Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Even First Graders Can Write Poetry..

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!  Sorry I have been away for so long.  Now that I am back into the swing of things, I will be much better about posting!

As a district, Shrewsbury educators have been looking for some guidance with our writing curriculum.  In the past we had no "formal" writing program, so teachers spent their own money and time trying to find the perfect way to teach writing.  Last year, our district decided to start the Shrewsbury Writing Program.  A teacher was asked to volunteer from each grade (1-4) to meet and discuss writing by looking at state standards and always remembering to look at the vertical alignment.  Through many discussions and agreements, disagreements and adaptions, the Shrewsbury Writing Project has created guidelines and suggested lessons and materials by trimester.  What a relief!  So, the three genres of writing that First Grade is to focus on are Narrative
  Writing, Persuasive Writing, and Poetry.  I have always taught poetry, in that we read poems and discussed our mental images.  We would look for rhyming words and find sight words.  When I received this guide I was so excited to see that having the kids write their own poetry was going to be a focus.  How much fun is that.  Kids are so creative and it gives them a different writing outlet than just writing story after story after story.  So, in the past couple of months we have talked about acrostic poems, read poetry, even wrote our own name acrostics.  We also look at a metaphor winter poem and the kids got to insert lots of describing words about winter.  Today I decided I really wanted to see the kids creativity with free verse poems.  Regie Routman has written a wonderful book:

In the book, she features poems that actual first graders have written.  This was empowering for my kids because it showed them that they to could write their own poems.  Here are two examples from the book.

We talked about what type of words poets use and how they place their words.  We also talked about how poems need to show rhythm, but do not necessarily rhyme.  We talked about our Poetry Wheel that was created by the SWP.  Here is what it looks like.

We brainstormed "juicy" words, feeling words, and words we use when we talk about our senses.  Finally it was time for the children to give it a shot.  Everyone was very excited about this new challenge.  Well, to say that they did great is an understatement.  I am so impressed with their creativity, word choice, and structure.  Here are just a few that blew me away!

By Bennett
 I get scared when I
       see a mouse
    I like to eat cheese
cheese please!
  I'm as gray as dust
    I scram scram
    scram when I
          see a cat! YIKES!
Most people think I am
I give you the shivery shivers.
       those cat claws make me
          really really scared
I am a mouse  you might find me in your house!
 My Cat
by Jack
I am a cat
I like to lay down
on the couch
I run down
I run up 
I run everywhere
to catch a mouse!
scccraapp went 
my claws on 
the door!
I catch the 
mouse! I hide
under the table
I have dinner!

By Kamran


The Car in my Video Game
By Nicholas

My car is fast
my car is not good at the
it wins fast going straight
I still like it.

The Soccer Game
By Alexa

Soccer soccer
soccer it is so
much fun soccer
soccer soccer the
game has just begun!

a work in progress by: Cienna

I scratch! I catch: 
The toy bug on the wall!

This next poem was written by one of my students who uses the computer to do much of his writing.  He used an awesome website that has tons of poetry forms ready to use.  Check out this site, and take a look at his awesome poem!

By: Ian

The kids can't wait to write more poems.  I am so proud of them! Great job kiddos!


  1. Thanks for sharing! I have this book and forgot all about it until now. Thanks for inspiring me to use it.

  2. I found Regie Routman's book a few years ago and I love it! Your student's poems are awesome! Thanks for sharing.

  3. These are amazing, such wonderful poets!

  4. I love your blog! I gave you an award. Check it out over on my blog.

  5. Thank you for the books... I just ordered my own copy.
    Wonderful blog as a resource for me as a homeschooling mom.
    Thank you for sharing.

  6. The student's poems turned out amazing. What incredible poets! I am hoping to do a similar unit in my first grade classroom. The above ETTC link does not appear to be working for me, do you have any suggestions?

    This is the new site for the poetry forms.

  8. This is great but the poetry form link doesn't work anymore. :(

  9. I think that children must develop their writing skills. Thus, your poetry is very cool and inspiring. Be safe.