Finding Poetry

My dreams are loud.

That’s something nobody told me would happen when I became a teacher. My brain is humming, constantly, with ideas: How can I present this material? How do I make it interesting? How do I make it interactive? How will I assess it? How will my students respond? How would I revise, mid-lesson, if this fails? Does this really serve my students in regards to the standards? Does it serve them as human beings? On and on, the questions and ruminations run through my mind. And the reason for this, I’m finding, is that I care. I care a great deal about my students–I see them coming down the hall and I can’t help but smile. It is my job to give them the absolute best education that I can. I am commited to that. I am determined not to waste a minute of their time in the classroom.

Starting this coming week, I will be starting to transition into the leadership role of the primary teacher in my classroom. As this begins, so does our unit on poetry. This is exciting to me, because I think that poetry, often sold short (and drab, and impenetrable, and lofty, and overly flowery), is one of the most exciting literary forms. It’s also one of the most personal, intense, and creative. These are things that I know my students will be able to relate to, if only I can get them to tap into it. Figuring out how to do that, though, is producing much of the aforementioned brain humming, through sleeping and waking hours alike. Once I actually get my disorganized, frenetic ideas to settle into something intelligible, I am excited to create some poetry lessons and activities.

This is what I know so far:

*Poetry offers freedom from strict, standard academic grammatical and syntactical rules, yet it also offers a platform for teaching about them in a playful, low pressure way.

*Poetry gives us a chance to use words to describe something that, without it, would be beyond words.

*Poetry = image
*Poetry = music . . . . . Things everyone understands, deep down.
*Poetry = rhythm

*Poetry is not impossible to interpret, but it is impossible to limit to a single, complete literal meaning.

*Some of the greatest literature ever written has been poetry.

*Poetry occur in all cultures. We all have poems inside us.

7 thoughts on “Finding Poetry

  1. Amy,
    I will have to send this link to my husband, Jason. He is a poet and I’m sure he would love the chance to think about poetry… Have fun!

  2. Aunt Nola says:

    This will be interesting to see revealed…one of my good riends is a poet, so I think I will send your blog to her. Aunt Nola

  3. mary says:

    your aunt nola sent me this and suggested that i point you towards a website that might be of some help. there is a lot going on in its pages and i suggest just jumping ahead to the workshop sections. there are kids on the site as well as adults. the kids should announce that they are kids in some way and that will help the poets give more appropriate feedback. it is a place where learning by doing really seems to work.
    good luck with teaching. it can be truly hard, but also personally life changing. remember your job is not to fill the pail, but to light the spark. [i stole that from someone. 😉 ]
    mary (mayo on the site)

  4. Aunt Nola says:

    I love how things come about. Our local news reported tonight on St. Pauls sidewalk poetry project! 20 Poets are seeing their art set in cement as sidewalks are repaired throughout the year. It’s part of St. Pauls public art project and both kids and adults won. Check it out in the link above!

  5. miss4my says:

    Thanks for all the great suggestions, stories, and resources. I will definitely be looking into these links in depth as I approach this week’s lesson planning. The sidewalk poetry is especially cool! That also reminds me that my students will probably take pride in having their work “published” in some way–perhaps a classroom magazine or… a blog???

  6. miss4my says:

    P.s. Welcome to any literary folk who have stumbled upon this blog via referral or happenstance! Your input is greatly appreciated. I’m pleased to meet you.

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