fun with Dad.

They make me smile.

I love you, is what I think

she is trying to say.

She is one. She loves to play.

I named her Kali. I love her

and my name is Mara.

My husband’s name is Juston.

My family is one of a kind,

but I love that.

We have a dog named Lucky.

We named him that

because they were getting ready to put him down.

Then Juston and me bought him.

I love my family.
*

Who hasn’t imagined what a baby might be thinking? I love the tactile images in Shalisa’s sweet poem. And the clasped hands at the end — wow!

 

Poet: Shalisa I.

 

I am a baby.

Even though I can’t speak full sentences

I have them in my head

and this is what I can speak,

Goo goo gaa gaa.

Anyways, I am about to go outside.

It is windy, but it’s divine.

The breeze ruffles through my hair.

My mommy puts me gently on the grass.

It tickles my toes.

I suddenly feel like

I am rising from below

and I am on my mother’s toes.

Soon I say, Goo gaa,

which means “Yay! This is fun!”

I am swinging and rocking.

My mom is smiling at me

and I smile back.

Her loves makes me happy

and so does her smile too.

We put our hands together.

My hands are the key

and her  hands are the lock.

This is my favorite thing to do

with me and my mommy.

*

 

This is Mark’s updated draft, with an illustration. Isn’t it cool?!

Listen to the sounds and rhythms in Mark’s exciting poem. “Sparkle in the dark” — wonderful wordplay!

Poet: Mark G.

Places! Places!
The s
how will start.
The s
how must go on!

On you go, the crowd

won’t wait. If

there was no show,

I would hate!
We w
ill have effects.

the costumes will

sparkle in the dark.

The music will sound like

it’s from Broadway!
*

I like the way that Mounira captures a specific moment in her character’s life and walks us through it slowly, so we can experience all of this person’s emotions.

Poet: Mounira H.

 

First!

 

Feeling nervous as I walk

to a stall. I don’t wanna

try to swim, it’s scary.
Get t
o a stall and put my

bathing suit on. I know

I have gear I can float

in, but I’m scared.
Mom t
akes a picture. I try

to look happy for her.

I feel weird with everything

on me. I wish it wasn’t

my first time swimming.

Finally, I get out
of the s
tall and put my foot
in t
he water. I feels nice

in the water. My swimming

teacher comes over and

says, “Ready to swim?

I say Yes and

five minutes later

I am swimming
for t
he first time.
*

Look for the final set of Northfield persona poems tomorrow, Poetry Friday. 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 Workshop: Persona Poems, May 30, 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 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

List Poems from Northfield ES

Hello, Readers! After my new middle grade novel launched in mid-April, I took a month off from blogging.

In that month, I’ve visited schools and bookstores in Albuquerque, New Mexico, New York City, and Baltimore. Now I’m back in my own neighborhood, teaching at Northfield Elementary. I’ve been poet in residence with the Northfield third grade for ten years.

The first time I meet the poets, we work on a structured form, such as a list poem. This year, our first model poem was Naomi Shihab Nye’s “Words in My Pillow.” It’s from the list poem anthology, FALLING DOWN THE PAGE.

FALLING DOWN THE PAGE

Read more about this book, edited by Georgia Heard, at the MacMillan website.

In the model poem, the speaker describes tucking words into her pillow before she goes to sleep. The third graders and I brainstormed our own list of juicy words, and figured out how we might change the topic of the poem, but keep some of its structure.

For instance, “Words in My Dog” might include specific nouns (TREATS, WATER, TONGUE), descriptive adjectives and verbs (BARK, FLUFFY, FAST, LICK), but it might also have “states of being” — things we can’t really see (LOVE, COMFORT, KINDNESS).

I am excited to share the third graders’ poems. Please be aware that these are first drafts. We will work on line breaks together on Revision Day.

Thanks to the educators and families at Northfield for allowing me to post the children’s original work.

Words in my Piano

By Michelle Z.

I hide words in my piano.
Words that sound good.

Music
Keys
88

No one can see them but I
find them waiting for me
whenever I hit a key. No one can see it
but I know it’s in there.

Sound
High
Low
Strings

The words are talking together
whenever I’m thinking them.

Metal
Wood
Bang!
is in my poem.

The words never leave but
sometimes I do.

***

Here is Christina’s poem. Christina opted to do her first draft as a cross-out. Here is what it looks like on the page, and typed up.

IMG_20160516_181148Words in My Heart
By Christina F.

I hide words inside my heart.
Words that feel good —

Love
Family
Caring

No one can see them
but I find them waiting for me.
No one can see it
but I know what’s in there —

Strong
Brave
Red
Cry
Beat
Shyness

Blood is in there.
A story is in there.

The words are playing together
when I am saying or thinking them.

Mine
Keep
Have
Stars
is in my heart.

My friends the words
go to bed before I do.
But they never
go away.

***

There’s a lot of action in Marcel’s poem.

Words in My Shoes!
By Marcel C-G

My shoes are
bored when I’m in class.

The pair wants to run like
lightning.

Whoosh! Colorful! Rubber wants to run!
Phew! Come on! Juicy wind is so windy!
Whee! Ahhhh, I’m too bored!

But if you run
they feel too
tired.
They also feel
sleepy.
At recess, they’re so excited
they’re going to die for it!

When I am in the cafeteria
they’re starving, but I can’t give
them food.

Rubber goes to sleep.

I’m sorry shoes!!!

***

Andy came up with some very inventive imagery for the opening of this list poem.

Words in My Dog
By  Andy T.

There are words inside my dog.
Words that slide down her tongue
and come out of her mouth.

WOOF!
Bark!
Grrr!
Yawn

You can’t see them but they
are there. Like the feelings deep
down in my dog.

Hungry
Desperate
Sleepy
Bored
Energetic.

Feelings are in my dog.
Sad is there. Tired is there.
Some words are adjectives.
Some are good, some bad.

Stinky
Fluffy
Small
Cute
Sick

My dog’s friends the words
go to bed before her,
but will be waiting for her
in the morning.

***

I loved the way that Riley worked a recipe into this list poem.

Words in My Cake Mix
By Riley H.

I store words in my cake mix,
words that taste delicious.

Candy
Treat
Dessert

No one can touch them,
but I find them waiting for my return,
like the measurements in my brain.

2 1/2 cups flour
1/4 milk
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

Smarts are in there.
Patience is in there.

The words are forming a bond
before we sample or munch them.

Cookies
Donuts
Muffins
Crunch
are in my cake mix.

My ingredients the words
go away before I do,
baked in their pan.
After, I add sprinkles,
icing.

Then, we taste:
ALL GONE!

***

Last, Eve captures many of the reasons children enjoy playing sports together.

Words in My Soccer Ball
By Eve B.

I hide words inside my soccer ball.
Words that help me win the game:

TRY
CHAMPION
ENERGY

No one can see them
but I find them rooting for me on the bleachers.
Like the KICK in my foot.
No one can see it
but I know what it’s like:

STRONG
POWERFUL
HARD
BOOM!
WHOOSH
TEAMWORK is in there.

The words are passing to each other
when I am saying or thinking them.

TOGETHER
LEADERSHIP
HAPPINESS
are all in my soccer ball.

My friends the words,
I can’t kick them away.
But I would never try it,
not any day.

***

I’ll post more Northfield list poems tomorrow. If you have a question about this lesson or feedback for the Northfield poets, please leave it in the comments.