Monday, March 13, 2017

3676 Three Mile Drive

Every day at 9:30 in the morning my students and I partake in sacred writing time. This is a time where we just write. There is no judgement, no grading. Just thoughts on paper. Many times sacred writing time is two-fold. There are mini-lessons, mentor texts, conversations. I might be teaching a skill needed later or trying to fine tune one that is rusty. My students know the rules when it is time to write. You write the whole time. That's it. No asking if you can do this or that. Just write.

I decided to give my students the same challenge I was given. Try to experiment. Write a poem, make a list. Because I have fifth graders, I went the poem route. We used a few poems as our mentor text, and I quickly realized this was an unfamiliar genre to my students. I had a sudden change of plans. I pulled out all the poetry books I had, and we immersed. We read and wrote down what we noticed. We then created an anchor chart about what stood out to us.

After that, we did something called a remix. The students found a piece of writing from their notebooks they liked and using the sandbox section of their book, they needed to turn that piece of writing into a poem. Anyway they wanted. This was difficult for many because they so badly wanted rules. I just wanted to see what they could do. And of course, as they wrote, I wrote. Here is my poem:

3676 Three Mile Drive

I was young. 
Two or three. 
And it was there.
Calling my name.
Large and round.
On the counter. 
Close to the edge. 

I was young. 
Two or three.
My little hands.
Were curious.
So I reached.
Using my tippy toes.
And grasped the handle.

I was young.
Two or three.
It came falling.
In slow motion.
Down on me.
From head to toe.
Covered, in sticky orange juice. 

And here is one from one of my students that gave all of us goose bumps:


  1. Elana,
    What a powerful decision to use poetry. That student poem gave me goosebumps because that student knew how to use line breaks effectively!
    Thanks for sharing!

  2. What a rise to the challenge!! Kudos to all! I think poetry is so difficult. Thanks for sharing and for being brave!