Archives: Naomi Shihab Nye

Poetry Friday: Poems from Third Grade, Part 2

This week's Poetry Friday host is Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche. Visit Margaret for all of the week's poetry links.

This week’s Poetry Friday host is Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche. Visit Margaret for all of the week’s poetry links.

Welcome back to Northfied Elementary, Poetry Friday readers.

This is my thirteenth year working with third graders at this local school. It’s a special occasion that I look forward to all year. The residency is sponsored by the school PTA’s cultural arts committee, and by an Artist-in-Residence grant from the Maryland State Arts Council. Thank you!

Our first poetry workshop was a favorite form, list poems. You can read my lesson, which describes the workshop, here.

The mentor text I use is “Words in My Pillow” by Naomi Shihab Nye, from Georgia Heard’s anthology of list poems, FALLING DOWN THE PAGE.

When we’re working on list poems, the students are focusing on two important skills: choosing a topic for the poem that influences every single line; and paying attention to word choice — this poem calls for juicy, interesting words that stand out!

While you’re enjoying these list poems, I will be on my way to my native New Jersey for NerdCamp! This annual literacy conference is held each year at Chatham HS. I’m looking forward to leading a session on introversion in the classroom with educator Heather Rocco. For a full list of authors and session, visit the NerdCampNJ home page.

Here is the next batch of third grade poems, with thanks to the students’ families for permission to share.

Words on the Beach
By Max A.

I know words are hiding here.
Words that are good–

Waves
Sharp
Soft

No one can see them
but I find them waiting for me.
Like the tummy hiding inside me.
No one can see it
but I know what I see–

Sand
Shells
Crabs
Seaweed
Water and
Waves

Things that are fun are in there
Beach balls are in there.

The words are playing together
when I want to meet them.

Fun
Water
Sun
Seaweed
is in the beach.

My friends the words
go to the beach before I do.
But they never
leave me.

***

Words in the Ocean
By Jesse Z.

I see words floating on the ocean.
Words that are soaked–

Sunken ship
Boats
Coral
Seashell

Some people can see them
but I find them swimming
like a shark swimming at me.
Some people can see it
but I really know it’s there.

Rough
Calm
Wavy
Blue
Crazy

Animals are in there.
Fish are in there.

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

Splashing
Snorkeling
and sometimes getting seasick.

My friends the words
go float and play before I do.
But they never
go away.

***

Words in a Basketball Court
By Chaitanya M.

I hide words inside my basketball.
Words that are loud.

Dribble
Dunk
Buzzers

No one can see them
but I find them waiting for me.
Like the TUMMY hiding inside my body.
No one can see it
but I know what’s in there–

3 pointer
Lay-up
Crossover
Half court
Full court
Balls

Teams are in there.
Players are in there.

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

Leather
Rubber
Glass
Metal
is in my basketball court.

My friends, the words
never go away.

***

Words in My Gymnastics Bag
By Milan M.

I hide words inside my gymnastics bag.
Words that feel good and bad–

Leotard
Scrunchie
Socks

No one can see them
but I find them inside my brain.
Like the pain hiding inside my ankle.
No one can see it
but I know what’s in there–

Competing
Winning
Tired
Flexibility
Tricks
Flipping
Split

Entertaining is in there.
Sweaty is in there.

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

Boom!
Thump!
Land!
Ouch!
is in my gymnastics bag.

My friends the words
go to gymnastics class before I do.
But they never, never, ever
do flips and splits!!!!

***

Words in My Basketball
By Trevor L.

I hide words inside my basketball.
Words that inspire me.

Orange
Stripes
Light

No one can see them
but I find them waiting for me.
Like the greatness hiding inside my body.
No one can see it
but I know what’s in there–

Shot
Team
Players
Hoop
Fun
Back board

Smarts are in me.

Me and the ball are playing together
when I am saying or thinking of it.

Friends
Crazy
Rough
Tough
is in my ball.

My ball, my friend
goes to the court.
But it doesn’t
go away.

***

Words in My Dog
By Emma B.

I hide words inside my dog.
Words that are good–

Dog toys
Panting
Warm

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

Trotting
Fun
Combs
Energetic
Excited
Running

Fleas are in there.
Ticks are in there.

Jumping
Dog food
Treats
Fluffy
is in my dog.

My dog
goes to bed before I do.
But the words inside her
go away.

***

All poems shared with permission.

Poetry Friday: Poems from Third Grade, Part 1

Elizabeth Steinglass, our host for Poetry Friday, is celebrating her new book! Stop by Liz’s blog to find this week’s poetry links and to hear all about SOCCERVERSE.

Greetings, Poetry Friday friends.

This month, I am back at Northfield Elementary for my annual poetry residency. Each year, I spend about a month working with the entire third grade.

The residency is sponsored by the school PTA’s cultural arts committee, and by an Artist-in-Residence grant from the Maryland State Arts Council. Thank you!

Our first poetry workshop was a favorite form, list poems. You can read my lesson, which describes the workshop, here.

The model poem I use is by our new Young People’s Poet Laureate, Naomi Shihab Nye. The students were so excited when I told them the big news of her appointment. Yes! The poem we worked with is by *the* top children’s poet in the country.

“Words in My Pillow” by Naomi Shihab Nye comes from Georgia Heard’s anthology of list poems, FALLING DOWN THE PAGE.

This is what the cross-out method of poem writing looks like.

Because this is our first workshop, we do this poem as a cross-out. The children write their original poems over the top of Nye’s words. This provides structure and coaches these young poets in rhythm and word choice.

Here is the first batch of this year’s third grade poems. I’m so happy to be able to send some of the students’ first drafts.

 

 

 

Words in My Dreams
By Aiden M.

I have words inside my dreams,
words from my head–

Crazy
Wild
Sour

No one can see them
but I find them hunting for me.
Like the money hiding inside my piggy.
No one can see it
but I know it’s in there–

Scary
Happy
Sticky
Bright
Sweet
Sad

Flowers are in there
Clouds are in there.

The words are playing together
when I am thinking and thinking about them.

Colorful
Gloomy
Cute
Weird
is in my dreams.

My friends the words
go to my mind before I notice.
But they never go away.

***

Words in My Desk
By Zoey C.

I hide words inside my desk.
Words that make me happy.

Neat
Clean
Organized

No one can find them
but I find them making me proud.
Like the school box hiding inside my desk.
No one can find them
but I know what’s in there.

Glue
Markers
Scissors
Pencil
Eraser
Crayons

Notebooks are in there.
Folders are in there.

The words are talking together
when I am grabbing or thinking them.

Slide
Push
Take
Tip
I find in my desk.

My helpers the words
go to school before I do.
But they never
go away.

***

Words in My Stinky Shoes
By Novali V.

I hide words inside my shoes.
Words that taste bad.

Soccer
Stench
Kick

No one can see them.
They still use them,
like the brain hiding inside my head.
No one can see it
but I know what’s in there–

A foot
Sweat
A sock (smelly)
Dirt
Rocks, stones
Toena — oof! *Slips*

Kicks are in there.
Accidental sliding is in there.

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

Excited for a game
Tired
Thoughts
Sprint
is in my shoe.

My friends, the words
go to rest before I do.
But they never
come out of my shoes.

***

Words in My Ocean
By Elyse G.

I discover words inside my ocean.
Words that feel good–

Cool water
Moist sand
Slimy seaweed squelching
between my toes

People think they can see them
but I know that what they see is just
half the picture,
like the beach.
People can see the sand
but they can’t see the miles
of the ocean’s words.
No one can see it
but I know what’s in there–

Seahorse
Fishes of the oceans
Oil
Mollusks
Sea cucumbers
Caverns

Jellies are in there.
Underwater is in there.

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

Slimy
Soft
Hard
Cool
Wondrous

My friends the words
wiggle away before people can find them.
But I always know where to find them.

***

Words in the Solar System
By Matthew B.

I hide words inside the solar system.
Words that are breathtaking.

Planets
Sun
Stars

Everyone can see them
but I find them waiting for me.
Everyone can see it
but I know what’s in there–

Light
Dark
White
Burning
Sparkling
Cold

Planets are in there.
The moon is in there.

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

Cold
Yellow
Traveling
Woosh!
is in the solar system.

My friends the words never
go to bed.
But they never float away.

***

Words in My Pocket
By Jackson S.

I hide words inside my pocket.
Words that are fun–

Lollipop
Coins
Stickers

No one can see them
But I find them waiting for me.
Like my room waiting for me after school.
No one can feel it
but I know what’s in there.

Bouncy ball
Drawings
Playing cards
Wrappers
Band-aid colors

Darkness is in there
My stuff is in there.

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

Paper
Smarties
Purple
Bang!
is in my pocket.

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

***

Words in My Cat Fela
By River M.

She has words inside her body.
Words that are cuddly–

Sleep
Eat
Grumble

No one can see them
but I find them in her fur.
Like the tiredness and calmness in her head.
No one can see it
but I know what’s in there.

Food
Treats
Blankets
Outside
“Leave me alone”
Comfortable

Memories are in there too.
Kitten is in there.

The words are sleeping together
when she is meowing or thinking them.

Yes
Stop
Bed
Chhh!
is in my cat Fela.

My cat Fela and the words
go to bed before I do.
But they never
go away from my cat Fela’s mind.

***

Words in My Pool
By Olivia L.

I hide words inside my pool.
Words that splash you–

Leaves
Waves
Water

No one can see them
but I find them waiting for me.
Like the bubbles hiding beside my body.
No one can see it
but I know what’s in there.

Bugs
Toy ships that float
Feet slicing through the water
Money people have lost
Birds swimming
Floats floating

The word “Overwhelming” hides in the pool as well.
People feeling refreshed by the cool water.

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

Whip
Splash!
Blue
Woosh!
is in my pool.

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

All poems shared with permission.

Poetry Friday: List Poem Lesson

This week’s Poetry Friday host is Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche. Margaret has a new book of poems coming out, BAYOU SONG. I can’t wait!

Welcome back to Northfield Elementary School, Poetry Friday friends.

This is my twelfth year as Northfield’s poet-in-residence, working with the third grade team. The annual poetry residency is sponsored by the school PTA’s cultural arts committee, and by an Artist-in-Residence grant from the Maryland State Arts Council. Thank you!

This has been a great teaching partnership for me. I learn new things from Northfield’s educators every year.

You will find “Words in My Pillow,” by Naomi Shihab Nye, in this anthology: FALLING DOWN THE PAGE: A Book of List Poems, Edited by Georgia Heard.

Our first workshop was the list poem, which I haven’t done in a few years. Naomi Shihab Nye’s “Words in My Pillow” from the anthology Falling Down the Page was our model. You can read my initial plan for this lesson at Today’s Little Ditty.

A few years ago, I wrote my own “Words in My ___ Poem” to close out our National Poetry Month series on poems about clothes. It was titled “Words in My Closet.” You can read it at this post.

Because “Words in my Pillow” is about words and language, the third graders and I spent a lot of time talking about juicy words. A poem called “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).

Because this was our first lesson, I encouraged the students to stick as close to Naomi Shihab Nye’s poem as they wanted to. We did this by writing a “cross-out” poem. Using a print-out of “Words in My Pillow,” the poets strike-through any words they want to replace with their own ideas. It looks like this:

Words in My Piano
By Shanthi S.

I hide words inside my piano.
Words that sound good–

NOTES.
KEYBOARD.
NOISE.

No one can see them
but I find them waiting for me.
Like the strings hiding inside the keyboard.
No one can see it
but I know what’s in there —

MUSIC
ADVANCED
SONGS
PERCUSSION
PEDALS
SLIDE

RHYTHM is in there.
TUNING is in there.

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

PIANO BOOKS.
HARMONY.
PITCH.
BEAT
is in my piano.

My friends the words
go to play music before I do.
But they never
go away.
***

 

Words in the Gym
By Bettina

I hide words inside the gym.
Words that worry me a lot—

BALLS.
FAVE.
BENCH.

No one can see them until it comes out of nowhere
and crashes right in you like a ball
but I find them waiting for me as I get my hopes up.
Like the unsure hiding inside my body.
No one can see it, they’re too tall to feel it
but I know what’s in there—and all the other shorties.

PUMPED.
NERVOUS.
TIRED.
EXHAUSTED.
DISAPPOINTED.
BORED.

CYCLES are in there.
HOPES are in there.

The words are bouncing together
When I am saying or thinking them.

YES!
UH OH!!
RUN.
WHOOSH!
is in the gym.

My friends the words
go to bed before I do.
But they never go away. And I’ll
just have to deal
with it.
***

Words in My Hideout
By Isabella

I hide words inside my hideout.
Words that feel cozy—

DARK.
COZY.
SECRETIVE.

No one can see my cave
but I find it waiting for me
like a fox hiding in the forest.
No one can see it
but I know it’s there—

QUIET.
FUN.
SOFT.
BLANKETS.
FILES.
COLORFUL.

STUFFIES are in there.
ART SUPPLIES are in there.

The words are sneaking around
when I am saying or thinking them.

RAINBOW.
PICTURE.
ANIMALS.
HAPPINESS is in my hideout.

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

Words in My Pool
By Ashwin

I see words inside my pool.
Words that flow well—

WATER.
WARM.
CHLORINE.

Everyone can see them.
They are everywhere
like the person hiding behind the waterfall.
No one can see him
but I know who is in there.

PEOPLE.
GOGGLES.
LEAVES.
DIRT.
ALGAE.
GRASS.

BUGS are in there.
PLANTS are in there.

The words are bouncing together
When I am saying or thinking them.

SPLASH.
YEAH.
YUCK.
EW
is in my pool.

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

Words in the River
Poet: Katherine

I hide words inside the water.
Words that flow good—

CLAM.
FISH.
WATER.

No one can see them
but I find them waiting for me.
Like the voice telling me to jump.
No one can see it
but I know what’s in there—

ROCKS.
SPLASHES.
HONK.
SAND.
FLOW.
ALGAE.
BORED.

The words are splashing together
When I am saying or thinking them.

FAST.
SLOW.
SHALLOW.
DEEP!
is in my river.

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

***

Words in My Video Games
By Ryan

There are words in my video games.
Here’s my words of VICTORY!–

YOU WIN!
NEW RECORD!
1ST PLACE!

But I have losing words too
like—

GAME OVER!
YOU DIED!
LAST PLACE!
YOU LOSE!

Video games have names (obviously).
Mine are–

MARIO KART!
MINECRAFT!
WII SPORTS U!
THE LEGO MOVE VIDEO GAME
are my video games.

My friends like video  games
and so do I.
But they never
Get old!
***

Words in My Name
By Ella

I have words inside my name.
You might not know it—

CRAZY.
LOVABLE
NECKLACE.

No one can see them
but I find them waiting for me.
Like the girl inside my body.
No one can see it,
but I know what’s in there—

HEART.
SUGAR.
LOLLIPOP.
FUNNY.
SHY.
HAPPY.

SECRETS are in there.
CRAZINESS is in there.

The words are bouncing together
When I am saying or thinking them.

EXCELLENT – E.
LOVELY – L.
LIGHT – L
AWESOME – A
is in my name.

My friends the letters
get written down on my paper.
But they never go away.
***

All poems shared with permission.

When I first ran this workshop in 2015, I blogged about what went well. Here’s what I wrote at that time, plus a few adjustments I made to the lesson.

  • This was a good choice for the first lesson of a residency. The children liked being able to focus on the basic element of a poem: words. Of course, we always focus on words in poetry. But Naomi Shihab Nye’s model poem is about the words we carry around in our heads. Starting with something so basic and important on Day 1 provided a strong foundation for future writing.
  • This is the first time I’ve encouraged students to plug into a model poem. Some of the third graders took the model poem “Words in My Pillow,” crossed out the lines and words they wanted to change, and wrote their own words into those spaces. They responded well to having this structure for our first day of writing together. (Update: This turned out to be a great strategy! This year, some students used the cross-out poem for their odes too.)
  • “Words in My Pillow” can adapt to any topic. Because what we’re really talking about is language — words — the poem could be called “Words in My Dinosaur,” “Words in My Garbage Can,” or “Words in My Suitcase.” We have the structure of the poem, but also the freedom to come up with a topic the poet cares about.

UPDATE: When we think about “juicy words,” many third graders focus on nouns — the literal things they might find in a garden, their desk at school, the refrigerator. I added a brainstorming activity to this lesson. Together, the class creates a “Words in My School” or “Words in My Teacher” poem. We break into small groups. Each group is assigned to brainstorm words for our poem.

One group comes up with 3 or more objects/nouns that would be in a school (desk, white board, cafeteria, playground). The next group thinks of adjectives to describe the school: fun, busy, loud. Another group has action words/verbs: learn, study, play. “Feeling words” was another group’s job — states of being like nervous, happy, bored. Last and most challenging — “idea words” — these are larger concepts such as community, friendship, perseverance.

Although this pre-writing activity added 10-15 minutes to the lesson, it helped the third graders stretch when they thought about which juicy words to add to the poem.

Posts in the “Poems from the Northfield Third Grade” 2018 series:
Poetry Friday List Poem Lesson
A Garden of Words: 3rd Grade List Poems
The Pool Is the Capital of My Summer: Odes to Place
Third Grade Odes from Northfield E.S.
Fractured Fairy Tale Poems
Poetry Friday: Once Upon a Time
A Gallery of Poems