Hands on Stanzas

Hands on Stanzas Blogs
 
Welcome to the Hands on Stanzas Blogs. Each week our teachers post their students' work in progress and you can follow along by clicking on the individual school blogs listed below.

To read a school’s blog just click on the school name below, or scroll down to see the 10 most recent posts from all schools.


McPherson
Moos
Skinner West
Taft
TEAM Englewood

 
Larry Dean's picture
Ears to You
Submitted by Larry Dean on April 24, 2013 - 5:48pm.
Skinner West
Last week, we read George Bradley's "The Sound of the Sun," a short but complicated poem. Bradley uses some pretty big words for 2nd graders in certain spots, but nothing that overwhelmed these eager students. I asked if the sun made a sound, and we looked in depth at what is being described in the poem. I then asked what consonant sound was heard most often? Once we established that it includes a lot of the letter S, I asked if any lines didn't have any S sounds? Discovering that every line incorporates this sound, I explained what alliteration and sibilance were; as for the latter I asked what was the effect of so many S sounds, and why might Bradley have chosen to use it so liberally in this poem?
Larry Dean's picture
Picture This
Submitted by Larry Dean on April 17, 2013 - 5:19pm.
Skinner West
Last week was our tenth session at Skinner, so we're halfway through with the residency. To commemorate the occasion, I brought in some examples of work by the iconoclastic author, Kenneth Patchen.

Patchen was an American-born writer who pioneered the reading of poems to musical accompaniment, and wrote experimental plays and fiction as well as more traditional poetry for the printed page. But he is arguably best known for his picture poems, which combine words and images (in black & white and color) to create a hybrid art form.

We talked about the figures in the poems, and what they might represent. I asked if students would consider Patchen's drawing style to be clean and orderly, or messy and cartoonish, and what the effect of his style on the meaning of the words might be? We also wondered which came first -- the poem or the picture? Either choice made for some interesting discussion regarding inspiration.
Larry Dean's picture
Walk This Way...
Submitted by Larry Dean on April 9, 2013 - 4:36pm.
Skinner West
Last week at Skinner, we discussed the longest poem we've read so far, Elizabeth Bishop's "The End of March." Bishop talks about a long walk on the beach in Massachusetts accompanied by two friends on a cold and windy day. The poem is full of details, focusing on her destination, a "proto-dream-house," which sounds like a ramshackle fixer-upper right on the waterline. But Bishop never gets there, and she and her friends finally turn back, their cheeks freezing as the cold wind hits the opposite sides of their faces.

The students laughed a lot at the poem, recognizing Bishop's sense of humor as she constantly questions herself and wonders about the various things seen along the beach -- white string that might have been attached to a kite that blew away, geese flying overhead, stray stones and big dog paw-prints in the wet sand. Ready to write themselves, I asked the 2nd graders to describe talking a walk somewhere, real or imagined. This is how it went...
Larry Dean's picture
Spring Has Sprung!
Submitted by Larry Dean on April 4, 2013 - 9:28am.
Skinner West
Before the CPS spring break, and just in time to celebrate the vernal equinox, we read Claude McKay's "Spring in New Hampshire." The main issues we discussed about the poem were who was speaking and what were they doing? Students detected some sadness or disappointment in the speaker's voice, especially when he admits to being "wearied, exhausted, dully sleeping" because of having to work, and despite images of spring that are so buoyant and bright. We also talked about McKay's color choices (green, blue, silver, gold) and why he might have made them. Interestingly, many Skinner students thought that "golden hours" didn't simply refer to the time of day when sunshine floods through the windows, but to golden as precious, and time that is fleeting but important. Very deep thinking indeed! We also discussed personification and rhyme in this short but powerful poem.

For writing, students were asked to reflect on and create their own spring poems. Check 'em out!
Larry Dean's picture
Time for Poetry, Poetry for Time
Submitted by Larry Dean on March 20, 2013 - 11:54am.
Skinner West
Last week at Skinner, we read "Theories of Time and Space" by current Poet Laureate, Natasha Trethewey. The poem, structured in a series of free verse couplets, describes the speaker going on a trip of some sort in Mississippi. We discussed imagery in the poem, and I asked how time is conveyed, along with what the title might mean? Since Trethewey says, in the second line, "there's no going home," I asked where that might be, and if home is a set place or can it be something else entirely, such as in our minds or hearts?

Finally getting down to writing, students focused on the lines describing a "tome of memory" with "its random blank pages," and I asked them to write a poem about a strong memory. Here are a few for your enjoyment.

Ms. Ellis
Room 221
Larry Dean's picture
Acquainted with the Sonnet
Submitted by Larry Dean on March 12, 2013 - 5:35pm.
Skinner West
Last time at Skinner, we looked at another poetic form, the sonnet. After a general description of what a sonnet is, we read Robert Frost's "Acquainted with the Night." Students noticed the poem's unusual repetitive rhyme scheme, and I asked if it fit our definition of a sonnet? I also asked why the poem began and ended with the same line -- what was its effect, and why might Frost have written it that way? We also examined the mood of the speaker and the poem's setting.
Larry Dean's picture
Give Me Poetry
Submitted by Larry Dean on February 21, 2013 - 7:00pm.
Skinner West
Last time, I wrote about finding inspiration while researching poetry ideas based around holidays. read more »
 
Larry Dean's picture
True Love Always
Submitted by Larry Dean on February 19, 2013 - 2:54pm.
Skinner West
When I sit down to create syllabi and lesson plans for my residencies, one of the elements I plug in to begin are holidays. I may not ultimately use them as part of a poetry idea, but it's one more thing to consider, and in cases where I am stuck, or looking for inspiration, a holiday that falls on or near the day of a residency might just point me in a heretofore unconsidered direction.
Larry Dean's picture
Hi, Ku!
Submitted by Larry Dean on February 13, 2013 - 7:26pm.
Skinner West
Last week at Skinner, we read selected haiku by Kobayashi Issa, as translated by American poet Robert Hass. In his lifetime, Issa wrote over 20,000 haiku, and though his works were popular, he never made much money from them. Haiku is an unrhymed Japanese poetic form cocnsiting of 17 syllables arranged in three lines of 5-7-5 syllables. read more »
 
Larry Dean's picture
Contents of "Table"
Submitted by Larry Dean on February 1, 2013 - 7:19pm.
Skinner West
After a rousing (and busy!) first week, we were a bit more focused for our second class at Skinner. read more »