Yesterday we talked about Wallace Stevens' poem, "13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird." First, we wrote a poem together called "15 Ways to Look at the Window in our Classroom." The ideas just wouldn't stop coming. The kids were on fire, and soon we had filled up the board with ways to look at this giant rectangular window that looks out onto the courtyard and a golden sycamore trees.
I think this lesson was pivotal in helping the kids with abstract thinking just as last year's lesson from Boudou Fontana, a character in John Dufresne's novel, "Deep in the Shade of Paradise," helped the children give life to colors and numbers.
I told the children they could write their looking poem about anything -- an object, a place, a person. They wrote about Ohio, pencils, a county fair ride, friends, animals. I love their individual twists on the poems -- how second grader Ashlynn wrote "Ways to Make a Valley," and fourth grader Hailey wrote, "3 Ways to use a Pencil." They enjoyed the topic so much that afterwards they came up with more ideas, and requested we write another round of these looking poems again.
Ways to Make a Valley
Nice and breezy
Cool and pretty
Lumpy and curvy
Green and purple
Peace and quiet
All about Reading
Clear and cut
I love the way it looks
And that's the beauty of it
Looking at Someone
I see brown beautiful eyes
I see his black and white skin
I see his smooth black hair
I see him talking to his friends
I see him rapping about school
I see him getting into trouble on the playground
Da' Miah, 4th
Ways to Look at Ohio
I see Ohio big and white. Huge
I see a huge valley surrounding.
I see huge piles of white snow.
I see Ohio's big countries.
I see Ohio's best band play and they're called Green Day.
Three Ways to Use a Pencil
You can use it in cursive, like a cat scrating the paper.
You can use it just at home in your bedroom
You can use it to stop a dog with muddy paws.
Hailey M, 4th
5 Ways of Looking at a Fair Ride
A fair ride is fun
A fair ride is high
A fair ride is fast
A fair ride is high up in the sky
A fair ride is high up in the sky and it is high up above
10 Ways of Looking at a Pencil
- It's like a stick person.
- It's my writing machine.
- It's like it's telling my hand what to write.
- It's like a tree from a far distance.
- It's a yellow blur very close
- It's like a yellow slow down sign.
- It's like Big Bird on Sesame Street
- It's like a tall glass of lemonade
- It's like a flock of birds flying on paper.
- It's like the bright sun.
15 Ways to Look at a Window
- It's like a swimming pool of water.
- It's like an ice cube.
- It's like an ice rink at my feet. I'm skating.
- It's like a see-through clock.
- It's like an aqua veil surrounding us.
- It's like a mirror reflecting us.
- It's like a cellphone screen.
- It's like a white cloth.
- It's clear as a diamond.
- It's like Hailey's glasses.
- It's like the binder rings.
- It's like a tall glass of water.
- It's like a picture on my living room at home, of trees and sky.
- It's like a blue glass chair.
- It's like the door knob's silvery sheen.
Collaborative, 4th and 5th