Thursday, October 4, 2007

nature and poetry

I'm having a great time with a poetry unit right now. After reading Love That Dog (which was great introduction to poetry elements like onomatopoeia, alliteration, repetition, line break, white space, simile, metaphor), this week I started their poetry writing with a "list" poem to teach voice - they list the "don'ts" issued by their parents and respond in their own voice to the rules.

Second, we went on nature walks on school property - across the practice field and near the trees at the edge of school grounds - and wrote prose observations of nature (sky, grass, trees, flowers, etc.), then used line breaks, white space, and (drumroll, please) economy to transform prose to free verse poem. I have been happily surprised by some lovely writings! (I've also been highly annoyed by the need to snap at 7th graders who interpret "nature walk" as run away from teacher and kick a friend who's in the middle of a run.) We befriended a green inchworm (too small for my camera lens to focus, I learned) and many spiders, and we pondered the mysteries of rabbit holes with only apples in sight. We used our slogs (composition notebooks) to write both prose observations and poetry rough drafts during these outings.

Here are some pictures I took of the sky, which was my prose-to-poetry subject. (I confess the first pic was taken during my drive to work, on the expressway, of sunrise.) (Tricia's photo essay post was a primary inspiration.)


I never enjoyed poetry until I started teaching this unit, and I know it's because no one taught poetry to me this way. I know I promised to cite the book where I found these great poetry lesson - I really will, soon!

5 comments:

Lynn said...

OMG, beautiful sunrise and blue sky!

Orchid in the Bronx said...

Check out www.twc.org - they have a lot of resources on teaching poetry. And Kathleen Norris's DAKOTA has some lovely sections on teaching poetry to youngins... or maybe it's in THE CLOISTER WALK?

Tricia Grissom said...

Love the pictures! Lately I've been a picture taking fiend - I'm not sure why.

I took my kids on a photo field trip a few weeks ago. We each picked a local place we wanted to take pictures. My digital camera can take over 200 pictures, so we could snap away. The kids were really into it.

It was interesting to see what they thought was photo worthy, too. I think we'll go again once we get more fall color around here. Thanks for reminding me.

WendyB said...

Beautiful photos.

jenamoured said...

TOTALLY STEALING YOUR LESSON PLAN.