Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Poetry Peek: Love that Poetry with Mrs. Sass's Third Graders

It is a delight to welcome teacher Heather Sass and her third grade students from DeWitt Road Elementary School in Webster, NY today.  Last month, I had the good fortune to spend time at DeWitt as a visiting author, and I was tickled to read these students' words of human celebration.  I asked their teacher, Heather Sass, if we might feature their work at The Poem Farm, and to my great happiness...she said yes!

Our class really enjoyed a novel/poetry study of LOVE THAT DOG by Sharon Creech. The main character, Jack, starts out unsure of himself and his poems. Throughout the book he gains confidence to write poetry and the reader is able go along for a funny, silly and sometimes sad journey. I watched my students grow as poets, each one feeling a connection to Jack, through his or her own growth as a poet.

Image result for love that dog

To feed our poetry writing, we read poetry from poets such as Walter Dean Myers, William Carlos Williams, T.S. Elliot, Robert Frost and Valerie Worth, to name a few. We read and studied these poems to find examples of figurative language.  During this time, I stumbled upon this amazing book of poems, THE BEST PART OF ME by Wendy Ewald in which children celebrate physical differences. 

This book inspired us to write our own poetry. This was not my plan initially but I allowed my students' inspiration to lead us in our final project.

Below you can read each student's poem celebrating his or her favorite body part.  Please click the enlarge button (four arrows) below to see these poems and photographs full screen.

Here's how  we wrote these poems if you wish to try it with your students:

1. After reading THE BEST PART OF ME, we discussed and then listed what we each thought was our favorite part of our body and why on chart paper.

2.  I created a graphic organizer that included all of the elements that I wanted to assess including onomatopoeia, simile, and metaphor.

3. I “played” photographer and chose to go outside and take pictures. Students told me how they wanted their “favorite part” to be represented in their photo.

4. We spent time filling out our graphic organizers before writing on our final copy paper.

5. We constructed our two-page LOVE THAT (BRAIN, HAIR, MUSCLE ________) books out of yellow construction paper. We modeled our own covers after the original cover of LOVE THAT DOG.

6. The students cut out their final draft poems and their pictures and glued them inside the book.

One thing I would change would be that next time I will take the photos first, then let students use the photo as inspiration in writing their poems.

I am so proud of my class! Watching the excitement they now have about poetry brings joy to my heart.

P.S. We are reading HATE THAT CAT, the follow-up book to LOVE THAT DOG, just for fun. My class is so happy we do not have to say goodbye to Jack just yet.

Image result for hate that cat

So much gratitude to Teacher Heather Sass and these young poets for sharing their photographs and poems with us today.  This is a beautiful way to celebrate the coming of summer: with a celebration of all of the wonderful things our bodies can do!

The Poem Farm always welcomes poetry-celebrations-and-peeks from classes of students willing to share. Please just write me an e-mail if you are interested in featuring student work in this space.  Over at my other blog, Sharing Our Notebooks, I am happy to host teacher Katie Liseo and her adventurous student notebookers with a very inspiring post and giveaway of Aimee Buckner's NOTEBOOK KNOW-HOW. 

Please share a comment below if you wish.


  1. I have never seen anything like this poetry project or anything like these poems. I absolutely love these poems and the images that go along with them. If this were a book at Barnes and Noble or Amazon.com, I would buy it. What a beautiful celebration of the human body. The imagery was outstanding. Thank you for posting this Amy, this is magnificent.

  2. This is the first year in a long time I haven't had time to do our "Best Part of Me" poetry project. We didn't a different big project with poetry and i really missed this one. There's just not enough time to do it all! I love how you incorporated Love That Dog in to the writing of the poems. My kids loved that book as well. Thanks for sharing. I'm going to see if I can make the movie large enough so I can read the poems. Do they have voice/

  3. What a fun post. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Love, love , love it! Super creative teacher. Great job Ms. Sass and students!!!