Friday, April 18, 2008

7th Grade - Rough Draft

Your narrative poems are due next Friday. By Monday, you must turn in to me a first draft of your narrative poem so we can determine what we can still improve upon in the following week. This weekend, you may post your rough drafts in this space so that your classmates and I can read them and make helpful suggestions. Enjoy your weekend.


Use this space to post your own original poems - in whatever form and about whatever subject - for others to enjoy and comment upon. I look forward to reading them!

6th Grade - Descriptive Poem

Yesterday we wrote "messy room" poems - poems that described what our bedroom might look like if someone were to walk in right now and check it out. We're going to continue writing descriptive poems with a little help today from poet Karla Kuskin. Click on the following link and we will work along together with her in class:

When we finish her workshop, we will post our poems here.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

6th Grade - "Your Room" Assignment

Shel Silverstein wrote the poem "Messy Room." It goes like this:

Whosever room this is should be ashamed!
His underwear is hanging on the lamp.
His raincoat is there in the overstuffed chair,
And the chair is becoming quite mucky and damp.
His workbook is wedged in the window,
His sweater's been thrown on the floor.
His scarf and one ski are beneath the TV,
And his pants have been carelessly hung on the door.
His books are all jammed in the closet,
His vest has been left in the hall.
A lizard named Ed is asleep in his bed,
And his smelly old sock has been stuck to the wall.
Whosever room this is should be ashamed!
Donald or Robert or Willie or--Huh? You say it's mine?
Oh, dear, I knew it looked familiar!

This poem could have been written about my room! Your task for today is to construct a poem that describes what someone would see if he or she walked into your room. It should be descriptive! The more details you can provide, the better. Be sure to include one example of figurative language.

Happy writing!

7th and 8th Grade - "The Raven"

Many of you mentioned wanting to write a narrative poem about an animal. Click on the following link and read the poem "The Raven" by Edgar Allen Poe, one of the most widely read narrative poems and, coincidentally, prominently featuring an animal.

Now that you have read the poem, consider the following:

Who are the main characters?
What is the setting?
What is the plot?
What is the conflict?

Remember, these are all elements of a narrative poem and should be included in your own.

Post your thoughts about "The Raven," the answers to to the questions above, and then tell me who your characters are going to be in your own narrative poem and what your setting, plot and conflict are. When you are finished, don't forget to go back and read and respond to the comments of others!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


A haiku refresher:

The haiku is a very structured poetry form. Initially introduced by the Japanese, they are three-lined poems containing five syllables in the first line, seven in the second, and five in the third. Containing just seventeen syllables, the haiku cannot capture a "big picture." One depicts in them tiny images of incredible beauty, something glorious that might be missed if the writer had not taken the time to point it out. In a haiku one may depict a drop of water on a leaf reflecting early morning light, the smell of the evening dew, the answer of one bird to another's call, the persistence of a flower pushing its way through the cracks in the pavement to touch the sky. A haiku is about serenity and peace. It is getting in touch with nature; it feels like a walk in the woods. (Gloria Chaika, 1998).

Post your haikus for others to read, enjoy, and comment on.

Narrative Poetry

Writing a narrative poem can be tricky. Here are some things to keep in mind:

A narrative poem is a poem that tells a series of events using poetic devices such as rhythm, rhyme, compact language, and attention to sound. In other words, a narrative poem tells a story, but it does it with poetic flair! Many of the same elements that are found in a short story are also found in a narrative poem. Here are some elements of narrative poetry that are important:
o character
o setting
o conflict
o plot

When writing narrative poetry a good place to start is with your own life’s experiences. Choose experiences that can be captured in a snapshot. Do you have a favorite photograph of you playing baseball when you were 6 years old? Or, how about the funny picture on your first birthday with you face full of cake? Maybe you can remember funny moment from a special vacation, or a moment with a grandparent that is very memorable. Remember, these are moments in time—not the whole event. A poem (unless you are writing an epic poem) captures snapshots, not 5 hour academy award winning movies!

Next, gather sensory details about that experience. Remember that not ALL the ideas need to be used in your poem, but don’t leave hole in the poem that would prevent a reader from connecting to your poem.

Now that you have your images, choose a character for your poem. What is he or she like? Who will be the speaker of the poem?

The next step, just like in when writing a short story, is to determine the conflict. What are the inner and outer conflicts in the even that you have chosen? How is the conflict resolved?

Now, craft the lines of your poem. If it doesn’t come together in the first draft, that’s okay. Narrative poetry always takes a couple of drafts to get the spirit of the poem down on the page. Remember to include a wonderful title that adds to the meaning of your poem.

Post your "snapshot" ideas to help others brainstorm for their poem.