Friday, April 22, 2011

Poetry Friday, Peek, and Nature Poems

2008 Eclipse Night
Photo by Mark LV

Today is Earth Day!  For this reason, I have gathered poems about the outdoors: plants and animals and the beautiful world of nature!

Poems about Nature

Students - if you have been reading here this year, you may have noticed that many many of my poems come from the world of nature.  Sun and sky and sea and dirt are ever-giving in their bounty and beauty.  Poet David McCord once said that a teacher told him to find three beautiful things each day.  He found the weather to always be one of these beautiful things.

Here are a few nature poems from this past year.

from November 2010

from February 2011

from June 2010

Here are a few more poems which came from the world of nature.

Today I am excited to welcome teacher Jamie Palmer and her fifth grade students from Klem South Elementary in Webster, NY.  You may remember them from way back in January during Sock Week.  Today, Jamie and her students share their 7 Days/7 Ways Project in which each student blogged poems each day for one week...all about one self-selected topic!

All year my students have learned from and have been inspired by Amy and her blog. Each week, they would read Amy's poems and either try out her advice or use her poems as an inspiration for their own.  They collected their poems in their writer's notebooks and shared them with peers.  We were lucky to have her visit our classroom and work with us to take a simple object and look at it through different colored lenses (the object through history, describing the object, an ode to the object, etc.), writing multiple poems on that same object.   

During the lesson, while Amy and I were conferring with students, one student sparked my thinking, and the challenge of writing seven poems in seven days on the same object was born!

That night, I set up blogs for each of my students using, and the next day I introduced the challenge to my students.  They got into their accounts and posted a comment to the post I created about the challenge.   Through this challenge, they learned about blog etiquette, commenting respectfully and thoughtfully, how to write poetry using different lenses, and how to explain how they thought about and wrote their poems each night.

Some students continued posting more poems after the seven days, on the same and different topics.  During our Open House, instead of displaying work in a usual way, we turned our class into a Writers' Cafe, inspired by Debbie Miller's READING WITH MEANING.  Students read their poems and supported and encouraged each other.  We brewed coffee, had sweet treats, mood lighting, and gave snaps for each piece shared.  We listened to our own band students play jazz songs they learned in band rehearsal to open our close our Cafe.  It was packed the whole night!

Students will each create a two-page spread of their poems from this challenge in the scrapbooks we make to celebrate their elementary years.  This will definitely be something they will cherish and remember.  This challenge helped them grow as writers and thinkers this year.

Here are some student poems, followed by their words about what inspired them or what they learned through writing.

Ocean City's Music

The musical city loudly passing by,
the plants waving in sync
at the strange fishes coming and going
their eyes staring ahead in unison.
Flash! Swish! goes the army of the clowns
dancing in the sun's alluring light;
and hello oh hello! say the pretty siren dolphins
that sing a sonata in the moon's silent masterpiece.
Even the slow moving flowers of jellyfishes are busy;
that swish tango descend
joining the others in their circus whereabouts;
how can you deny
a stay in this wonderful place
So we welcome you, stranger;
welcome to our realm.

A Message to the Readers (Not Tips, Just Stuff)

A nice way to write poetry us to be visual.  Try not to think so hard on your word pick; I could tell you a synonym for "shining' was 'glistening' without thinking about what I told you.  Words like 'sync,' 'whereabouts,' and 'unison' were picked up from books I have read, and they were just words I immediately knew because of how they were placed.  Think of my Ocean City going straight ahead, ignoring these poor plants.

'Swish tango descend.' I didn't add commas or 'ands' because that ruins the graceful flow of the careless music.  Think of these three words as a start to a sequence; after the 'descend' the jellyfish could float or sink or...

by Kathy N.

MyPoWriWe #3 To Plant a Tree...(start from bottom)

sky just like you will
enough they'll grow all the way up to the
buds to small plants and soon
as they turn from

To plant a tree, gather seeds, and put them in the ground...

Students - to come with a recipe (thank you, Amy) to make a tree seemed impossible to me until I thought about my grandma and grandpa back in Rhode Island when they told me about how trees spread seeds.   They can each spread thousands of seeds every year!  What I am trying to say is that if you are having trouble on your poem or just about anything, try researching your topic.  It can really help you sometimes!  Try it!

by Kyron G.

Water Poem #3

If you are water
then what do you drink?
Or what do you eat?
coconuts or stew?
Do you drink Sprite
root beer
Mountain Dew?
What do you play with?
Not toys I would think
and what's the fun
if you can't sleep?

Students - I got the idea for this poem by wondering, "What would water drink sine it is water?  Doesn't every drink have water in it, no matter how small?  I think you wouldn't want to drink yourself, so what does it drink?  It may not be alive but with waves tossing and turning everywhere, it looks pretty real to me.  So you could make a poem by just doing that.  Make a poem based on a question you don't know how to answer.  

There are different ways you can make a poem (describing something, imagining it through time, being it...)  In this poem, I am talking to it.  Asking it questions.  You could make a poem based on that too.  There are many possible ways to write poems.  That's what makes writing them so much fun.  Just write them how you want to.

by Rachel W. 


Every day is always the same.
Spinning, turning, twirling, swirling
all through the day I work so hard,
without as much as a thank you.
Every day I watch people walk by,
occasionally glancing up to check the time,
But they never say hi,
the only words I ever hear are "Oh man I'm late" 
or "I've still got time,"
seconds turn to minutes, minutes to hours,
and before I know it everything is asleep,
and all through the night I don't hear a peep.

Students - I got the idea of writing this from looking at the clock and wondering how it feels to be a clock.  

While I was writing the last line, I got stuck and I couldn't figure out what I wanted it to say, but I decided to delete in and try a different approach.

It helped me a lot to just start over with a completely different sentence.  So I suggest that if you're really stuck, you should stop, then think, "Is there a different way I could say this?"

by Robert B.

What a delight to have these students and their teacher with us here today on this fourth Friday of National Poetry Month 2011.  Thank you once again to Jamie Palmer and her class!

Throughout April, I will continue rounding out my round up of last year's poetry project.  Feel free to visit old posts below, as I am working to create useful teaching and learning categories for young poets for each day of this month.

This Month's Poetry Revisits and Lessons So Far

April 1 -   Poems about Poems
April 2 -   Imagery
April 6 -   Free Verse
April 9 -   Poems about Science
April 10 - Rhyming Couplets  
April 11 -  Riddle Poems 
April 12 -  List Poems 
April 13 -  Poems for Occasions
April 14 -  Concrete Poems
April 15 -  Poems about Food
April 16 -  Quatrains
April 18 -  Alliteration
April 19 -  Poems about Sports
April 20 - Compare/Contrast Poems 
April 21 -  Family Story Poems 
April 22 -  Today - Poems about Nature

Kate Coombs is hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup over at Book Aunt.  Head on over there to see what is sprouting and blooming in the poetry KidLitosphere today!

And after you're finished reading all of those poems, consider planting something or picking up some litter.  Happy Earth Day to you and to our beautiful and inspiring planet!

(Please click on POST A COMMENT below to share a thought.)


  1. I still have so much to learn from you! Your rhyme --

    "what is it?"


    Happy Spring and Happy Earth Day and Happy Easter!

  2. Love your Milkweed poem!

    Happy Earth Day--and Easter!!!

  3. Mary Lee and Elaine, Many thanks! Happy Earth Day and Happy Easter to you both too! I hope you have lots of food and word. A.

  4. You are following Lee's advice about "passing the poetry please" to perfection!!!!!

  5. Infused with wonder: I think you live your life that way.

    I'm curious. Did you study with anyone in particular? There are meme/gene threads in poets I think. Some of it is always who we read, but sometimes there is a teacher. (I think there will be a pretty strong strain of Amy in the next generation.)