Welcome to today’s tip in my month-long Poetry Tips for Teachers series.
Tip #22: Fess up.
If you don’t feel comfortable with poetry (whether it’s the poetry itself or just the dramatic presentation of it), it’s okay to let students know that. In fact, they are often thoroughly relieved to discover that you aren’t the boss of everything! Present poetry as a journey that you’re going to go on with the students, so you can discover things together. This also applies in the case of single poems that you might not totally get or feel comfortable with.
The first draft poem below, which compares a crane to a metallic bird that is being drawn back up to a magnetic sky, is fairly cryptic for young kids. (If I worked more on this poem, I would want to make the meaning and the analogy clearer and the poem more accessible.) So, if I were a teacher introducing this poem to read, I might say, “I’m not sure I get all of this poem. I can tell it’s about some kind of fantasy bird made out of metal. Let’s read it and talk about it and see what we think.” After, I might ask, “Who do you think ‘I’ is in the poem? What about ‘he’?” And I would remind myself and the students that there’s not a single right answer, but let’s dig around in these words and see if we come to any kind of general agreement on what is happening in this poem.
Wake up your poetry brains with 15 Words or Less (guidelines here)!
What do you think it’s like to walk around with your head practically literally in the clouds? What does earth look like from a couple hundred feet up? What if you were a construction worker with a fear of heights? Or maybe the mood or something about this poem reminds you of something else entirely!
Write your own 15 Words or Less poem!
Here’s my?first draft.
Now it’s your turn! Have fun and stick to 15 WORDS OR LESS!??(Title doesn’t count toward word count:>)?
Note: I am on a poetry road trip, so I won’t be able to respond to your poems this week. I still invite you to write them, share them in the Comments if you like, and offer feedback and encouragement to each other. See ya next week!