Friday, October 3, 2014

Writing about Writing & a Poetry Peek

Photo by Amy LV

Students - One of the best parts of my days is when I have the opportunity to visit classrooms wtih writing workshops.  This week I had the chance to visit a third grade and a kindergarten classroom, both humming with writing and love.  At home here, I write all alone, but I, too, look for people to be a part of my writing circle.  You are these people.  The teachers and students I visit are these people.  My poetry friends are these people.  It really does feel "almost like a hug" when one has the chance to write and share with others.

Receiving a kind note from Jen Westervelt (you'll read words from her in a moment) reminded me that I have written about writing several times, so her note got me searching the files to see what I could find. This draft was a scrap written over a year ago, and I found it in my files. 
This short verse felt worth finishing, even with that weird little last nonsense line.  I didn't want to finish it in the spring of 2013, but this week I did.  So, thank you to Jen and to Lillie and Willow and all of the students in this class for inspiring me - through your words - to comb through my digital files.  I was happy to find today's small poem and hope that others in writing workshps know the feeling I describe.

Being a writer-packrat can be very helpful.  Don't throw those notebooks away or erase those files.  Someday, down the line, you might find a scrap that you wish to revisit.  Look through your old notebooks sometime, maybe even today.  Surprise your new self with the interesting thoughts of your old self.  Take an old piece and make it new.

Today I am very happy to host sixth grade English teacher Jen Westervelt, from Sherburne-Earlville Middle School in Sherburne, NY.  Many grateful welcomes to Jen as she introduces her students.

As part of Scholastic's TRAITS WRITING PROGRAM, my sixth grade students have been exploring the connections between the Writing Process (Prewriting, Drafting, Revising, Editing...) and the Writing Traits (Ideas, Organization, Word Choice, Sentence Fluency, Voice, Presentation, and Conventions).  Amy Ludwig VanDerwater's poem,"Writing Time," served as inspiration for these poems.    


Poems are like Paintings
Except telling a story through words
You might stare and be waiting
For great inspiration to come

You might get an idea one day
While walking down the street
It might start “hello” or  “far far away”
Or even great George the giant

Use transition, organization, ideas, and voice
These are all important in poems
There might be a sentence like “there is Boise”
Or “Hi my name is Bob”

This is all about you
The poem you write
And the ideas you use

If you do what you like
Could be poems about bikes
There’s no way you’ll  ever fail

Lillie Ashton

Writing is Life

Writing is life, It's naturally nice to write about life.
Like when your kindhearted friend sends you a letter, so 
you can feel radiant and beautiful and somewhat better.   
Writing is a source of showing you 
care about your friends that are everywhere and anywhere.So,
writing is life,
you can write to anyone even if he/she lives in the 
middle of nowhere.

Willow Austin  

Thank you very much to Jen, Lillie, and Willow for joining us with these thoughtful words and lines.  It is a joy to have you all here at The Poem Farm today.

Students are often our best teachers, and I continue to be thankful for the young writers from the Western New York Young Writer's Studio who are currently sharing their notebooks over at my other blog, Sharing Our Notebooks.  If you have not yet taken a look at these students' notebooks, I encourage you to come on over and get some new ideas for your own notebook.  Don't forget to leave a comment to be entered in a giveaway of a book and a notebook too!

Jama is hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup over at the delicious Jama's Alphabet Soup.  Head on over for tea, croissants, and poems.  What could be better?

Please share a comment below if you wish.


  1. Amy, your long-ago story was so sweet. It captured the way a new friendship can feel magical. And "Every Day" -- yes! I've sat on that rug both as student and teacher. So cozy and inviting.

  2. Love imagining a classroom that sits "so close together it's almost like a hug." Nothing like that warmth and acceptance to inspire young (and old!) writers.

  3. So glad you finished that poem, Amy! I love how you have (and can find!) so much of your previous writing...

  4. This entire post feels like a warm hug. So glad you found and finished that poem. And thanks to Lillie and Willow for their poems :).

  5. You've made this post into a classroom sharing, Amy. It's wonderful to see your early story, your poem, and then the students' poems too, all excited about writing. Thanks for all!

  6. Your poems feel like hugs. Coincidentally, I found a poem today in my stack of bulletin board decorations for fall. I reworked it to post tomorrow for my celebration Saturday post. It's fun to find little gems to polish. Thanks for keeping us writers, big and small, inspired.

  7. I hope my sixth grader feel that coming to the rug to ready oneself for writing is like a welcome hug!

  8. I really enjoyed imagining my writing workshop like a hug on the rug. I'm teaching second graders this year and I can't wait to share this poem with them. We are writing and making books like authors. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Lovely, inspirational poem, Amy. Thanks for sharing it here.

  10. I imagine "we sit so close together/it's almost like a hug" is a lot like what your school visits feel like too, Amy. :)

  11. Thanks for this! Here's to being a writer packrat!