Friday, January 18, 2019

"amazed of the nature"--habitat poems by 2nd graders

Long post today! First, want to publicly acknowledge the gift of poet Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, who gave 20 very full minutes of her precious time to two classes of 2nd graders yesterday via Zoom.  Thanks to the dedicated efforts of my media specialist, @JoelaPaik, the technology worked beautifully and those kids are marked by the blessing of her poetry and her personhood forever.  Thanks, Amy!

Last Poetry Friday in Room 203 was a day with more gorgeous than bitter (it always is).  Again this year (see past projects 2017 here and here 2018), after quite some time spent researching and writing informational brochures about a range of world habitats, the Diamond Miners enjoyed some inspiration from the books pictured below as well as FOOTPRINTS ON THE ROOF by Marilyn Singer, and then set to work.

AFRICAN ACROSTICS by Avis Harley, FOREST HAS A SONG by Amy LV, WATER SINGS BLUE by Kate Coombs and, importantly, REJOICE: RAINFOREST POEMS by 3rd Graders (Scholastic Kids Are Authors series)

 Habitat brochures & poems:  I dislike the blank spaces but there is only so much catching up I can organize...

As always there were a couple who had trouble getting started--but only a couple and only a little!  Most kids understood that they were going to use all the knowledge they had accumulated through research to inform a poem and went to work with very definite ideas. And as always, I consider it evidence that my Poetry Friday routines are effective that every kid felt able to strike out on their own to act as "the boss of their poem."  I find that Poetry, in contrast to its bad rep for making people feel dumb and inadequate, Is Empowering for kids.

We started our workshop off with a shared acrostic involving ALL the habitats students had researched.  I'm particularly struck by the effectiveness of this year's acrostic poems--there were two that I actually didn't recognize WERE acrostics until I went to type them!  Today's project is to illustrate; I'll add those into the post over the weekend somehow.                      HABITATS
                      an acrostic poem by The Diamond Miners
                                             Have you seen
                                             A gila in the desert?
                                             Blue shiny waves
                                              In the ocean?
                                             Trees towering
                                             And expanding in the forests?
                                             Tall grasses waving over wildebeest in the
                                             Savannah?  Have you seen habitats?

And now, here are the students' poems!

Forests Spread
    by Chris M.

Forests spread
until the sun gets
low and low   The
leaves look dark
Fantastic trees
look at the sun
while it is getting
low    Green leaves

 by Isabella ZR 

Deserts are hot
what can I do? I might melt
on the sizzling sand
You know why! I might burn
myself!!! but some
have snow.  I might go!
Will I see snow?


 by Ethan F.

rivers are   smooth   soft

relaxing   sometimes rivers

grow   no one knows when they

Tall Grasses Dance
by Siddhartha Dangol

tall grasses dance in the
wind   they dance all
night and day  
never stop  never stop  
they like to stay in the light
and night    never stop
tall grasses always dance
in the grassland every
day    never stop at all.

     by Christian W.

Open blue sea
Covering the land   I’m the
Emperor of the sea
Amazed of the
Nature of the sea.

    by Ashly AM

forests are covered
with orange and red
in fall
forests are covered
with green and yellow
in summer

In the Desert
 by Kymani F.

in the desert
the wind blows hot
in the desert it prickles
and it tickles
the sand and the cactus
in the desert

 by Hannah D.

Really hot
Animals everywhere
In the rainforest
Noisy and quiet
Finding things to eat
Organic habitat
Really calm
Expanding trees
So much rain
The plants so pretty

Forest Is
 by Matthew H.

Forest is green and
brown and blue
vines on trees and
leaves and bears
wood and lakes

by Ezra W.

a grassland is
covered with grass
as tall as a zebra’s
covered with animals
like hyenas

by Bruce H.

Day after day it is hot.
Every monster can be dangerous.
See if you can touch one?
Evenings animals hunt for food,
Ringing on houses for prey.
There is not much rain.

    by Emma D

      r i p p l i n g
rain on the leaves
          on the
        into the
      g r o u n d


Thunderstorm in the Savannah

by Corwin R.

is coming
in the savannah
fire and rain
on the hill
with the
ant mound

Rain Forest Research
 by Jadeline Z.

      Rainforests don’t get snow!
      But why?  You need to know!!!
You can look at a book.
What about PebbleGo?
Fine, but where’s the computer?
I lost it.  What?!!!

In the Desert
 by Heidy R.

in the desert
it burns my feet
the weather is windy 
the wind blows the sand

by Aydin T. 

Water rippling shiny & blue.
Ocean splashing fiercely on shore.
Waves crashing & splashing.
Thunderstorm’s a comin’!
Water smooth, water calm.
Thunderstorm’s all gone! 

And finally, I must mark the passing of one of our quietest yet greatest voices in poetry, Mary Oliver. I believe she would have enjoyed these poems by 7- and 8-year olds, and certainly, through me, their voices are influenced by hers. In memoriam...

by Mary Oliver

The spirit
   likes to dress up like this:
     ten fingers,
       ten toes,
shoulders, and all the rest
   at night
      in the black branches
         in the morning
in the blue branches 
    of the world.
       It could float, of course,
          but would rather
plumb rough matter.
   Airy and shapeless thing,
      it needs
         the metaphor of the body,
lime and appetite,
   the oceanic fluids;
      it needs the body's world,
 and imagination
   and the dark hug of time
       and tangibility
to be understood,
   to be more than pure light
      that burns
         where no one is --
so it enters us --
    in the morning
       shines from brute comfort
          like a stitch of lightning;
and at night
   lights up the deep and wondrous
      drownings of the body
         like a star.
The roundup today is with Tricia at the Miss Rumphius Effect.  Let us mourn and rejoice together. 


  1. Empowered Poets here!! Their group acrostic is terrific, and I love those sleeping leaves, relaxing rivers, dancing grasses, and tickling prickling hot winds. Nice work! They obviously know a lot about habitats AND poetry.

    1. This is the Diamond Miners typing. Thank you for your support! We love to read positive comments from everyone.

  2. Talented kiddos, Heidi, can't wait to see what they come up with next! Each poem had such lovely noticings.

  3. These are amazing, Heidi. I'm not surprised, though, considering you are their guiding light. Projects like this make me wish I was back in the classroom. Looking forward to seeing their illustrations, too! Thank you for sharing the Mary Oliver poem, too. That last stanza is stunning.

  4. Your students' poems delight me. They speak of deep research as well as the individual voices of the children.

  5. Diamond Miners, your poems are flat out AMAZING! If this is what you are creating now, I can't wait to see what beauty you will bring into the world with your words in the years to come!

    Lead Poet, this line made tears spring into my eyes (still sliding down my face, in fact): "I believe she would have enjoyed these poems by 7- and 8-year olds, and certainly, through me, their voices are influenced by hers." Mary Oliver is not truly gone. It must be our mission, through our own teaching and writing, to make sure her voice and spirit never die.

  6. Your students are incredible writers! I could imagine the voice of each one as I read. Also, I really enjoyed the Mary Oliver poem you shared. I am always in awe of her gentle words.

  7. Wow -- these are awesome, Heidi! I especially like Corwin's thunderstorm poem because I could visualize that ant hill on the savanna.

  8. Thank you for this lovely post.

  9. What a wonderful group of poems and what a terrific way for your poets to showcase all they had learned about habitats! I'm so glad you shared these here.

  10. Those are some poets! Thank you for sharing their hard work from the research and writing. T

  11. Diamond Miners, your work is so impressive. I'm applauding you in this response. I love your descriptions of habitats. "as tall as a zebra's belly" might just be my new favorite unit of measurement. Just look at how much your words are like the poet, Mary Oliver. You are part of the great community of poets....such a tresure for all of us.

  12. Like pure light, your students' voices have entered me through these beautiful, solid, true poems. Thank you for sharing your time with me and for offering these words to the world. I felt like I took many field trips as I read one poem after another, savoring each thoughtful word and repeating phrase. Mary Oliver, wherever she is, is surely smiling and nodding. Thank you, Heidi. xxxx

  13. Diamond Miners, your poetry showcases all your noticing, wondering, and research. Your voices are strong and unique, even when you wrote about the same topic. Congratulations on putting your ideas together to raise your voices as young poets.

  14. Diamond Miners your voices are powerful and you really helped me see and feel these habitats. Keep sharing your voice in any and every form.


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