The View from the Classroom Window

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Book Project 2012: how not to do it example and other helpfulness

This moment at the beach--trying to get my kids to engage their senses and use their words--is silver,
The color of a dagger as it is thrust slowly into my right temple.
It feels like torture.
Like the whole expanse of God's grand creation laid before stubbornly unheeding minds.
It sounds like children silent, while I wait.
It smells like tears, gathering behind my tired eyes.
This precious moment with my children in nature makes me feel like
Going home and eating chocolate instead.

; )

Ok, thought you might like one last example that came to me yesterday, while my darlings and I were romping through nature, holding hands and soaking in all the amazing beauty of nature with all our senses. 

Or not.

Ok, really, I wanted you all to get a chuckle, and remember that this does not have to be an idealized project!  If your kids don't engage the way you want them to (even if, say, they absolutely love nature and are really creative and have LOTS of words and have already done this kind of poem twice before and can do it in their sleep) during the sensory immersion part of the poetry project, THAT'S OK.  Run with it. 

If you only have 30 minutes to write a poem and your baby is fussing and your kid can't come up with any better ways to describe the sky than "nice" and "blue"--FINE.  Run with it.

Even if your young poet uses "cool" three times in the poem, and trying to get her to come up with a different descriptive is like pulling teeth.  FINE  Run with it.

Even if your child gives up after the senses and says he is done and runs off to whack his brother with a pillow and you can't get him back and refocused to finish that last line. FINE.  It's done.

; )


--For that last line of the poem, where the poet should restate the subject--try having the child just describe where she is and what she is doing.  (See examples below)

--Sarah F. said her kids have been using the thesaurus and enjoying it, so if your kids are having a hard time finding the words they mean, that's a great way to take the pressure off of them to generate their own words.

--It is TOTALLY FINE to feed your kid ideas.  If she is really struggling with words, or with perfectionism, if you offer suggestion and she likes one of them, try to see if she can word it her own way, but if she just wants to write it the way you said it, FINE.  Part of the learning process is listening to other people's imagery and descriptive words and evaluating their effectiveness.  Your child is still learning!  It is still a fine way to approach this project!

Let me just make this clear--there is no wrong way to do this poem.

Does that make some of you feel better?

So, don't have high expectations, be creative and encouraging and try your best to arrange a good time for your child to be focused and undistracted during the sensory immersion/writing, BUT if your best laid plans go awry, it's FINE.  Don't let disappointment or frustration of diengaged kids, or tired little ones, or short amount of time, or whatever keep you from jumping in and trying!

I do feel differently about the overall book page, though.  So the things I do want to be more consistent and have higher quality control about:

1. kids having watercolor paper in the colors they need for the art project Friday
2. kids making artwork that uses the colors they saw during their immersion
3. the poems being printed/typed out.  No handwriting this time.
4. Don't forget to type the time, the date and the place too--it can be your poem's title, or a subheading, just make sure it is typed out on the page.

Can't wait to see you all on Friday!  Don't forget to RSVP!

I'll leave you with the poems my two younger girls came up with yesterday (after editing):

April 24, 2012.  3:00 p.m. at New Brighton State Beach.

by Bronwyn

This sunny day at the beach is tan and blue and white,
The colors of sparkling sea water, and wood and foam washed up on the sand.
It feels like hot sand in my toes,
And cool, smooth water on my toes.
It sounds like waves throwing water onto the shore.
It smells like salt.
It tastes like onion.
Sitting in the hot sand, reaching my fingers into it, makes me feel lovely,
Like making a sand angel.

April 24, 2012.  3:00 p.m. at New Brighton State Beach.

by Meredith

This sunny afternoon at the beach is light and airy,
And deep murky blue,
The colors of pure sky and gentle whales.
It feels warm and joyful.
It sounds like waves rolling and crashing.
It smells salty, with a slight scent of pollen.
It tastes like cool, clean and fresh air.
Visiting the waves and hugging the sand makes me feel happy.

See, my kids clearly had a much more fun time doing this project yesterday than I did! ; )  Take a deep breath, Momma, smile and relax.  The process is so much more important than the final outcome.  : )

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