National Poetry Month is my FAVORITE month of the year to be an English teacher. I see so much growth of students in this month and it is so rewarding to see so many kids have their minds, not just changed, but expanded about what this genre really can do for people.
I started poetry month a week early because of Easter Break, so my students have been learning a little bit about poetry already. On Wednesday I had them make a concept map all about their thoughts on poetry. I had them decorate it and make it colorful and I was so impressed with the thoughts they wrote. Most of their concept maps were WAY better and more insightful than mine.
Here's what some of them had to say...
Some poems aren't your type, some poems speak to you. - Margaret B.
April showers bring poetry flowers. - Elizabeth R.
Poetry can be confusing, but at other times it just speaks to you. - Elizabeth R.
Poetry paints the earth in color. - Erin G.
What is up with the red wheelbarrow poem? - Charlie J.
Why can't April be "Uggh Poetry" Month? - Charlie J.
Poetry is the whisper on the breeze. It's always calling. - Saydi A.
Poetry takes a lot of thought to understand. - Jon T.
I didn't like poetry until Mrs. S. introduced it to me. - Jon T. :o)
Verbal painting - Ray C.
Poetry is performance on paper. - Ashley B.
Life on paper - Claire Y.
Poetry is a box of crayons - different colors come with different feelings. - Natasha B.
Poetry is rain in the spring - Pelton S.
Words forged into art. - Sorin K.
Poetry is a voice that calls you to write. - Patrick S.
Poetry is a garden of words. - Julia F.
The lines and how they are spaced interests me. - Eryn V.
Your thinking outside the box, inside the box - Elysse K.
Poetry can make even the ugliest topics pretty. - Ronan P.
A joyride of imagination - Louis W.
Something you can get tangled in - Louis W.
Poetry is like riding a bike: in the beginning it's hard, but when you practice you get better. - Branden E.
I'm still confused a bit about poetry. Does the poet write about what they are feeling or thinking? Is it just something random? I'm confused! - Jackie D.
Want to write a squirrel poem. - Catherine G.
Some of these make me laugh, some of them make me think, and others are just so insightful that you wonder how the mind of a 12-year old came up with it. Don't anyone ever tell me that learning about poetry is a pointless exercise. You want to talk about a pointless exercise, let's get into a debate about 5-paragraph essays* and how pointless THOSE things are compared to the abstract, complex thought that poetry involves. A 6th grader would never come up with the brilliant and insightful thoughts above if I asked them to write a 5-paragraph essay instead of learn about poetry. And I want you to know that not every kid on here is an honor student. These thoughts come from all different ability-levels, not just the straight-A students.
*For the record, I have nothing against essays in general and do teach them. I just hate the cookie-cutter, thoughtless drivel that the 5-paragraph essay structure forces kids to compose. It is nearly impossible to write with any sort of voice when using the 5-paragraph essay model.