Friday, April 24, 2009

Poetry Friday -- 15 Words or Less

The little orange fur-ball
stuck in a cage,
the little orange fur-ball
sleeping in a rage.


The cat is tiny
all bright and gold
while it lays in its 


The Game
The game 
where the
cat stares
vicious thoughts
and the dog


I stare at you
you stare back.
When my 
owner comes
you get 
kicked out.


The cat looks at me.
I wag my 
I think he is
my friend.


Ruff Ruff
Meow Meow
Cat scratched --


The cage is strong
tough it is
black like the 
black night sky


the cat is
while the dog is
the cage is
the cage is 


Last Friday, when I told my students that I was going to hear both J. Patrick Lewis and Kay Ryan, the Poet Laureate of the U.S., speak, we had a great discussion about who the Poet Laureate is and what they do in that job. My students decided that they might like to grow up and become poets because, "poets get to break the rules and not use punctuation and capitalization if they don't want to (a discussion we had last week), and then you could become the "head poet" for all of the United States!!!"

We have Achievement tests this week and next. The schedule changes leave us with odd little scraps of time in the day that are perfect for introducing some short forms of poetry and starting our poetry writing unit. 

After I modeled writing a 15 Words or Less poem inspired by another photo and explained my choices of line breaks and repetition of phrases, I put this picture of our cat, Willie Morris, and our friends' dog, Ruby, up on the TV and turned the students loose to write without any explanation of the picture. The students whose poems I'm sharing today wrote them in about 5 minutes!! The variety in these poems is really fun -- the cat, the dog, even the cage!

The story behind the photo is that Willie Morris has taken over Ruby's den. (Ruby was spending the weekend with us.) In fact, when Ruby visits, she has to follow all of Willie's rules. Ruby really really wants to be friends with Will, but he thinks it's more fun to make a big dog do whatever he decides he wants the dog to do. Will has been known to back Ruby into the bedroom and onto her dog bed and refuse to even let her look at him until he was ready!  Isn't it amazing that some of the students captured that attitude in their poems without even knowing the story?!  

For the rest of the month, we'll explore more short forms of poetry -- haiku, limericks, couplets, and acrostics. I'll share some of the students' poems and the picture that was their prompt.

We still need just a couple of Poetry Friday hosts between now and August (see schedule in the sidebar). If you're interested, leave a note in the comments. The round up today is at Under the Covers.


  1. Sorry to hear about the testing. Glad you have found a good way to use the small bits of time. The level of manufactured stress in our building is very high. No one wants to lose their job because she said or did the wrong thing!

  2. What a great photo -- that Willie Morris is really a character! The students came up with some fun poems full of great observations.

  3. A post like this is what I love about being your colleague! You are so smart about using those snippets of time we've had this week wisely. I was pleased with how I used them, but a little poetry might just get thrown in as well next week.

  4. I would love to host Poetry Friday once more on July 31st, if that's possible! :)

  5. I love the idea of putting a picture up on the television and letting the kids try writing to it. I want to try this with our kids! And poetry seems such a nice opposite to all testing!

  6. What a great idea for the classroom! They did a nice job with their poems! Poetry was my favorite thing to teach when I taught third and fourth grade. Now I am subbing here and there and I will remember to use poetry if we have some extra time!


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