Articles and Incorporation

Last week, I began my residency with the 4th graders. I had many of these students in 2nd grade, and it was interesting to see what a difference two years can make! I recognized lots of faces, and there was general discussion about what they remembered from our earlier classes. I reminded them we would be reading different poems than before—though not today—and writing based on all new prompts. Everyone was quite excited to start, so I distributed their poetry folders, and asked the students to get out blank sheets of paper.

For our kickoff classes, I reintroduced two key terms: line and stanza, talking a bit about how poetry looks and sounds different from prose. With that basic information in mind, I asked if anyone could tell me what an example of an article was in grammar? I wrote them on the board—A, AN, and THE—and asked how each was different? We decided than A was indefinite, or general, whereas THE was definite, or specific; and of course, you have to use AN when the next word begins with a vowel. At that point, I asked the students to pick one article and write it at the top of their papers.

Once they were done, they were instructed to switch with another student. I next asked what an adjective was—a word that describes a noun—and said they should write an adjective next to the article on their paper, switching their papers again with a different student than before. Finally, I asked them to write a noun—person, place, or thing—after the adjective on their sheet, explaining that this was the title of their poem.

Once they had their titles, I said it was time to start their poems, reminding them to think about line and stanza breaks as they wrote. As usual, Skinner West’s students created altogether unpredictable and amazing poems! Here are some examples from each class. It’s great to be back!

Mrs. Brown, 4th Grade

The Disgusting Apple
Lana D.

couldn’t get worse look my lunch it’s
ruined. Now look at that bread it’s disgusting.
What a disgrace. This place is a mess. Now
let me have my breakfast. Just an
apple. I would rather die OK fine!
Yuck! It’s gooey it’s bruised. Oh wait,
it’s a tomato. And what is that? It’s pink. Oh
I see a worm. Yuck!

The Bright World
Sofia F.

Dad is a pencil,
mom is a highlighter,
Dad drew the world,
mom made it brighter!

A Creepy Fan
Sarah L.

When I go down to the
creepy basement it’s dark
scary. Every time I go down

there is a creepy noise.

It’s like me scratching my nails
on a piece of paper.

Don’t tell my mom she
hates when I do that

I go down to see what the
noise is with my dog and

I check everywhere

But I just saw it


an old fan

The Angry Penguin
Caitlin N.

Angry penguins
why should they be?
Just like bumble bees buzzing angrily

Collecting fish
for all their children
by day and night
fish brew in cauldrons

The Cool Spider
Elliott S.

There was a spider
black glasses like the FBI

better than all the
other ones. He bullied
he looked and soon he had no

he apologized
and everybody


The Weird Turtle
Anaya S.

The turtle
it was pink and

Night and
it hopped away

The Fast Taco
Samantha W.

The fast taco loves to be slow. The fast taco was as
slow as a slow

The fast taco was made fast, delivered slow.
Why do they have a 1 star rating?
Because the fast taco is slow.

Mrs. Johnson, 4th Grade

The Empty Box
Sydney B.

The empty box.
It’s a void.
Except that every memory that is held inside
is something.
All the toys.
All the papers.
This box has a story.
Indeed a good story to tell.
The day the man got the box, he
Then he picked up his marker and
got lost in his own imagination.
One day he went to space.
The other day he was riding on
a truck and saw a tiger
behind him.
Each memory will never fade

A Blue Koala
Kenley C.

Blue koalas are very fascinating.
They’re the best found species of all.
If I had a blue koala I would hang
it on my wall.

I would show it to people and
make them run in fright.

And then I would laugh until I
started to cry.

The Angry Snow
Amaj D.

Snow can be cold, and fun, but also dangerous, and angry.
Turns to big, tall as a house. Trying to catch you! Like
a cat and mouse. Run, run, run, and as fast as you can.
It’s coming for you! The sharp-ice snow man.

The Pink Fish
Advik D.

went to the road, he was
a very lonely fish,

he saw a drain he rolled in it,
and then that was the end of him

The Snow Angel
Sophia K.

Looks down, sees.
Sees snow.
Starts to float.
She hits her head
on a cloud.
She sits down
she sees people
playing with the
thing she made.
Her frown becomes
long lost,
the people’s frowns
become long
And that’s all
because of the
thing she made.
She made something
cold like ice, she made something white like
She made
But she
sadly found her frown. A kid got
frost bite and she started to
yell. Yell and shout. Days went by
and she started to melt. It had become
spring and she slowly faded,

The Wavy Wind
Kali L.

the wind
blows making spirals through my hair
watching the rain drizzle down the creek,
as I lay
a womb
bleeding as I thought for eternity
no sound to be heard
my feelings
seems as it’s gone
I take a breath as the night yells
one gone more to go
more and more sad
eyes closed
as I feel the breeze and my worries wipe away
I’m not sad anymore
as she fades
into the wind…

The Red Line
Aiden S.

it is the only line
the line
the line weaves
and writes a poem
many lines
many lines
many lines create
a sentence but
they are
mere drawings
to us
128 lines
128 lines

Mrs. Rupp, 4th Grade

The Crazy Lamborghini
Allison C.

Into a tree
everyone’s OK
but the


It’s crazy now
10 more accidents, 10 more trees
everyone’s OK
but the Lamborghini


Plan B
to the mechanic’s
poked and prodded
refilled and replaced

until the Lamborghini
can no longer race

(they had to destroy it)

The Big Sun
Asher L.

The big sun is hot.
The sun is more hot than usual
if only I could sleep on a cold cot.
The sun was bigger.
Throughout the day it kept getting more and more hot.

Then, a UFO came, hid the sun
it was mid-day, so hot.
Everyone cheered as the UFO left.
He kept a few asteroids on the sun.
It was nice and got a huge party outside,
in the midst of nowhere.

The Optimistic Burger
Frances M.

Once there was a burger
who was very optimistic
he had a foe who was
asparagus that was sadistic.

One day the asparagus
went into a bar
and he got drunk
then he left and smashed
a car.

Meanwhile, the burger
was at the department store
the smash sounded like fireworks
and the burger went to explore.
He went to the train track.
He was just in time to spy the lights of the train
and now the burger
has never been seen again.

What of the asparagus?
Well, nobody knows.
Now get out of here
before I break your toes.

The Hot Hand
Imade O.

One year I went to camp.
My hand got
really, really
hot. When
I went and touched my
face and I
my face it
was so
hot and hard

The Small Acorn
Winston P.

Inside the park,
I saw a squirrel
holding the small acorn
a legendary acorn.
The squirrel raced down
the stairs with it.
I tried to catch it,
but it ate it.

Now I cried and cried until an
acorn landed on my head.
Then again. Then I noticed
that was a small acorn
tree. There were a whole bunch
of small acorns.
Now I’m rich!!

But at the end,
I ate them.
So my
sold me instead.

The Green Lights
Nyah T.

Once I saw the lights
I was in a trance
It was different than any others

A vomiting green
by the lights
Like a car to a bike
Don’t look
Or you’ll get hooked
People stand there
Just to stare
But once turned off
You walk away

And now it’s just
a normal day
Finally, people walk away

Mr. O’Brien, 4th Grade

The Happy Dog
Eliana C.

There was a dog.
The dog was happy.
Do you know why the dog was happy?
He just had his treat.

A Shiny Pancake
Azyriah D.

I put too much butter and syrup
on my pancake
now it’s soggy
it’s not yummy anymore
I will throw it into the sun.

The Big Boy
Golden E.

He walks down the street.
The big boy.
King of the kids.
The big boy.
Respect him.
For he is the big boy.

Fear him.
Respect him.
Be nice to him.
Because he is the big boy.

The big boy’s strong.
The big boy is fearless.
The big boy is big.
The big boy is tall.
His parents fear him.
Because he is the big boy.

A Fluffy Owl
Tvesha H.

Do you want to know about a fluffy owl?
Well, let me describe it for you.
He is fluffy as possible
and you can see him in day or night.
He loves his squeaky toy
who is another owl who is fluffy too.
He knows when a TV or anything is
showing the TV show
If he comes to your house to watch
don’t be mean to him
give him some food if he wants some
let him watch

An Ugly Car
Ky’Riah H.

One day I saw an ugly
car it was so so dirty.
It had booboo on it.
It had a dead bird on it.
It had a skunk and a stinking
He had a dirty car it
never got washed.

An Agile Duck
Max K.

He won 89 Olympics.
His name was 89.
He was 89” tall and 89 pounds.
He had 89 dollars. He had 89 houses each
with 89 rooms. He also had 89 jobs paying
89 dollars. He had 89 pets 89 siblings. He
had 89 feet 89 bodies 89 pieces of hair.
He was 89 times faster than a normal

An Annoying Pencil
Leila T.

On TV and ad came up saying
“get free school stuff and get a
walking annoying pencil that
screams in your face get one today”

An Orange Train
Kinzie T.

You watch as an
orange train zooms
past your room.

The whistle shriek
would make you scream
and jump out your
window door.

As you grow
old you can control
so you move and move
as you can control
you scream and



“Writing poetry makes me feel like I can see myself, like I can see my reflection, but not in a mirror, in the world. I write and I know I can be reflected.”
-Oscar S.

“Writing poetry makes me feel free.”
-Buenda D.

“Writing poetry is like your best friend.”
-Jessica M.