Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Nonfiction Week & Poem #246 - Cats Purr

Our Late Monster in Sun
Photo by Georgia LV

Good morning to Mrs. Evancho's second grade class!  I love the fact that we visit together at morning meeting.  Today I am wondering how many of you have kitties at home and how much they purr.  

Students - this is my second poem in this week's nonfiction poetry challenge.  Yesterday I thought I'd start as I did the day before, with my trusty stack of NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC magazines.  I read a few articles, but nothing really grabbed me.  So I just sat there for a while listening to my cat Mini purring at the end of the couch.  That got me wondering, "Why do cats purr?"  So I traveled around the internet to How Stuff Works, Wikipedia,, and Franny's Cats Blog at to find out.

What I found out is that purring is still somewhat of a mystery to humans, and that purring is more beneficial for cats and humans (it lowers our blood pressure) than I ever realized.  

The most difficult part of this poem for me was the ending.  I somehow didn't want to close it all fact-y, so I ended it with my own response to this idea of healing cat purrs.

Teachers - I've mentioned this before, but I'll say it again.  Writing a poem about a nonfiction topic helps us to crystallize what we have learned about this topic.  I encourage you to invite your students to close both science and social studies units with the writing of poems.  Invite them to look through their books, notes, projects, and papers and to find what interests them most.  Then...write.

If any of you try this, please send me an e-mail at amy at amylv dot com as I would love to share some of your students' nonfiction poems here on a Poetry Friday!

(Please click on COMMENTS below to share a thought.)


  1. Dear Amy Vanderwater,

    My name is Cameron and I'm a second grader in Mrs. Evancho's class. I look at your poems every day at morning meeting.
    How did you know so many reasons that cats purr?
    I loved your nest poem. It was cool how you shaped it like a nest.
    What made you think of writing poems for a year? Maybe you could write a poem about a snow day for school. I'm hoping we will have one tomorrow - our house has a lot of snow around it.

    Your friend,
    Cameron LaRosa

  2. Oh, I love the questions from Cameron! What a dream for a poet to have such an interested reader!

    I also love your cat poem. I learned some things about purring.
    Thank you for a lovely, heart-felt poem, Amy!

  3. Dear Cameron,

    Thank you so much for your note! We have a lot of snow here in Holland too. My daughter is sleeping with her jammies inside out because she heard that will make it snow lots and lots.

    Your idea to write a snow day poem is a great one, and I think I will do that next week - once nonfiction week is over. Snow days are so exciting, and I thank you for the idea.

    If you click on the purple words in today's post, you can read the articles I read about why cats purr. It surprised me that they purr when frightened; I thought they only purred when content.

    I got the idea to write a poem every day for a year last April. That's National Poetry Month, and lots of poets write and post a poem every day of the month. I did too, and it was such fun that I decide to go on for a year. It has been so good for me to stretch my writing muscles every day.

    Thank you, too, for your compliment on "nest." I wrote the words in a plain line first and then played around to shape them like a nest. I love birds and their pretty nests too.

    Well, good luck having a snow day tomorrow. We are crossing our fingers for one here too... If it happens, maybe you will write a poem. And if you do that, I hope you will send it to me!

    Your Friend,

    Linda, Aren't those kitty purr reasons interesting? I was fascinated! I agree completely with what you said about Cameron's questions too. How very lucky I am tonight bundled in snow and good friends from afar. I am wondering if you are planning to post a poem this Poetry Friday?? I miss them. A.

  4. Oh, how I love this poem! Amy, you are a genius... We have two cats, and it is exactly like you said : I'd love to be able to purr! Hugs, Lola