As I've written about before, I love sharing poetry with my class. Thanks to Nancie Atwell (who first gave me the idea), for the past three years I've started almost every writer's workshop with a daily poem. I'm striving to do the same thing again this year, but as I've also recently written about, getting workshops started has been a lot tougher than normal this year. So far, fitting in a daily poem has been a challenge, and sadly it's been a part bumped from the schedule on more than one day. With the shorter time I have to work with, I'm getting forced to make tough decisions: all parts of my old routine will no longer fit in. I know certain things will have to be sacrificed, and I'm trying hard to keep poetry in, but at the same time, I'm beginning to think it might be the part that I'll be forced to soon say good-bye to... :(
Nonetheless, for this week's Poetry Friday entry, I decided to go to my binder of daily poems. The following is one I scheduled to do in class this week with my students (but sadly didn't get to). It's a poem I really love because of the message inside of it. I think it relates powerfully to what I see too many students experiencing in many language arts classes. Every year I get tons of kids who have no concept of their voices as writers. When left to their own devices, they have no clue what to write on paper. In fact, often, just mentioning the word writing only brings an immediate groan.
Now, personally, I admit these feelings do make the beginning of every year's workshop just a bit frustrating for me. I continually forget from year to year the amount of time it takes to nurture those voices out. But, at the same time, being able to witness that growth is one of the things that has convinced me that I love Writer's Workshop. It's inspiring to see students who entered with no concept of their own voice, often leave at the end of the year, seeing themselves as real writers!
So, anyways, without further ado, here's the poem (or at least the first couple stanzas). It's The Little Boy by Helen Buckley. As the poem is a bit lengthy, I've provided a link to where you can find the poem in it's entirety...
Once a little boy went to school.
He was quite a little boy
And it was quite a big school.
But when the little boy
Found that he could go to his room
By walking right in from the door outside
He was happy;
And the school did not seem
Quite so big anymore.
When the little boy had been in school awhile,
The teacher said:
"Today we are going to make a picture."
"Good!" thought the little boy.
He liked to make all kinds;
Lions and tigers,
Chickens and cows,
Trains and boats;
And he took out his box of crayons
And began to draw.
But the teacher said, "Wait!"
"It is not time to begin!"
And she waited until everyone looked ready.
"Now," said the teacher,
"We are going to make flowers."
"Good!" thought the little boy,
He liked to make beautiful ones
With his pink and orange and blue crayons.
But the teacher said "Wait!"
"And I will show you how."
And it was red, with a green stem.
"There," said the teacher,
"Now you may begin."
The little boy looked at his teacher's flower
Then he looked at his own flower.
He liked his flower better than the teacher's
But he did not say this.
He just turned his paper over,
And made a flower like the teacher's.
It was red, with a green stem.
The entire poem, which you've got to read to get the full message, can be found via this link. Yet again, I only posted the first four stanzas. And, yes, this poem is going back into my lesson plans for next week. Scheduling might still be a nightmare, but I'm not ready to completely give away our daily poems quite yet!
Otherwise, Poetry Friday is being hosted this week by Wild Rose Reader, so you can find the full round-up there. :)