Friday, April 18, 2008

Garden of poets

I mentioned earlier that it's National Poetry Month. We've been reading and writing all sorts of poems in my 4th grade bilingual classroom. The kids really like Langston Hughes' Mother to Son and got a kick out of Reasons Why. They've been looking for more on-line and at the library.

Today, I shared a "dedication" poem pattern, in which my students were to think of one very dear person to/for whom they would write. The pattern encourages the writer to think in the past tense and recall moments shared. For my bilingual students, it was also a great exercise in word order and description. I held individual writing conferences in the back of the room, where I had the students read me their work. To get them to reach for more, I'd say "tell me more about _____" and they would return to their desks, revise, add, delete, all that good stuff.

One boy wrote about his dad in Dominican Republic. When he was done reading it to me, he looked up and I saw his eyes were all teary. Divorce had separated him from his father and country. The poem broke his heart and mine. The detail and story in that poem were something else.

I'm growing writers in my classroom. Beautiful.

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