Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Some Days Just Feel Right

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Last week I presented mini lessons on writing children's books and poetry in class. Yesterday my 40 creative writing students shared their drafts. We share on Google Docs and I can then comment on them as I read their drafts. I would love to always conference with each of them, but the plain truth is, I simply can't get to everyone. By sharing on Google Docs, I can read and comment to all, and they can come to me if they want to talk more.

Last night, as I read and commented, I was simply amazed at the work they were sharing. Especially the poetry. That one genre that most kids--especially boys--think they can't write.  Boy, are they wrong!

The opening stanza from one young man's hunting poem--he revised this morning after reading comments and talking to me. Got rid of some extraneous words. Focused in on important details.


4:30 a.m
Blares in my ear
Morning chills run through my veins
Sitting in the woods, no sound to hear
Nothing to see but the steam from my breath

I love the line "Morning chills run through my veins". Even better, the last line of the poem (after he gets his deer)  "Excitement now running through my veins."

And how about this one:


Shades of yellows, oranges, reds
Capturing rays of sun illuminating our life.
Sunrises spread across the horizon filling the sky with breathtaking colors,
Shades of yellows, oranges, reds splashed across the sky.
Beautiful moments captured with a stroke of a brush.

Isn't it beautiful? Four stanzas of wonderful descriptions of color palettes. I told this student she should turn this into art work.

Athletes also find inspiration in their sport when it comes to writing poetry. This section of a poem by a swimmer is amazing to me. I can feel that burn and push to finish a race as I read it:

The burn in your legs is still there, but less noticeable.
The end is so close you can feel it.  
Energy dwindling.
A few yards to go.
Another gasp for air.
Give it your all.
Five yards left.
Kick, kick, kick.
Two yards left.
Don’t breath.
GO!!!

And even this one gave me a chuckle:

I’m suppose to write poetic
Its not working so well
Its more or less pathetic
I’m giving it my all
If i priced it, it wouldn’t sell
I don’t know what I’m doing
This class is so confusing
I need to learn how to write
I won’t go down
Not without a fight
Last chance to write this poem
I gave It all my might

I gave this one some templates of poetry to try and talked him through a few ideas. He'll get it.

The best part of the morning for me was talking to all these young writers about their pieces. We had great conversations. It helped that I was able to read their pieces the night before. And it helps that not everyone needed a face to face conference. They are so unsure of themselves when they first share. The smiles that appear on their faces as we finish talking are priceless. Their words--timeless.

8 comments:

  1. Their writing is fantastic, as is the online collaboration!

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  2. Thankfully these kids have you to see the beauty in their words. These are amazing!

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  3. I love them all Deb, & am thrilled to see that people are writing poetry with high school students, not just making them study it. I especially like the rhythm in the running poem, but they all, even the final one, has something good to 'hear' in it.

    I like your Google Docs Idea. I have just created a Wiki with my memoir group & we'll be commenting on each others'. I still need to use Google Docs with students. I know to use it, but there is no easy way for younger students to have an account.

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  4. Thank you for sharing their lines! Because of your other posts, I can picture the people behind these lines. They are rich with story.

    That last poem sounds a bit like spoken word. He who doesn't identify himself as a poet has a natural sense of rhythm!

    This is poetry crafting at its best. I second what Linda said about high school and poetry!

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  5. Wow, beautiful poems. I love when kids insist they can't do something and then you prove to them they can! :-)

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  6. The best part for me is that three of the four could arguably be called "at-risk" kids. They skip classes, they have trouble with teachers. They are my wild children...but they can write!

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  7. These are just beautiful! I'm not a poetry person but I love how everyone can share powerful words through poetry. Stunning!

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  8. Thanks for sharing a glimpse into your classroom and a glimpse into your student work. I think this could be the beginning of a keynote...it was inspirational for me to read and it gives me hope for the writing work that can happen in classrooms.
    Ruth

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