Friday, May 3, 2024

Welcome Seely 4th Grade Poets!

Seely Place Elementary School
Edgemont School District, Scarsdale, NY
Photo from Seely Website

This Poetry Friday I could not be more thrilled to welcome the wise and talented poets from Mrs. Borella and Mr. Levin's fourth grade class at Seely Place Elementary in the Edgemont School District in Scarsdale, NY. Welcome, poets!

I was lucky enough to visit Seely Place again a couple of weeks ago, but I did not expect the wonderful surprise of reuniting with some of the fourth graders I met two years ago when I visited them as second graders during my first Seely visit. As it happened, last month these same students, now fourth graders, were reading one of my poems in class and writing many of their own. Fortunately for me, they invited me in to their classroom so that I could enjoy some of their poetry and learn about their process. Needless to say, the students are taller, have more teeth, and are both accomplished poets and thoughtful humans.
Reunited Two Years Later
Photo by Mrs. Borella/Mr. Levin

Long before I arrived, these students read the below list poem, one I shared at my blog years ago. 

And then, Mrs. Borella and Mr. Levin invited them to write It's ok list poems of their own as a kickoff to the class's poetry unit. You can follow this teaching process below. 

Click to Enlarge

These final pieces became part of a class book for everyone to enjoy and learn from. I wish that my own younger self had received this kind and thoughtful advice and appreciate it now as an older self.

And those precious photographs? Well, Mrs. Borella wrote to the students' families before the unit and asked - in secret - for each family to send a photo of their child as a little one to serve as inspiration...and to bring joy to the whole project.

Read the Pages!

One thing that struck me in these poems - besides the most adorable photographs and great advice - is the very true rhyming. You will not find forced rhyme here. Students used all kinds of techniques to find rhymes from listing rhyming words to substituting synonyms to moving words around. They shared some of these strategies with me, and we had a great poet-to-poet conversation about the importance and how-to of keeping our rhyme meaningful.

Thank you so much to Mrs. Borella, Mr. Levin, these photo-sharing families the Seely Place community, and Allyson Hickey of booked Authors for connecting me with these writers. Thank you, young poets. I will never forget this visit.

Buffy is hosting this week's Poetry Friday roundup over at Buffy Silverman with a mask poem in the voice of a hognose snake - three acts! Each Friday, all are invited to share poems, poem books, poetry ideas, and friendship in this open and welcoming poetry community.

If you would like to visit my 2024 National Poetry Month Project - ONE MORE OR LESS LINE CROW - you may do so HERE. Much gratitude to anyone and everyone who commented along the can get lonely in here.

I wish you a week of kindness to yourself. If you have a difficult day, I suggest rereading one of these students' poems. And please do leave them a comment if you would be so kind.



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  1. These student poems are amazing. Like Amy, I was impressed with the intentional rhyming-so difficult for students to do! What a beautiful project!

  2. My goodness, the beauty in here brings tears to my eyes. So many kids are struggling with how they don't feel OK. This whole experience is like medicine for many souls. Thank you for sharing these little miracles of poetry with all of us.

  3. From Irene Latham at Live Your Poem: It's OK! Such a great message coming from you and these young poets. Shout out to Sophia: It's ok to mess up at cello. I needed to hear that this week! Thank you!

  4. These are beautiful! Thank you for sharing on your website!!

  5. Big thanks to Amy and the teachers for sharing the magic of poetry with the kids. This is proof that every kid is a poet, and an artist (just ask Picasso). To all the kids (and those young in heart): It's OK to love poetry. It's OK to be artsy and sentimental sometimes in a machine dominated world. And of course, "It’s ok to do what your parents say"--you made my day, Victoria. ;)

  6. I adore these inspiring poems of self-forgiveness! Your mentor poem sets up perfect guideposts, Amy. I love the poems with the line: when I was young so long ago… They all made me smile!

  7. These poems are more than okay--what terrific young writers, and how cool to see how you inspired them.

  8. Seely Poets, I wish you could see my continuing smile & sense my heart feeling soar as I read each of your wonderful words. These are all exquisite poetry expressions of the one-and-only-You. I do have special affinity with Hanna of --it's ok to not be good in math.-- Please read your poems to lots of friends & other teachers there . And maybe invite AmyLV back in 2 yrs :)

  9. Such wisdom in these poems, Amy! Thank you for sharing them!

  10. Such a joy to read these poems, Amy! I sometimes use a repeated phrase at the start of a writing session to just unlock my creative juices. I'll be trying "It's OK"

  11. That is a special teacher to create a world of poetry for her students, Amy, and preparing a lovely surprise for you, the pics of their young selves and the fabulous poems, some good advice every time to remember! They are gems!

  12. Delightful! I hope they'll each save these to read over and over again in the years to come.

  13. These poems took me back in time while I was reading them! I wish I knew this as child.(Special shout-out to Lydia, "It's okay to have your bed not made". Hysterical!