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What do you notice about this poem?

Since I came back today, my kids only had one day’s worth of formal poetry instruction. Hence, I wanted to spend some time doing some noticing of the tools one poet used in their poem (in this case, Barbara Esbensen’s Poem “Pencils,” which I’ve used with my fifth graders before). I noticed that while this poem was excellent to use with my students (they got it!), getting my fourth graders to name the tools that they noticed Esbensen use was challenging.

This made me realize that I need to go back and explicitly teach poetry tools in just two quick lessons (not quite a minilesson, but nothing drawn-out either). Hence, I find myself wanting to revamp the Writing Unit of Study we did so that I can get the kids talking about tools poets use (e.g., white space, repetition, assonance, stanzas, line breaks, etc.) so that a list like this one (pictured) can take less time to generate going-forward.

On another poetic note… At the end of the day I let the kids peruse some of the new poetry books we got thanks to a generous donation from some patrons of DonorsChoose. One of my kids pointed to “My Father’s Eyes,” and said: “Ms. S., I think I can use this as a mentor text.”
“Why?” I asked.
“I really like the way it sounds.”
What do you like about it?” I probed.
“It’s so short, but it says… so much!” she replied.
“I agree. Do you think that’s something you want to try in your own writing?” I asked her pointedly.
“Yeah, I want to say that much with that few words,” she retorted.

Look!  A Mentor Text
I’m looking forward to seeing how she uses this poem as a mentor poem for her own poetry. 🙂

Stacey Shubitz View All

Literacy Consultant. Author. Former 4th and 5th Grade Classroom Teacher.

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