To introduce the students to poetry, we were guided by Lucy Calkin's Units of Study for Primary Writing. We talked to the children about how poet's look at ordinary things in new and unique ways. As Calkins writes, they use "a poet's eye" to see the world. We shared lots of examples, including this poem by Valerie Worth:
By Valerie Worth
Closed, it sleeps
On its side
Opened it snaps
Its tail out
Like a thin
Shrimp, and looks
At the sharp
Point with a
all the small poems and fourteen more, ©1994.
Farrar, Strauss & Giroux
When teaching writing in general, there are always a few children who struggle to get started. I often hear, "I don't know what to write," and without guidance, these children just sit - worried about choosing just the right topic or unsure about where to begin when they have too many ideas. Although we remind them that poems can be about anything, ordinary or extraordinary, it takes more to get these kids writing.
While reading Georgia Heard's Awakening the Heart, I was drawn to her heart mapping activity. As she writes, "poet's write from their hearts about what we deepily care about." Keeping in mind the things that meant the most to them, our students set out to makes their own "maps of the heart." Here are a few of them:
This was a great way to get children thinking about their ideas and something they could use as inspiration when they didn't know what to write about.