Writing Poems with 5th Graders [Poetry Friday]

Happy Poetry Friday! (Wondering what Poetry Friday is? Click here.)

Earlier this month, I got to write poems with the Literacy L.I.F.T. Club: Linking Imagination Fun & Text at Evergreen Park World Cultures Community School in Brooklyn Center, MN. My daughter Annabelle came along as an assistant, and we spent two hours writing poetry.

Maurna Rome, Instructional Coach with St. Louis Park Schools and Advisor (and founder) of L.I.F.T, and 4th and 5th Grade Humanities teacher Sam Goodman organize the club and bring in lots of cool speakers for these kids to meet and work with. My visit was funded by a Teacher Award for Literacy grant from Penguin Random House that Maurna was awarded back in 2015. I’ve known Maurna for several years, and I know how dedicated she is to her students. It was fun to see her in her “natural environment!”

I thought I’d share some poems and pictures from the event (the two lovely typewritten poems were inspired by the event but written afterward). We wrote in a fast and furious style. We did first drafts of 15 Words or Less Poems, I Am… Poems, Paint Chip Poems, Rename It Poems, and Things to Do Poems. We took a stab at Wordplay Poems (a la Nikki Grimes’ This Little Ditty challenge), but I didn’t leave enough time to really delve into it properly:>( Still, lots of wonderful thinking, writing, and sharing happened. There were some tired hands and brains by the time we finished! I loved how they just dove in. There were not lots of questions or insecurities. No Am I doing this right? They all felt comfortable writing, and the confident scritch of pencil on paper filled the room. All rights of the poems shared here remain with the writers!

Thanks, Maurna, Sam, L.I.F.T. writers (even if I got your names wrong sometimes!), and Annabelle!

And for lots of wonderful poetry, don’t miss the Poetry Friday Roundup with Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche.



18 Responses

  1. Love “I am a bumper car headed for chaos” I totally want to steal that line! And, the poem about books needs to be framed and hung in a classroom/library. What FUN learning is and can be with just a little bit of poetry. I know, I know.…preaching to the choir. But still.…just a wow from me for the ripple effect this workshop will have. Well done!

      1. Isn’t that awesome? I am… poems show how perceptive people can be… Thanks for your kind words, Linda:>)

  2. I know this frenetic energy well, Laura. I’m still winding down… Poetry workshops are a fantabulous inspiration — for kids AND presenters. 🙂 #andpeoplewhoreadblogs Love seeing these new forms. I may just need to work one or two into my new WIP… Thank-you. xx

    1. Yes! I always leave writing workshops (the ones I lead) with new ideas or insights for my own work, too! Enjoy trying a new form:>)

  3. We had such a fun time! Thanks for inspiring the L.I.F.T. Club kids, Laura and Annabelle! There was an abundance of poetic talent floating around the room that evening!

    1. Thanks for inviting me, Maurna! I wish you and Sam had been able to write, too–tough when you have to do all the administrative stuff. Those kids are very lucky to have that space/time for creativity!

  4. I am a hamster on Mars! Love the analogies. How fun that you and your daughter did that together. Families that write poetry together, know together. 🙂

    1. It was great to have her come with me. Older than students, but younger than me, so a nice transition. She could share her poems and be a great example.

  5. Each one is a unique treasure, Laura. I love “Books”, life’s advice and “Volcano: black pants with a bright orange shirt” is awesome. How fun to spend time with your friend and the students.

    1. I loved hearing how their brains worked as they shared their poems:>)

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