Friday, February 22, 2019

Poetry Friday--Student Poems

photo via Unsplash

Helping My Mom Cook

I let my hands go on an adventure with cooking,
chopping away the evil monsters.
My cooking is like an adventure,
Turning the stove on,
and seeing the boiling water,
like lava.

When it boils,
the lava
is letting out all the smoke.
Turning the stove off,
and seeing the boiling water stop,
like the lava
stopped letting out smoke.

Then grabbing the plate,
like finding a map for the loot.
Finally eating the food,
like finding the loot.

by Sarkees K.

photo via unsplash


The white clouds
the frosty air the dazzling
snowflakes that fall from the skies

You can do all kinds of things
in the dazzling snow

You can make a snowman a snowball
you can also watch it snow

Don’t you feel the frosty air
don’t you feel how cold it is
don’t you feel how cold the snow is

It’s all because of the axis pointed
away from the sun, the indirect

by Shadman M.

In our pacing guide for 5th grade writing instruction, we've come back around to narrative writing. When I looked at what I'm expected to teach ("Use concrete words and phrases and sensory details to convey experiences precisely; use a variety of transitional words, phrases, and clauses to manage the sequence of events") it seemed like this work could definitely be done using the story telling medium of poetry. 

We began by brainstorming ordinary daily events. Even though video games are likely the most ordinary thing most of my students do on a daily basis, we didn't use those examples for our writing topics. We've also begun doing 5 minute quick writes at the beginning of most writing workshop times. This has seeded their writer's notebooks with lots of good material for their poems.

I was thrilled with Sarkees' poem about cooking with his mom. Without ever being taught about extended metaphors, he brought his adventure metaphor all the way through his poem. Sarkees wants more than anything to be a chef when he grows up. It is fun to see students' passions coming through in their writing.

Shadman's poem is so like him. He worked hard to be very poetic in his first stanzas, even including some repetition. But the logical, scientific side of him gets the last word in the conclusion, an echo of what he learned about the seasons in science earlier in the year.

Thank you, Sarkees and Shadman for sharing your poems!

Robyn has the Poetry Friday roundup this week at Life on the Deckle Edge.


  1. These student poets are well on their way, with your mindful guidance - such deep, evocative poems, each is. Brava for "Helping My Mom Cook" & for "Snow."

    Whenever you share your students' work, I feel a bit of relief to think of these, our future leaders, & have hope that all will be well in the world.

  2. Yes, I was struck by the metaphors in Sarkees' poem as well! Wonderful. And Shadman's repetition of "don't you feel" is lovely and warm in this snow poem. Thank you for sharing! xo

  3. Wonderful to see these -- of course I was tickled pink with Sarkee's cooking poem -- he's right that working at the stove is an adventure. Also enjoyed Shadman's dazzling snowflakes -- saw some big puffy ones just the other day. Lovely imagery!

  4. Wonderful to hear from your student poets. I like Shadman's observation that out of all the things you can do in the dazzling snow, "you can also watch it snow." That's my favorite thing to do!
    And Sarkees' adventure with cooking is the best kind leading to finding the loot and eating the food.

  5. I would love to eat Sarkee's loot when he becomes a chef -- fun metaphor!
    Shadman does a good job with repetition, making it a pleasure to read out loud. Has he heard "Why Does the Sun Shine?" by They Might Be Giants? It seems up his alley.

  6. The seeds from your students' notebooks have been nurtured by your care, Mary Lee. The blossoms bloomed into very interesting pieces of writing. Yes, poetry helps our narratives unfold.

  7. I have long thought that many concepts of writing can be done through poetry. These student poems exemplify this well, how learning appears and discoveries are made. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Yup. It's Amy LV's book POEMS ARE TEACHERS come to life!

    2. Our next unit of study is opinion writing, and I think we'll try it in poem form before we get to the nuts and bolts of it!

  8. Shadman's scientific approach is me in almost every early draft of a poem. I get where he's coming from! And I love how the lava flows through Sarkee's delicious poem.

  9. Fantastic poems, Mary Lee - thanks to you and to Shadman and Sarkee for sharing. I quite liked the language "shift" at the end of Shadman's poem, that surprise tilt seemed just right for an axis.

  10. Thanks for sharing the poems and even more how they show the students' passions. I imagine each one was thrilled with the result, the way they used poetry to show who they are. And I like that you do this with the students, showing how poetry can be for them! I enjoyed each poem, the 'hands on an adventure with cooking' and since we just had a big snow, the 'dazzling snow' - perfect.

  11. OH, my goodness! What an amazing poem Helping My Mom Cook is. I love the imagination and word play. This is a born poet. I hope you give them a hug from me. I could have really enjoyed a classroom that celebrated poetry like yours. Snowflake is spectacular as well...the repetition really captures the voice of a young person. Thank you so much for sharing these.

  12. Good to see the next generation taking shape with patient and kind teachers. Their appreciation warms my heart and makes me remember those who encouraged my early words.

  13. Keep "chopping away the evil monsters," Sarkees! And Shadman's poem is perfect proof that poetry is a fabulous way to write across the curriculum. I try to squeeze poetry writing in whenever and wherever it makes sense. Terribly sad that our newly-adopted writing curriculum (which shall remain nameless) doesn't believe there is a place for poetry writing in Kindergarten. Bravo and keep steering the ship in that direction. -- Christie @

  14. These are both terrific Mary Lee, I didn't read Student poems at the top of your post and was surprised when I read it in your commentary, so rich and keen they both are–congrats to you all!

  15. What a wonderful, rich environment you've created in your classroom! Both poems are wonderful and clearly reflect their authors' passions. Kudos to these young poets and to you for all that you do to create a place where poetry thrives!!

  16. These are the MOST wonderful poems -- oh, fifth graders are SO smart and SO creative. I miss teaching them sometimes. What a great project.


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