I LOVE student work.
The art, stories, plays, and poetry of children often stop us in our tracks, don’t they?
If I’m in front of a few dozen or hundred kids at a school visit and I solicit some creative contribution from them, there’s a moment of sheer delight when some young mind tosses out an idea or association that I wouldn’t have thought of in a million years. It’s an honor to explore the creative process together.
As we wrap up another school year, I’m thinking of author visits from this year as well as two school visits I still have coming up. Also, my middle school Language Arts teacher friend left me a message yesterday asking if I could judge some work for the county’s creative writing contest (again!). A young student from a school visit years ago has gotten back in touch asking for some guidance regarding his writing. It’s a privilege to be welcomed into a young person’s creative pursuits. And while I hope I can provide a little guidance here and there, the most important thing I can offer is encouragement. On a good day, maybe a dash of inspiration.
Speaking of inspiration, today’s Poetry Friday host and talented poet Elizabeth Steinglass got me to playing with limericks afresh this spring, with her posts about them. (Here's a terrific one from just last week.)
Right before spring break, I visited one of my favorite groups of people around: the students and faculty/staff at Fair Street School, An International Baccalaureate World School, here in north Georgia. We talked all about writing and rang in National Poetry Month. Limerick-fueled, I decided to adapt a creative writing exercise with them especially for Poetry Month.
I started out in my usual way, in the last few minutes of each presentation, asking the students to come up with a humorous character. This character is always a combination of two very different animals, which they name and classify, and which I draw on a large easel pad. Instead of going on to make a group story about this character as is my custom, we made a limerick about it!
The fun we had speaks for itself. You’ll see in these poems that I provided a basic structure for them to jump from. (We discussed the limerick form and clapped out the rhythm before diving in.) Here are the poems from the presentations, combinations of K-5 classes. Since I don’t have the goofy portraits to show (I leave these at the school with the writing), I’ll mention the animal combo before each one.
There once was a kangawolf named Ferret
who said, "I think I would like a parrot!
Because it is spring
I must tie a string
and I'm eating a juicy carrot!"
There once was a horsefrog named Kevin,
who said, "I wish I was eleven!
Because it is spring
I must sing with a ring,
And act my own age, which is seven!
There once was a cheesnake named Mimi,
who said, “I want a boyfriend named Jimmy.
Because it is spring,
I must buy a ring,
And cruise in my new Lamborghini!”
There once was a birddog named Tuchi,
who said, "I think you're a moochie.
Because it is spring, I must find the king,
and give him a great, big smoochie!"
Aren’t those terrific?
Several of our creative, multi-tasking Poetry Friday bloggers who are teachers feature student creations now and again. Here are a few recent favorites of mine; please feel free to leave more links in the comments!
Mary Lee brought us a wrap-up of her “Common Inspiration – Uncommon Creations” project at a A Year of Reading, with all kinds of enchanting results, including some original sculptures and poetry from some of her students.
At Hubbard’s Headlines, Betsy shared colorful, dusty student masterpieces from her Chalk-A-Bration! 2013 project.
Jone shared lots of student poetry in April at Check it Out
– So, go check it out!
Last but not least, you know there’s always something exciting going on at My Juicy Little Universe, when Heidi shares the adventures of her Mighty Minnows. Enjoy the wonderful kindergarten poetry she posted this week!
(Friday a.m. update) - Just saw Laura Shovan's wonderful post today featuring third graders writing poetry about math. Really! The poems are wonderful. She'll be posting more as her residency continues.
(Sat.) Margaret has some wonderful Mother's Day poetry from students over at Reflections on the Teche.
For more great poetry from writers of all ages, head back over to see what Liz has rounded up for us this week!
(Oh - and for more about how Amy Ludwig VanDerwater's Drawing into Poems project has continued to inspire me to think about drawing, writing, and blind contours - :0) - check out my column this month at Janice Hardy's The Other Side of the Story.