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Summer SAVY 2018: Session 5, Day 4 – Poetic Play (Rising 3rd/4th)

Posted by on Thursday, July 19, 2018 in Grade 3, Grade 4, SAVY.

Happy Thursday in Poetic Play!

This morning, we discussed Found Poems: poems that take existing texts and refashion them, reorder them, and present them as poems. We talked about how Found Poems are the literary equivalent of visual collages, and where we might take text as inspiration in the world: newspaper articles, street signs, grafitti, speeches, letters, or even other poems, for example. Students were then given a selection of books: New Yorker magazines, Writers’ Chronicle magazines, cookbooks, picture books, vacation tour books, short poetry books by various authors, and science fiction novels, to name a few. They were invited to select one book, and fashion a found poem from text they discovered within the book! Found poems, after all, require a “re-vision” of sorts, and allow us/empower us to create something fresh out of what already exists. Students came up with FANTASTIC found poems, using text borrowed from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, “The Writers’ Chronicle,” and Aracelis Girmay’s “changing, changing,” to name a few. They are so excited to debut their poems tomorrow at the Open House to all!

Students were then introduced to the Open House structure and format for tomorrow. (A note, parents, that our Open House will take the form of a Poetry Reading, and we will begin a few minutes after 3:15pm in our classroom, Sutherland 5, tomorrow!) We used this as a jumping off point to talking about Revision in our work — the ways that Revision is incorporated within the Writing Process. Students learned the etymology behind Revision, which means, literally, to re-see. We discussed the differences between Editing (proofreading/grammar/spelling, etc) and Revision (reviewing/altering material for the bigger picture, looking at content-related material, trying to re-organize or shape for greater specificity, image, concrete details, five senses, etc.) Students also discussed what it means to give Constructive Criticism to one another, and how to maintain respectful and critical eyes on their peers’ works.

After this collaborative class discussion, we moved into Peer Revision. Students selected one poem that they felt they still had questions on (or were challenged by). They were assigned new peer readers to work with, and each pair of writers read one anothers’ poems, and filled out a Peer Review worksheet, that asked them to consider strengths, literary elements used, and questions/areas for improvement to bring to each poem. The goal of this Peer Review session was for students to gain an eye for reading and critically asking questions of one anothers’ work, as professional writers will practice during Writing Workshops. Students had the opportunity to apply their critical reading lenses to give honest, valid, respectful, and specific feedback, in order to push their classmates to write towards sharper directions.


The students had a quick ORA (Recreational Time) break outside, and then, it was back to the Revision board! Students clarified any questions with their peers, and we moved to the Computer Lab, where students began typing their poetry for the class anthology that will be distributed tomorrow. We spent time in the Computer Lab discussing standard font (for professional manuscripts), and editing on the page versus the screen. All students had the opportunity to type up 1-2 poems; most typed up more.

After lunch, students considered the Quote of the Day, by Maya Angelou: “What you’re supposed to do when you don’t like a thing is change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.” Students were asked to discuss this question within their small groups, and also answer the question: Can literature alone change the world, or must it be accompanied by action? Our class came to a conclusion that literature, generally speaking, CAN transform ourselves and the worlds around us, by changing individuals’ ideas, and prompting people to take action. We discussed books that transform us (a callback to our Quote of the Day on Monday), and thought about qualities that these books have in common: they catch your interest; they are moving, complex; they are oriented around conflicts that become resolved; and they allow us to empathize and connect with each other on a deeper, reflective level.

We transitioned into our Second Peer Revision, where students were assigned NEW partners and new poems, and encouraged to read carefully, offering constructive feedback and new insights to their partners on their creative works. As a class, we came together to discuss the Revision process, and specific reading and revision strategies that work well for us (reading out loud; highlighting; taking notes; reading multiple times in order to understand first for content, then for meaning).

Students then learned about Assonance, Alliteration, and Consonance, through the work of famed American poet Edgar Allen Poe. We read one stanza of the poem “The Raven,” discussed the meaning/story of the poem, and students worked in small teams to decipher examples of assonance, alliteration, and consonance. As a class, we talked about the effects of these literary devices in establishing tone in poems. Assonance can change the mood of the poem by increasing or decreasing energy, and alliteration/assonance can also make the reader pay more attention. Too much internal assonance and/or alliteration can make a work sound comical, or a little too much like a nursery rhyme.

Students had a chance to break and discuss the Order of the Open House Poetry Reading tomorrow.

We then closed the day with a free write using Sounds of Words, where students wrote about any topic (those that were stuck meditated on the classroom itself in their writing!), and used examples of consonance, assonance, and alliteration in their writing (one of each).

To engage students in dinnertime discussion tonight, consider asking your students how the sounds of individual words might communicate emotional content of a poem? What words can students invent on their own that might contribute to building mood or tone of a poem? Of a conversation?

We are SO excited for the Open House tomorrow, and can’t wait to share our week’s worth of words with you all!

See you tomorrow.



Learning About Edgar Allan Poe