Friday, June 1, 2012

Poem Books & A Poetry Peek

Note Written to First Grade Teacher Susan Kellner
Photo by Susan Kellner

Click the arrow to hear me read this poem to you.

Students - I got the idea for today's poem from all of the teachers and students I know who make books in class.  I remembered making projects in school and that feeling of, "I can't wait to get home to show my mom and dad!"  In these few words, I wanted to capture that feeling of excitement and pride.

It is an honor to welcome back first grade teacher Susan Kellner of Holland O. Brumsted Elementary in Holland, NY. Our own daughters were lucky enough to have Susan as a first grade teacher several years ago, and some of you may remember her visit here in April 2010 when she shared her Poet Tree, now pinned and repinned on Pinterest many times.

On this first Poetry Friday of June, Susan has generously offered to share a bit about how she helps her first graders fall in love with poetry and her student, Chloe Conrad is here with her own first grade poetry anthology. Please settle in and enjoy a trip to first grade, a wonderful book, and some words from Chloe's mom about how writing workshop in first grade this year has helped Chloe grow.

Welcome and thank you to first grade teacher Susan Kellner!

Poetry Recitations/Readings

Every month we have a theme for sharing and practicing our speaking skills. One month students will tell about and show how to do something. One month they share about family traditions. In April, the students share a poem that they love.

Students can either memorize the poem or read it. I find that most of them choose to memorize their poem. I encourage this - I tell them that then they will always have a "poem in their pocket." I think it is interesting where they get their poems. Some students go to the library with their parents to get poetry books. Some look online. One girl brought in a tattered Robert Louis Stevenson book that had belonged to her grandmother. One student went to the Poem Farm, and found a poem she loved about sheep. I encourage the students who memorized the poems to keep sharing them with other people. These poems stick so well into their young, fresh minds!


Every year my students write dozens of poems. I usually have them choose a favorite and then I type it up and put them all into a class anthology and make copies for everyone. This year, I felt very ambitious so I decided to type them all up so that they could each have an anthology of their own poems. It was truly a labor of love -- I think I typed up more than 400 poems! I made covers out of sparkly paper and presented the students with their own poetry books. They were thrilled and carefully illustrated each page. One student said, "Can we please share our poems with each other?" so we gathered in a circle. The students held their little books in their laps and everyone listened respectfully as the poems were read with pride. During free time, I noticed that several groups of students were gathering in little circles again, continuing to take turns reading poems to each other. It was a magical moment! That was the day that I found this note on my desk: "Thank you! Thank you for teaching me poatre."

Welcome and many thanks to poet Chloe Conrad!

Poet Chloe Conrad
Photo by Amy Conrad

Welcome to Amy Conrad, Chloe's mom, as she offers some thoughts into how Chloe's life as a writer.

Chloe, since we can remember, has had a love for reading! She is just fascinated by the different stories and has always been mesmorized by the illustrations. This year, in Mrs. Kellner's first grade class, Chloe has really blossomed. She can't wait to get off the bus to announce their daily book and what she wrote for the day.

Mrs. Kellner is an inspiration to Chloe in such a huge way. Her love for reading and writing shines on to the students. I love that Mrs. Kellner has writer's workshop in her daily routine. It has had a huge impact on our daughter. It taught her how to be creative with her thoughts. We will now see Chloe take out a notepad (a gift from Mrs. Kellner) and write down a word or idea, that she will later write a story or poem about. We are amazed and so proud at the writing that Chloe produces.

Chloe Reads to Paelye
Photo by Amy Conrad

Thank you so much for Susan, Amy, and poet Chloe for visiting The Poem Farm today. All of you inspire me not only in your writing but in the way you live your lives.

Carol is hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup. To read more poems and poem thoughts, head on over to Carol's Corner to check out the menu!

Please share a comment below if you wish.
To find a poem by topic, click here. To find a poem by technique, click here.
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  1. Mrs. Kellner deserves hundreds of huge hugs for all she does! This post just warmed my heart. Congrats to Chloe on her beautiful collection. I was especially struck by the idea of a rainbow being tired of "shining colors" - fascinating! Wonderful, Amy - thank you.

  2. There is little that is more satisfying than being able to share one's words with someone else. Thank you Amy for your poem that captures the pleasure of this. Your post is a wonderful story of an inspiring teacher who does that extra stuff like creating books for her students to cherish. Please tell Chloe I loved all her poems, but especially the one titled "Night", about the stars and the owl. It is lovely.

  3. Mrs. Kellner sounds like a wonderful teacher ~ what a special way for first graders to learn about poetry. I hope my son will have a similar experience at our school next year.

    Chloe is quite the little poet! I really loved reading her poems and looking at her pictures. Great job, Chloe!

    Amy, I bet the students in Mrs. Kellner's class can relate to Poem Books! :)

  4. We are one poem away from completing our anthologies...your post makes me anticipate our publishing date all the more!

  5. I love reading about teachers who are creating the next generation of Poetry Friday Sharers! Also love that Miss Chloe shared her poems not only with us, but also with that cute baby Paelye!

  6. I think I officially melted a little while reading this. Chloe, what a brave little writer she is and Mrs. Kellner a wonderful waterer of writers!

  7. How wonderful to see kids take joy in sharing their writing with others. Great stuff!

  8. I love seeing all the poems and art work from the children. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Beautiful on so many levels.

  10. Gee whiz that brought a big smile to my face. What to go!!!!!!

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