Friday, April 16, 2010

the first grade update

Poetry immersion continued this week with more children's choices: "Nightmare," a spider poem from Hey There, Stink Bug! by Leslie Bulion, chosen by Christopher; Sophia's selection "I Know Someone" by Michael Rosen collected in My Song Is Beautiful; and Kate's choice of "Violets, Daffodils" by Elizabeth Coatsworth from a lovely large-format collection that I'll get back to you on. Rafael chose "Schools Get Hungry Too" from Kalli Dakos's The Bug in Teacher's Coffee which I'll be going back to when we talk about voice, and yesterday Ella picked "Monday's child is fair of face" collected in The Barefoot Book of Rhymes Around the Year, which I've owned since my years teaching in London. We all enjoyed coming back to this one which popped up in our read-aloud Clever Polly and the Stupid Wolf, a classic English series by Catherine Storr which is not well-known here but very worth tracking down.

Meanwhile, there's some poetry action going on in my son's own first-grade classroom and as a result I enjoyed a peak moment this week: close to an hour snuggled in bed on a rainy evening with my two children as we all simultaneously wrote color poems following a form that Little D had used in class--he in a brand-new writing notebook, I in my umpteenth writing notebook, and Bigger D on her laptop (when did she learn to type so fast?). This is the one he brought home from school, specially copied out for Mommy the poet.

Black and Me

Black is the deep black night and Great Ape's

Black is a great wolf's howl

black is a spider creeping

black looks like a slick fur coat

black sounds like an echo in a neverending

black smells like smoky black coal

black feels like the threatening black spikes on a
steel gate

black tastes like the smoky taste of smoked

black makes me feel brave and swift

black is an old ghost in a tavern

~Duncan, age 7

Much later I realized I had missed that mattered.


  1. Heidi,

    Being retired is wonderful. Still, there are certain things about teaching elementary school children that I really miss--reading aloud to and writing poetry with my students.

  2. Little D's poem reminded me of black smoky marshmallows too - GT


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