Friday, April 04, 2008

Poetry Friday -- 15 Words or Less Poems

Each week during the month of April, we are going to study a different short form of poetry in my class. This first week, inspired by Laura Salas' weekly challenge, my students wrote 15 Words or Less poems.

Armed with the power of iPhoto and flat screen TV that I can connect to my teacher computer, I shared a different image each day for their inspiration.

Here are a couple of poems from the first day:
The upside down y
floats in the sky.
And the moon is very

(Look hard for the second jet trail to the right of and below the obvious one. It makes the y in this student's poem.)

Is it a star?
I wonder.
Is it a rocket?
I wonder.

Not surprisingly, yesterday's photo really got the creative juices flowing.
The Devil is
cruel and mean,
I just hope
he doesn't eat
too many beans!

Yo, little
with two glowing eyes
and two horns.
I wonder when you
were born?

Pumpkin, pumpkin, filled with a flare
Now there's light everywhere.

Look at that Jack-o-lantern
on Halloween night
just waiting
to cause some fright.

I think it looks like the devil
on Halloween

Hello Jack-o-lantern
with your bright eyes.
Some people think it's a mask,
but I know it's a big disguise.

burning bright
Burning bright on Halloween night
Smiling face
an evil trace

I pledge allegiance
to the pumpkin picture beside the flag.
...with candy
and costumes
for all.

(That one was mine!)

Next week instead of counting words, we'll be counting syllables with haiku. After that, we'll try acrostics, and finish up with limericks.

The roundup this week is at Becky's Book Reviews.


  1. Ooh, the moon IS very close, and gorgeous! I enlarged the picture, and sure enough: an upside down y!

  2. These are wonderful! What a great project.

    FYI I had a lot of trouble getting here from your comment at Becky's Book Reviews. I had to open my bloglines and then this post from there because I kept getting a "blog not found" error. Don't know why...

  3. How lucky your students are! I totally believe in visual prompts. It's so unfair to expect kids to just write. Writing is, in so many ways, a response to noticing the world, and I'm so glad your kids are seeing "ys" and "rockets" and even "beans"!

  4. Anonymous12:30 PM

    I love, love, the first and second one. What a great idea. I may do poetry with the whole school this month.

  5. Great project, with good photo prompts. Looking forward to seeing more poems :)!

  6. What fun...I love this and am thinking about first graders would love to see these images and create poetry. Loved hearing your creative kiddos.

  7. Can't wait for the testing to be over and non-fiction unit so I can get down to POETRY. Have you read your students any "If not for the cat?" by Prelutsky. 17 haiku poems about the nature of animals and FABULOUS illustrations!

  8. Anonymous8:04 AM

    Cool! I'm so glad y'all had fun! We wrote group poems in response to images at my school visit last week, and the kids had a blast, too. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Katie -- First graders could ABSOLUTELY do this!

    Mme T -- IF NOT FOR THE CAT will be one of our haiku mentor texts next week!

    Sara -- The kids loved coming in each morning and looking at the tv screen to see what the picture of the day would be!

    The thing that was most surprising about this first foray into poetry was how many of the students wanted to use rhyme! They absolutely know (from their reading and from my example 15 Word Poem) that poems don't have to rhyme. Maybe rhyme is the gatekeeper of poetry -- you have to rhyme, struggle with rhyme, fail to rhyme before you can walk through into free verse.

    We'll see how they do with haiku!

  10. Anonymous8:49 AM

    You sound like the coolest of cool teachers. I'd love to have been in your class! A great assignment with great results.

  11. Mary Lee,

    Have a blast writing poetry in your classroom. I think it's great that you're writing poems along with your kids.

  12. Thank you for this wonderful idea! I used it with my seventh graders today and was completely blown away with what they came up with! I actually got chills and tears in my eyes more than once. Now I just need to get permission to post them.


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