Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

Class Fourteen – Strategies and Presentation

It was just Franklin and I today. Adam was sick. On Monday we will have to spend a good chunk of time working on the text for A Circle of Friends.

We started with a strategy that was shared in our small group yesterday. It’s called “Somebody, Wanted, But, So” [Click here to see the organizer] It is a great strategy that can be used for a variety of purposes. We used it for summarizing. You start with a character [somebody] who wants something, but there is something in the way of it so this happens. I modeled it using the Lorax {The Lorax [somebody] wanted the Once-ler to stop cutting down truffela trees, but the Once-ler cut them all down, so the Lorax sent all the animals away and then left as well] and then Franklin did it with his own book. I also slipped in a discussion of conflict. The but points right to the conflict that the character is facing. We also used it for prediction with When you Reach Me, we haven’t finished it yet, which leaves the so as a perfect place for prediction. Franklin asked if he could take a blank graphic organizer home with him.

For the celebration next Thursday we’re going to present a video of Franklin’s dramatic reading of Shel Silverstein‘s Falling Up. We did a couple of practice takes today that went pretty well. Then we headed outside to practice the presentation. On the way down I mentioned the poetry warp activity that we had done on day nine (Day Nine – That goes in the Win column!). We talked about how different parts of the poem might be read differently (slower, louder, etc). Outside Franklin read through the poem in different ways. I pointed out lines that I liked his delivery of where he ignored the lack of punctuation and suggested a line where he might pay closer attention to the lack of punctuation and read through to the next line. He made a choice to say the word “Up”, which is repeated, louder and give it more emphasis. I was really pleased with how this went and am excited to work with him on this. He really seemed happy with how it was going too and said so when I asked him. I think that he understands how his delivery changes the feel of the poem and the poetry warp exercise put the choices he can make on the table for him. His presence as he is speaking the lines and the small movements he’s working into the delivery is really coming together and should make for a very entertaining presentation.

It was good to just have Franklin today, it gave me the opportunity to connect with him better. Adam had that chance earlier in the program and I’m glad that I was able to have that chance with Franklin too. Building personal relationships with students, getting to know them and letting them know you, is really important. If they don’t know that you are a sincere, caring, hilarious, knowledgeable, open, willing to learn from them person then you will add that to the challenges of teaching and learning.


The poetry of 8th grade

The students made this slide show collaboratively using Gdocs, each of them took one of the poems they wrote and created a slide to add to the show! The fact that this would be made public was motivational to many students. Once the district is fully transitioned to Google Apps then this project will be much easier.

This time I created a Google Presentation Doc and put a link to it on the Language Arts site. I had students create the slide first in Keynote (they all have Macbooks thanks to MLTI) and then realized that Gdocs only allow PowerPoint slides to be imported. Luckily Keynote allows you to save a presentation as a .PPT and then students were able to import their slide into the class presentation. This conversion and importing left its mark on some student’s work, odd characters, missing images and so on. Next time I will have them sign in to GApps, create a slide and import that slide, or just create a slide within the group presentation – to be honest I don’t know why I didn’t do that to begin with. . . lesson learned.

To see the 8th grade poetry book click here: If clicking doesn’t seem to work copy and paste the address.


When you’re done come back and leave me a comment about what you thought. I’ll pass them on to the kids.

RAFT activity – Ruby Bridges

I wrote this poem during an in-service day whose focus was Reading strategies. We, the group of educators taking the class, brainstormed words A-Z related to the term “prejudice”, read a story book about the story of Ruby Bridges, and then did a RAFT (which is an anagram for FART). ‘R’=role; ‘A’=audience; ‘F’=format; ‘T’=topic. We brainstormed ideas for each part of the RAFT and then chose one from each list to use as a quick write. I chose the Role of Ruby, the Audience I didn’t really identify, Format of a poem, and the topic of loneliness, perseverance, and hope. Very little revision/editing has happened to this poem and it was written in about ten minutes or so. Let me know what you think.


So many people around
But still all alone
Hateful words thrown
At me, at my family
At all with my skin color

I just want to learn
And have my chance in life
But I go to school covered with strife
My teacher smiles but I see
In her eyes uncertainty

I do my best to stand tall
Do my family, people, and country proud
Ignore the signs, stares, and yelling from the crowd
Joined by fear and ignorance one day
Joined by trust and love
I stay

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More Poems by Pirkl

If you haven’t read the first poetry post you should, but if you refuse you should know that I wrote these poems because I assigned my students to write them.

Mr is my first name
Reading is a favorite past time
Photography is enjoyable
Interested in many things
Really into tech toys
Kind of odd sometimes

This is based on free association. You start with one word (Bananas in this case) and free associate a list of words. You then use that list of words to create a poem, using the first word somewhere in the first line, the second word somewhere in the second line and so on.

I’m going bananas I think
memories peel away like
ninjas slipping through
the ice cold night
skating on the surface
like a mug of hot chocolate full
of marshmallows

This poem was done with this magnetic poetry site and was just for fun.

translucent yesterday
slow flowering
prisoner of yourself
pierce this sad secret
trust the sacred window


When my students are assigned to write a poem I do as well. Here they are three of them I will add the acrostic and chain poem (I don’t have copies of them here with me):

Trees sway in the breeze
Thoughts drift lazily on by
Clouds look down at me

Words and thoughts do whirl around in my head
Jumbled, mixed up, how can I get them out
Onto paper this assignment I end
I can’t rush, words have much power and clout
Throwing words onto page haphazardly
May work for some to get the job done
Thought, effort, time and trials are for me
That is how Mr. Pirkl writes a poem, son.
Meaning and rhymes come together at last
Once I start words onto the page do flow
Stumbling and struggling to get past
My fingers to the keys almost finished so,
Line thirteen goes down don’t start yet to clap
It’s a sonnet so you all have to snap!

A Poem with a Simile and Metaphor
Rolling waves of brown, white, black, and gold;
Barking, drooling, fetching, and chasing each other
Having fun, like small children on a playground
Dogs: all shapes and sizes, young and old;
At the dog park playing with my canine brother
Circling the benches on a merry go round
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