How 5th graders see the world

One thing that keeps my passion for teaching alive is the unique way in which children see the world. My 5th graders are often too cool for many things, including school, but when they are engaged and interested in something, classroom life changes, it actually comes alive.  This year’s poetry unit brought out beautiful observations about the world. In conjunction with poetry in language arts, we’ve been studying the United Nations’s 30 human rights. Students at this age begin to develop heightened senses of justice and fairness, and isn’t poetry just the perfect medium to express those feelings?

So for my first non-introductory blog post, I’ve decided to share some of the poetry my students turned in as part of their poetry project. I’ve spent the better part of this afternoon reading 36 poetry projects, so the fact the that I’m willing to spend this much more time retyping these poems for you can only assure you how much I love these pieces. The first bunch are just amazing, when you think about 10 and 11 year olds thinking like this.  The last two are awesome, but using a whole different set of criteria, so please make it to the end!

Baby Steps

One step to a better world

Two steps and your path will unfold

Three steps you’ve done your time

Four steps you’ve used your mind

Five steps you know your rights

Six steps you can find the light

 

World War 3

A cause of death,

In many cases,

A human’s last breath

Their souls reap

hence the phrase

Look before you leap

A world war 3

Many will perish

And this is why

peace

we must cherish

 

I Feel

I feel like this

I feel like that

I like nobody understands what I say

I don’t feel loved

I don’t feel safe

I feel really pale in the face

We all feel different hings

We all feel the same thing

 

Poetry

Let it lay against your shoulder, and sing you to sleep

Let it find its way into your head and inspire you

Let it leave you stunned, surprised, and shocked

Let it leave an impression on you about how you think about the world

Let it carry you off to new places and adventures

 

War

He falls to the cold ground clutching his side,

Patriotic blood flows from his wound

Forever written on a wall

He fought for his country and now he

F

A

L

L

S

 

Pleasure from Pain

He falls so she can rise

She betrays so he can get away

He dies so she can live

She wins because he falls

War. . .

 

Why

Why does the songbird sing

When the flowers do not

Why does the sun warm the Earth

While the moon shakes the tides

Why do some people starve,

While others have a feast

Why are some left in shame

While others are deemed with gold

Why do some shed tears of sadness

While others toast their victory

Why do some face the jaws of death

While others are full of life

Why do some know what is what

While I do not

 

Monks

A stream of red,

in a valley of grey

a single ray of sunshine

on a cold rainy day

And a symbol of hope

the monks have come to pray

 

Where’s The Proof?

You say you can walk the walk

But can you talk the talk

You say you are better than me

But I don’t see any trophies

You say you know Beyoncé

But where are the autographed CDS

You say you went to the same concert as me

But you are just a big phony

You say you have a pony

But I have 20

You try to bully me

But you could never beat me

So until then you are still not better than me

 

I Feel

You dumped and stole my money

but I feel nothing

I’m kicked in the gut with a broken arm

but I feel nothing

You blindfolded me and then hit me

but I feel nothing

You backstabbed me and killed my family

I feel something

Now it’s my turn

and I want you to remember

I am your rain cloud

on a stormy day

 

Water in Beauty

I’m water

I’m ugly and clear

I’m unflavored and lonely

And I’m worth for sold for no money

I’m water

I should be free

People dump me

But when people drank me

They saw my beauty

 

Slavery

Slavery is not an option

for millions of people on Earth

Who cry and wish

they weren’t in this tragic mess

They yell, “Hallelujah”

“Mercy be upon us!”

but the badness still works

as the commander yells, “Get back to work!”

 

Death

Death is a friend I don’t want to meet

Death is a dream I never had

Death is the ugliest thing I can think of

Death makes me cry

With bitter tears of sadness

Death will haunt me until the end

I’ll just live my life as long as I can

Death spare my life if you can

 

Bad Love

I got dumped by husband

On my first anniversary

We were swimming

When he said,

“Honey, I don’t love you anymore.”

“There is someone else”

 

The Girl of your Life

If you like the girl, go talk to her

Talk about nature

Talk about school

Talk about yourself

Talk about the universe

Talk about the eight planets

You ask her about stuff too

As her about herself

Ask her how she is doing

Talk about or ask about anything you would enjoy asking or talking to her about

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Putting it out there

I’ve been a reader for a long, long time. I read whatever I can get my hands on, and generally, have no shame about what that might be. I also write, though fairly secretively. As a child, I aspired to be an author. I won awards and was often praised for my writing.  When writing became a chore and an assignment, I left it behind.  I still read, but I never wrote.

Then I became a teacher. Teachers have to write. We write in front of kids, with kids, next to kids, with kids in our thoughts. We write to model writing and develop passion in youngsters. And so, the writing flame began to burn again.  Recently I took part in the Heart of Texas Writing Project at the University of Texas with Randy Bomer. The flame became an inferno. I not only reignited my love of teaching writing, but I also began to write for myself again.

Since last summer I’ve been making time to write everyday, sometimes at night, sometimes in the movie theater before the darkness falls, sometimes at the creek while my dogs are running off-leash and I should be supervising, sometimes while my 4th and 5th grade students are writing, sometimes while my husband is watching baseball, sometimes while I’m sitting near my vegetable garden and dreaming of organic tomatoes. The point is, I’ve been fitting it in.  The more I write, the more I want to write. I was struck by a creative muse and I feel inspired constantly.

My goal with this blog is to post what I’ve been working on. I won’t put full chapters out there, but I’ll post snippets. I’d love comments, critique, feedback, love, and suggestions.  I’d also like to review books and articles and other things that strike a chord.

So, thanks in advance for your help! Building a community around writing can only lead to great things!