Friday, January 13, 2017

under the sea

In 2nd grade we have been working on a group of related projects with "a special place" at the center.  The class voted to study coral reefs way back in November, and in addition to writing information brochures about this ecosystem, we are now writing a version of Stone Soup set on a coral reef ("Seashell Soup") and we'll make a display for Multicultural/International Night about a country where the people's culture depends on the their reef.

After all the research, I like to offer an opportunity to express understandings in another form--poetry.  As I Tweeted last Friday, part of our inspiration came from Kate Coombs's book Water Sings Blue, and you'll see echoes of her "Coral," "Shark" (what a poem!) and "Nudibranch."  And it must be said that some students did not know the factual information as well as they felt the wonder of the reef--a helpful check-up!

So here are the Diamond Miners' coral reef poems, their first "assigned" poetry writing of the year, after months of steeping in excellent models.  As always, I consider it a success when the great majority of kids blast off on their own, knowing that they are the boss of their poem, its concept, its language, its mood.  This year my young writers needed most support in bossing their poems' form--most started at the left margin and wrote straight across their chosen paper, so our revision conferences focused on arrangement.


by Angel O.

I’m a new world, maybe a galaxy
I’m beautiful like stars
I’m like a new world to millions
I was born to shine
    “I want to meet you.”
        by Ollie S-F.

People call me pretty.
Thank you for the compliment.
I don’t like that much attention.
I don’t move from this spot
for my whole life.
My species is endangered
but you can help.
My name is Coral.
What is yours?

Coral Reef
     by Erick P. F. 

The polyp is big
the polyp is long
the polyp is bleaching
all day long

by Kayla B.

I am round
I have no end
I just want
to be your friend
to the end


                    Colorful Coral Reef Hotels
                            by Angelina H.

    Purple,                   green,
               orange,                       blue,
yellow,     red,        magenta  too
       Hold your breath until you fall
We’re like a town of underwater colorful hotels
  or even a world
Hold your breath until                        you see like a
       you rise                                            galaxy
We are corals, we are hotels, we are a world of colorful hotels

                      by James A.

              A squid is fast
but always last.      A squid is
like a tube that shoots smoke.
A squid is fast and past other
sea animals.  It is big    it is red   it is like
a big coral reef.  Some day
 it will be bright, gold, happy, and
an escaper.  If a squid was in
jail it would just flush down
the toilet, down down down into the blue
big wavy ocean and get fast again!!!!
Are you like a squid?

Who am I?
by Jacob L-M.

I am squishy
and wet
I have no shell
I live under water
who am I? ……

               a sea slug!

Sea Cucumber
by Kelly M.

organic orange
sea cucumber
I’m rough
I don’t move
I suck up the sand with my mouth
like a vacuum

The Coral Friends
by Roselyn H.

we are busy   we
are growing   we
don’t care what
you are doing    we are
growing and our friends
are too   when we

grow up we will play too.

Coral Shark    
     by Andy M.

I swim fast and slow...
I hide in the shadows...
waiting to attack!

Clown Fish
by Nathan Z.

A clown fish is a wish
When you catch
it, it shakes you
Such a glory
such a fish
When you smell it
it smells deelish
remember when
you caught that

     Sea Slug
        by Watal F.

I am a sea slug
   that is blue
that has no shell
I live in a cave
      in the

Sea Turtle
      by Joey F.

I am
a sea turtle with a shell
I swim calmly
with others
and what I see
is bright colors
and we are
different shapes
like different

The Coral Flower
    by Angela S.

a bright flower
that shines
across the water

to catch the sunlight

Sea Cucumber
      by Madelinne A.

keeps sand clean
and it is orange
and oval
wet and squishy
smooth and bumpy
skin has circles

The Reef
by Joseph S.

He lived in a shell,
breaking out to swim.
Deep-down ocean water blue.
Salty sun light.
Star-coral loved to swim in
the reef with his colorful

Don't you feel all warm and watery now?  The Round-Up today is hosted by Keri at Keri Recommends--drift on over to the colorful reef of posts!


  1. The entire project sounds wonderful, and including nf poems in all the learning is a leap for some I imagine, and probably a happy one. I read each one, and loved that at least some fact is included. I won't choose a favorite, but enjoyed each one as a unique voice. Thanks, Heidi!

  2. I love these poems! Your students are learning so much--about reefs, about research and writing, about poetry. Wow!

  3. These are great, Heidi! Please book me a room at the Coral Reef Hotel.

  4. Wow! What a gorgeous collection! They are clearly excellent miners (and you are doing a wonderful job).

  5. Such beautiful poems. I felt like I was deep sea diving.

  6. I love seeing your students' work. I imagine a seascape bulletin board with all these amazing poems on it. My favorite line is "My name is Coral. What is yours?" Precious!

    1. Yes, indeed! After they analyzed and evaluated each others' brochures, groups of four collaborated to make sections of reef for the bulletin board where brochures and poems are displayed. Photos coming soon!

  7. *swoon*

    LOVE reading about this multi-faceted study. LOVE reading your Diamond Miners' poems!!

  8. I love the idea of being their own bosses and the fact that they took off straight across the page. It feels like such a natural place for revision too: how to put the words on the page. Beautiful voices here!

  9. I am a better person for visiting the reef through the eyes of your students. Bravo to them and Kudos to you for supporting them in finding their poetry!

  10. These poems are AMAZING, Heidi! Congratulations to your poets! I'm going to share this post with a science teacher friend. She takes her middle schoolers on a coral reef trip each year. I know they will love reading these.

    1. P.S. These were a huge hit with my science teacher friend.

  11. These poems are AMAZING, Heidi! Congratulations to your poets! I'm going to share this post with a science teacher friend. She takes her middle schoolers on a coral reef trip each year. I know they will love reading these.

  12. I love this Heidi. The Diamond Miners are super talented poets!!

  13. Three (or three thousand) cheers for the Diamond Miners! These are fantastic. Congrats to all the poets, and tell Nathan many an adult poet would love to claim that line, "A clown fish is a wish


Thanks for joining in the wild rumpus!