Friday, May 17, 2013

Love Letters and Chalk Poems

Writer Tree
by Amy LV

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

Students - Today's poem is about the season we are in right now.  Spring.  When this time of year rolls around in Western New York, we are always very ready for it; winter is long here.  And it always feels like there is one magical day when all of the trees mail their leaves to the sky.  I notice it every year, and every year I marvel.

Today's poem relies heavily on a technique you may have heard of -- personification.  In this verse, I make the trees like people, writing.  We know that trees do not write, but in this poem they do. In this poem, they are like people who feel hope and relief and even joy.

The first two stanzas each have an ABCBDB pattern (every other line has the same end rhyme), but the third stanza is shorter.  To me, this makes it feel more finished, breaking the pattern and all.

There's a bit of alliteration (same beginning letter repeating) too.  Can you find it?

It is an honor today to welcome kindergarten teacher Betsy Hubbard and her kindergarten poets from Fern Parsons Elementary School in Olivet, Michigan.  Many of you know Betsy from her warm, rich blog, Teaching Young Writers, and her students' families also know her through her classroom blog, Hubbard's Headlines.  Some of you might even remember when Betsy and her students visited The Poem Farm last June with their book, RHYME SCHOOL.  Today they share their chalk-a-bration poem, written at the end of April, National Poetry Month.  What a fantastic idea!  I welcome Betsy and her students....

Photo by Betsy Hubbard

It doesn't take long,
not hard to find a space.
Go get some chalk
and poetry the place!
~Betsy Hubbard

Back in March of 2012 my husband was outside with our children doing chalk on the driveway. He got the idea to write some song lyrics. This idea of writing words on our driveway spread. I started writing poems on our driveway, then my husband started writing poems too. 

I began thinking, what if others shared writing underfoot? What if someone, somewhere wrote their favorite poem or an original poem and someone else stumbled upon it? I felt a rush of excitement at the idea of someone’s day getting a smile from shared words. Chalk-A-Bration was born! 

Throughout last year, poets, students and my family shared poems and illustrations during the summer months. This year I decided to share the idea with my students again, and we got to work. We went outside with our writer’s notebooks and scoured for ideas. We illustrated our topics and lines as a planning tool and together wrote a shared poem. In partners, students illustrated each line of the poem in chalk outside. We put it all together and had our poem in pictures for everyone to see. It was a great way to celebrate the end of poetry month with kindergartners.  
Here is our poem in pictures and in words:

Senses Outside
by Mrs. Hubbard’s Kindergarten Class

Smelling flowers that smell like lemonade

a red bike

a can

a spiky ball

green tree
green grass that grows

hearing owl -- whoo, whoo

a yellow dandelion

a stick shaped like a Y

and those were our senses outside.

About chalk-a-bration, Saige says, "I like doing it (chalk-a-bration) because it is so beautiful, and I like doing the poetry because I get to make my own stories and pictures." 

Sophia says, "I like poetry because its fun writing and drawing pictures to go with your writing." 

Reagan says, "I like to draw with chalk, it is fun to do things like this with my friends. I love all the colors of things."

Chalk-a-bration is on May 31st, and I am also hosting Poetry Friday that day at Teaching Young Writers! I would invite any and all chalk holders to join in the chalketry celebration. It can be an original poem, a personal favorite, or an illustration to a poem. Anything poemy will do.  When you're done getting dusty, post a photo on your blog and link it to on celebration day! You will be in good company. And, you can even come back on June 30th, July 31st or August 31st to do it again! 

Don't you just want to get out and chalk?  I do!  Remember....May 31 at Betsy's place. Thank you so much to Betsy and these young poets for filling The Poem Farm with joy today.

Today I am guest blogging over at Kirby Larson's blog, Kirby's Lane, a wee bit about writing and the two selves I must be to do so.

Ed DeCaria is hosting today's Poetry Friday party over at Think Kid, Think! Stop by and check out the menu of poetry fun all around the Kidlitosphere this week.

Please share a comment below if you wish.
To find a poem by topic, click here. To find a poem by technique, click here.
Like The Poem Farm on Facebook for more poems, articles, and poemquotes!


  1. Great to see all the students, Betsy. Amy, thanks for having Betsy. The Chalk-a-bration is just terrific!

  2. I love "Love Letters." I always tell kids that poetry helps us see the world through new eyes. This one definitely does that for me.

  3. Love the final "leaf after leaf" line--so hopeful and green! And hooray for chalk-a-bration and these enthusiastic young poets.

  4. I so love that middle stanza in particular, Amy!

  5. Love this poem, Amy, and the fact that you've given nature such a hopeful voice. Now I'm going to go find a tree to hug.

  6. Love Letters is beautiful, Amy. I'm on Soundcloud but haven't tried it yet.
    Betsey those chalk pictures are super!

  7. Your imagination inspires me! Imagine trees writing love letters!
    I also enjoyed the chalk pictures and plan to try it out. Where can I find a group of kids for May 31? Our school will be out.

  8. This, I embrace - "It doesn't take long to poetry the place."

    And so very worthwhile, too. Thanks for sharing both parts o' the post....

  9. As always, a post full of goodness! Thank you!

  10. Oh what a lovely thought, leaves being love letters waiting to drop. Thank you again for featuring my students.

  11. Love the idea of leaves being love letters...nicely done, Amy!

  12. I love the "Love Letters" poem!
    And Betsy's line -
    "Go get some chalk
    and poetry the place"-
    I just love!

  13. Simply fabulous! Both your beautiful poem AND the chalk-a-bration idea from Betsy! LOVE this. Can't wait to try it with my friend's third graders!!! Thank you.
    Janet F.

  14. Amy -- LOVE the love letters!

    Betsy -- I finally went out and bought myself some for-real sidewalk chalk! Getting ready for the May Chalkabration!!