Showing posts with label Free Verse Poems. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Free Verse Poems. Show all posts

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Revising Poetry

So you get a first draft of a poem and it seems pretty good.  Now what?  Is it ready to publish?  Everything is spelled right.  It makes sense.  So how do you revise?  How do you make it better?  What can you do with a basic poem like this, that has a good topic choice with a nice twist at the end and make it into an A+ poem that grabs the reader?
Thank you to Maddie for allowing us to experiment with her writing.

That one kid makes me sad,                              
That one kid makes me mad.
When I see him I just go Eww!!!!
I don’t like him,
He doesn’t like me.
We fight all the time.
She started it!
No he started it!!
He makes me go crazy,
I make him flip out.
But the truth is………
He’s my brother.

One area that could be improved is word choice. The Reading Workshop Poetry Rubric says, Word choice is exact, colorful, and interesting. What words could be changed to improve this poem?  Is there a synonym for sad that would be more interesting? Or mad? Or doesn't like?

We could also look at improving and adding sensory details like the rubric describes as, Uses sensory details to help the reader see, hear, feel, and/or think. What could be changed to help what the reader visualizes?  Could the "one kid" be described in some way?   What changes would help the reader see the fight?
When you have completed your revised version, paste it into the form below.

You can see revisions HERE.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Tell About a Book of Poems

Made with Padlet

Monday, December 4, 2017

Less Words for More Meaning

Cut out all those words.  This is poetry so you don't need them.  In fact, if the word doesn't do something to clarify meaning, or help make your point, just delete it.

Get rid of all those annoying little words and leave only the ones that matter. You really don't need all those it's and is's.  Nor do you need those are's and were's. Trim the fat and excess words.  Make your poem meaningful and exciting.

The best thing about poetry is that the author makes the rules.  You can choose whether or not to use capital letters, sentences, and punctuation.  The only rule is write in the best way to make your poem meaningful and understandable.  Just write so your reader relates to your message.

Author's note:  There are divided thoughts about using apostrophes in certain circumstances to show plural.  The general thinking is that it is allowable in a few instances if it helps considerably with making text more easily understood and more readable.

Image from

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Poetry Padlet

Made with Padlet

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Room For All


Image from @thebradmontague

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Swear to Howdy Poems

In Reading Workshop I recently finished the read aloud of Wendelin Van Draanen's book, Swear to Howdy. Students had to write a poem based on something from the book. Here are a few examples.

From Karlie
              It really happened
Me and Joey
We really killed her
We killed Amanda Jane
We didn’t mean to
We just wanted to make “the lost ghost”

              At First we were all ok
Sissy cried all the time
Longing for her best friend
And I longed for mine too
No One was the same any more
Especially Joey
We just weren’t the same anymore
Our friendship was breaking apart
then one night I heard the secret knock …

From Blayton
Tank the fat, dark green, frog
Sat on the huge, muddy, muggy bank
Spewed and gushed out
Bright green, slimy, soaked tomaters

From Tayla
       A Promise
Joey and Rusty go together
like PB & Jelly
they are such good friends
making promises
having the best times
like playing in the river
on hot summer days
never forgetting
the day that Joey got bit
but no one will know because
they made a promise

From Jersey
        A True Friend

A true friend will have your back until the end
A true friend will not listen and do what you say
But will go out of their way to do the best for you
You may hate what they do but still love them
And when you lose them you always regret it.

You know you’re a true friend when you accept them
You know you’re a true friend when you are not to judge them 

or talk behind their backs meanly
Not to judge them for what their family acts like
Or what your friend doesn’t have that you have

You know you’re a true friend when that does not matter.

You can’t be a true friend if you hold grudges more than memories
you can’t be a true friend if you look back instead of forward
And you can not stay mad at them for more than a minute
It is in the name friend end is the last part
so they will be with you until the end and will never leave you

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Rewrite a Poem

I was walking
across the lawn.
It was dark
and I was afraid.
I heard a noise.

You can see responses HERE or HERE

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Make Your Poetry Zing

Is your poetry alive?  Or does it just lay there squashed and ragged, like a mushy apple smashed on the road?  Maybe it needs a little "ing" put into it.

Good poetry is alive, bringing the reader inside and making him think, or wonder, or laugh, or cry.  And to bring the reader in nothing works better than action verbs.  Thus the need for some "ing."

Screaming, shouting, racing, zinging, glistening, clinging, spinning, howling, catching, hooting, buzzing, violating, falling, sprinting, vaulting, pouncing, scaling, attacking, lunging, foraging, galloping, whipping, creating, gambling, whaling, slashing, wondering, listing, faking, destroying, escaping, dreaming, visualizing, imagining, bouncing, scraping, flailing, editing, revising, writing . . .

Monday, October 31, 2016

The Power of Poetry

Taken from the famous basketball movie, Coach Carter, this is an excellent example of Spoken Poetry and the power of poems.

Timo Cruz:

Our deepest fear
is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear
is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness
that most frightens us.
Your playing small
does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened
about shrinking
so that other people
won't feel insecure around you.
We were all meant to shine
as children do.
It's not just in some of us;
it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously
give other people permission
to do the same.
As we are liberated
from our own fear,
our presence automatically
liberates others.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Make it Yours Reading Workshop we have been studying figurative language this week. For today, take this starter poem and see what you can do. You can use idioms, similes, metaphors, repetition, action verbs, imagery, onomatopoeia, or anything else you can think of to make your poem great.

I walked down the hall
very slowly
because my name was called
to come to the office.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

On the Mountain

Reading Workshop students, here is a free verse poem prompt. Let your imagination go!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Write a Poem

Write a free verse poems. No rhyming allowed.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Overcoming the Monster

Recently in Reading Workshop we have been discussing the meaning of the lyrics in the song The Monster by Eminem. In this song, he relates the struggles he has facing himself and his doubts. We studied the lyrics and looked at this from the standpoint of the poetic voice.

Students final assignment is to compare this to their own life and how they overcome.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Celebrate Poetry

 In Reading Workshop we are celebrating National Poetry Month. Students are reading and writing poems. Many will be shared on their blogs. Today's poems are inspired by Donald Graves from his book, Baseball, Snakes, and Summer Squash. These poems tell of the trials of growing up.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Here's a Few Poem Titles

Weird Students
Mismatched Socks
Riding Vader (My Horse)
I Ate Too Much Chocolate
Cheesy Biscuits and Garlic Breath
Hard Workers
Eli is Not So Shy Any More
Just Plain Megan
Cafeteria Noise
Why Do You Make Me Have to be Mean?
The General aka Mrs. Hardin
Frank the Tank (Kaminsky)
Frank Gets Class
Rainy School Days
Zoom aka Carter
Zoom Thinks He's a Super Hero
The Last Class Was Boring
It Was All My Fault
I was Boring
We Were Still Asleep
Last Night I Had Bad Dreams
Why Does Tacey Work So Hard?
Distracting Class
Off Topic
World Hunt
I Hate to Lose
My Truck Got Washed Today
I Want to Cry
720 Classes in a Year
My Heart's a Stereo
I Want to Be the Next American Idol
Everybody Now, Slide to the Left
Courage Enough to Write
My Diet Starts Next Monday
Grandma Has Gas
Talk Less, Write More
Afraid of Poetry
Dreams, Desire, Dedication, and Dish Washing
My Chucks Have Blue Shoestrings
Whining Instead of Working
Flo Rider (I Cry)
Music Makes Me Think
Are We Going to Sing Today and Other Questions Students Ask Every Day
Can I Go to the Bathroom?
How Many Topics Should I List?
Is This OK?
Allison Got Her Name on the Sign
Seriously, Aren't you a Little Sick of Cats Because I Am
Alexis, Allison, and Ashton
Earn a Brave Buck
A Little Less Cry and a Lot More Effort
My Sense of Humor is Underappreciated
Nose Pickers
Eddie's Hair
Take a Load Off Fannie
Morning Announcements
It's For not Fur
Red Card
You Can't Have My List
I Wonder What You Don't Know That I Don't Know
A Spot in Time and It's Not a Dalmation
Spaghetti Face
I Hate Sporks

Image from

Monday, April 27, 2015

I Have Trouble With What to Write

I had this conversation about poetry with a student:

Student:  I have trouble with what to write.
Me: Really?
Student: Yeah, I don't know what to say.
Me: You like sports a lot, right?
Student: Yeah
Me:  How many sports poems have you been working on?
Student:  Two
Me:  So you have twelve drafts and only two are about sports?
Student:  Yeah
Me:  But you really like sports?
Student: Yeah, a lot.
Me:  Then why don't you write poems about sports?
Student:  I don't know.
Me:  If that's what you are interested in, that's what you should write about. You know, write about what interests you. Write about what you know.
Student:  Oh, OK.

Reading Workshop students, if you are struggling with what to write, maybe you need to give the topic a break and write about something that you find interesting.

Poem written by Shel Silverstein. Image from


Poems are never finished. Eventually though, we just stop working on them.

If a teacher told me to revise, I thought that meant my writing was a broken-down car that needed to go to the repair shop. I felt insulted. I didn’t realize the teacher was saying, “Make it shine. It’s worth it.” Now I see revision as a beautiful word of hope. It’s a new vision of something. It means you don’t have to be perfect the first time. What a relief!      

Image from

Poem For A Grade

The Reading Workshop Poetry Rubric

2/ C
Rhythm, Form Structure, Organization Creatively uses poetic form. A natural rhythm and structure. Structure and rhythm seem natural to the reader. Structure and rhythm need revised for better understanding. Unorganized structure and rhythm.
Content, Impact The purpose of the poem is evident leading to a natural conclusion. The poem engages the reader. Poem is developed with content that engages the reader. Content is basic with only a hint of the author's intent. Content is basic and undeveloped.
Word Selection, Word Usage Word choice is exact, colorful, and interesting. Uses sensory details to help the reader see, hear, feel, and/or think. Word choice is interesting with the use of sensory details. Vocabulary is basic with a few attempts at improving word choice. Vocabulary is very basic.
Spelling, Grammar, and Punctuation No errors and mechanics used as needed to fit with the poetic structure. Minimal errors in spelling and mechanics used as needed for understanding. A few errors in spelling and mechanics. Errors in spelling and mechanics that interfere with reading.
Effort Work shows an understanding of poetry and reflects the effort to create a special piece of writing. Developed piece of work that is the result of revising and editing. Basic piece of writing that shows a need of improvement. Undeveloped without signs of editing and revision.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Revising Poetry

Take a piece of advise from Lee Bennet Hopkins in his poem titled, Dear Poet. Take one of your drafts, Reading Workshop students, copy it twice, and write three versions.

Dear Poet,

Do you want
to write a poem?

Forget it . . .
you have
rewritten it.

Make your poem
writing a poem

rewriting it
rewriting it
rewriting it


what you
a poem




Poem from Seeing the Blue Between compiled by Paul Janeczko.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Inspired by "You Oughta Meet Danitra Brown"

Reading Workshop students, write an inspired by poem about yourself. Please take note of the pattern of three line stanzas with the first two line rhyming.

You Oughta Meet Danitra Brown
By Nikki Grimes
From the book Meet Danitra Brown

You oughta meet Danitra Brown,
the most splendiferous girl in town.
I oughta know, 'cause she's my friend.

She's not afraid to take a dare,
if something's hard, she doesn't care.
She'll try her best, no matter what.

She doesn't mind what people say.
She always does things her own way.
Her spirit's old, my mom once said.

I only know I like her best
'cause she sticks out from all the rest.
She's only she--Danitra Brown. 

You Oughta Meet Your Teacher
Inspired by You Oughta Meet Danitra Brown
By Nikki Grimes

In sixth grade, the weirdest guy
Never see him wearing a tie
A casual Mr. McGuire

Even though he is a teacher
He acts a little like a preacher
pushing kids to do what's right

Always cracking a little joke
Finding ways in minds to soak
a little learning

Constantly yelling about hard work
No one dares act like a jerk
in his classes.

Singing out, a horrible sound
making students' brains pound
Another day in language arts

Need some rhyming help? Check out Rhymezone.