Three Writing Vignettes Sure to Make You Smile

Opening students’ eyes to the joys of poetry can be so rewarding!  With the release of my new book ‘Stella: Poet Extraordinaire’ last week, I’ve seen and heard a few interesting stories right here in my own little neighborhood.  First, the day after it arrived, I sent a copy of the book to school with my son, who happens to be a second grader, just like the main character.  His teacher read the book to the class that very day and took them out for a poetry walk.  Armed with clipboards and pencils they went out to observe and take notes, turning their musings into poems when they returned to the classroom.  Apparently, they were so taken with their work and the fun they had producing it, that they decided to start a ‘Poetry Club’ during recess!

A teacher in my school read the book and brainstormed descriptive and action words for fall leaves with her class.  Modeling how to turn words into interesting phrases, and phrases into poems, reading aloud students’ poems as they worked to produce them, several of her students wrote more than one poem that first day.  She asked me about their formatting, after all, formatting a poem so it looks and reads like a poem can be a challenge for students, especially when they are just starting their journeys as poets.  One technique is to type the poems for students, adding line breaks where needed, until they get more of a feel for the possibilities (obviously, reading tons of poetry and noting how authors use line breaks for effect is also a useful practice).  She happily typed their poems.  Now, every single day following their first experience, they have asked to have time to write poetry.  So far, they’ve completed three class collections of poetry in three days!

This last vignette tickles me, too, though it’s not about poetry.  A mom I know who has three boys bought the Stella books (the three book set before the fourth (poetry) was released) hoping to inspire her sons to write more.  She read two of them aloud over a couple of days, reporting she saw the boys light up and start to write with more ease.  Before she got to the third, her oldest son sneaked the book into his bedroom and was reading it under the covers with a flashlight!  He’s in fourth grade!  It’s a thrill to hear even older boys are gravitating toward Stella.

Writing these books has been gratifying beyond measure.  They’ve called up so many memories from my work with student-writers over the years and they excite me about the possibilities for future student-writers.  At the moment, I’m smiling ear-to-ear: the poetry light has been TURNED ON for a few more little humans!
Sometimes looking at something from a different angle can inspire innovative thoughts for poetry.

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