School Visits

I recently had the opportunity to visit a local school and talk about writing. Recruiting three students, I placed them in front with the tallest in the center, her arms outstretched to the other two.

photo (6)I introduced the volunteers as STORY, on one side, and SONG on the other. In the middle, I explained, was the bridge: POETRY. There’s narrative poetry that tells a story, like Addie and Ollie. And there’s musical poetry we call songs. Even fictional stories or lyrics of musical ballads that don’t rhyme are made richer by poetic devices.

We talked about various forms of poetry, including those for which I had made up examples about their teacher, Ms. Jessica Ward:

ACROSTIC (no rhyming rules)




Definitely the best teacher I’ve ever had!


CINQUAIN (sin-cane)

Miss Ward.
Smiling and sweet.
She reads the best stories.
Her questions help us think fast on
our feet.

LIMERICK (AABBA) – anapaestic rhythm (two unstressed, one stressed: da da DUM da da DUM da da DUM da da DUM)

There ONCE was a TEACHer named WARD

Whose STUDents could NEVer be BORED;

From MORNing to NIGHT

They’d READ and they’d WRITE,

Then PRAY while their PAPers were SCORED.


To demonstrate how fun it is to fit words together in a poem like a puzzle, I also helped the kids write a poem on the fly. Since we composed it out loud as a group, I didn’t actually write it down until now, but this was the gist of it:

I woke up this morning, the sun in the sky

But a shadow cast over my soul.

Mom asked me the cause, so I told her just why:

Wet Frosted Flakes drowned in my bowl.

We switched lines 2 and 4 to end with the more common word for more natural rhyme and add the twist. Chanting our “da da DUM da da DUM” pattern to help us rework thoughts into lines ending with our rhyme, we filled in our ABAB rhyme and 4-3-4-3 accent pattern.

After our talk, the kids shared with me some different poems they had written. I loved seeing not only their work but also their excitement in sharing it. So I offered to post here all brand-new writings from whomever wanted to write and send it by the next week.

CLICK HERE to see the children’s fun poems and stories. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I have. I want to thank and commend all of them for their enthusiastic attention that day and their subsequent hard work to create something new. Finally, congratulations to second grader Joseph for being randomly selected to receive a signed copy of Addie and Ollie.