Counting on You

For our second week, we read and discussed Peter Schmitt’s “Friends with Numbers.” Continuing from the last session’s introduction of line and stanza to the conversation, I added personification, simile, and imagery as elements we would be paying particular attention to. I also broached the concept of the speaker of a poem being separate from its poet—or at least that we should never assume they’re one and the same—then explained that Schmitt’s poem begins with an epigraph, a short quote that’s connected in some way to its theme. Last week I numbered the lines to demonstrate the concept for students, but with this week’s poem they were asked to count them independently, since that will help us navigate it (and future poems) during discussions. Before hearing the poem read aloud, students weighed in on the cliché that math and writing don’t mix, finding instead more ways than not in which they meaningfully intersect.

Our discussion focused mainly on how Schmitt personifies numbers. We determined that he focuses on one through nine because single digits are easier to visualize than larger ones; also, such a limited range helps keep the poem and its ideas concise. For example, the poem says that 4 “flutters / gamely in the breeze like a flag,” and the comparison is made even more vivid by the verb flutters, which makes the image clearer than that of a flag on a day without wind, when it would just hang loose rather than extend outward; and when the poem calls 2 “swanlike,” students were able to visualize the beak and neck of the swan as well as its body or even more evocatively, the trail it leaves in its wake as it swims though water.

After brainstorming, this week’s prompt was to write a “number” poem. Check ’em out!

Mrs. Rosenzweig, 4th Grade

My Friends as Numbers
By Gabrielle B.

Listing my friends as numbers is nice
I can always add a little bit of spice
First of all my friend Siena is number 7
To me that number is lucky
Like a little ducky
Siena always is lucky to me
And she always seems to be free
Number 2 to is my friend Mari
I think 2 is the most graceful of all numbers
And certainly loves cucumbers
Mari is a ballerina
As always graceful as can be
She my best friend
Lovely and happy
Also never snappy
Number 3 loves to make everyone happy
Her name is Gayatri
She loves to make jokes
That are never mean
The queen of art
I am not sure if she likes to go shopping
In a shopping cart
Well those are just some of the friendliest friends I have met
But I bet there will be more to come.

By Izzy D.

I know most of the numbers
They’re all quirky and cool
Some love to read
some hang out in the pool
I’ll tell about my fav’rites now
These include 3 and 9
They love to do things I like
such walking through the pine (forest)

I wouldn’t want to be unfair
and pick certain numbers I like,
but some just annoy me
by saying something boring I do is hike

Now onto the numbers
3, 9, 5, 42
These are just a few numbers
for I love many multiples of 2

The odds are also quite nice.
3 loves to play online with her multiples
I enjoy that too
35, 69, 12 and 4
To say I dislike many numbers is really just untrue

Double Digit Friends
By Alex H.

Double digits are fun too.
10 is a shield and a sword,
It can defend you from any horde.
11 is a tipping domino,
It is columns, not rows.
12 is arguing with itself,
1 says he’s better but 2 says he can pelt.
13 is a B,
Better not get sting-y.
14 is ready to give itself a hand.
1 and 4 both helped each other run.
Now 15 is also helping,
1 helped 5 roll around.

Numbers Are Not Really My Friends
By Vedika K.

Numbers are nice, unique I will say.
But they are not really my friends everyday.
Some days the numbers are great! They
help me get awesome grades. But some days they are not nice.
They turn my day upside down. Then I get really mad.
Those numbers are not so nice.

My Number 13
By Ethan M.

Oh my number 13.
Every time I see you
Good things happen
Oh number 13
You are my lucky number
Oh number 13
Other numbers might be complicated
But not you oh number 13

My Numbers
By Mari M.

10 is the hero, first the 1 and then the 0!
2 may be the best but
NOT to the rest.
1 is so straight it always
Makes me hate.

4 is always nice but it likes
3 reads about tea under
The tree
5 is always

Driving but not always rhyming.
6 is always sick and
Always has the hics

7 is friends with 11
They met in heaven.
8 likes to skate but he is a
Little overweight

Finally 9 9 is always online
But always shines.
These numbers may be
Silly but trust me

They are really all are nice

By Jayden M.

1 is a great number
It is cool
2 was a great person
And he does not get scared
3 is always used for clothes and toddlers age
4 is always shopping because he has a big bag
5 is great at soccer
6 is the most neatest
7 is 7 feet tall
9 is friends with 6
10 is a double and
is a very hungry caterpillar

Numbers are Frustrating, but 10 Is My Lucky Number, but Why?
By Evangeline W.

Numbers are Frustrating, but I have a lucky number. 10
Wonder why I hate numbers?
Because it makes me feel like a hen.
It’s boring, too! Whenever I count, I will eventually slumber.

I don’t know why 10 is my lucky number, but it is!
Maybe, because that’s my age?
Every month I have a math quiz
And during the quiz, I have a snack!

I finally got the answer on why 10 is my lucky number! YAY!
I will now use my pen
To write today
I finally understand why 10 is my lucky number. AMEN!

Tree Buds
By Isabella W.

Here come the new buds in the tree,
Awaken, stretching, there are one, two, three…
I picked seven buds my lucky number,
Wondering how lucky I could be.

Will I be pretty in twenty?
Will I be rich in thirty?
Hey, future I want to see.
Though I am not even a teen.

Born on June 30,
My favorite number is eighty.
Like a newly budding tree,
I am sprouting with inevitability.

Mrs. Johnson, 4th Grade

By Nandini B.

1 – Straight line down, and then we are done. That’s the way to make the one!
2 – Round the track and back, two, two, two!
3 – Around a tree, around a tree, that’s the way to make a three!
4 – Down and over and down some more, that’s the way we make a four!
5 – The bee goes down, around the hive, go back up to make a five!
6 – Make a C then in you go, now you’ve made a six you know!
7 – Across the sky, then slant the line, makes a seven every time!
8 – Make an S and do not wait, go back up to make an 8!
9 – First a circle, then a line, that’s the way to make a 9!
0 – Round and round just like an O. Look, now you’ve made a 0!

Only Numbers
By Yidan D.

Numbers can be the blame.
3 and 4 are an evil pair,
7 and 8 both give a lot.
9 feels like she’s the boss.
When 6 meets 4,
4 gives a small portion of him.
When 6 meets 7,
7 gives a large amount of share to 6.
10 and 10,
are a pair of peas in a pod.
2, we all think that
she is so kind we use her to divide.
Lonely 1, is always alone,
He never has anyone.

By Jayden E.

(a number) (something) short of a (something). $64,000 question/million-dollar question. A dime a dozen. A million miles away. A stitch in time saves nine. As easy as one-two-three. At sixes and sevens. At the eleventh hour. Bat a thousand. Behind the eight-ball.

Why 3 Is Half Scared Half Not
By Clark K.

3 is happy playing with his friends in the day but when night comes he is invited to a slumber party!!!
3 has never went to a slumber party 3 is scared
Good thing 3 has 8 to come with him
8 & 3 go to the party ***** Soon all the numbers are tired. It is bedtime.
# goes to bed and 8 is in the other room with 6, 7, 9 & 10
3 is too scared and 8 crawls into bed with him so 3 is not scared any more

(3 was really 8 and the 8 was 3!!! And the real 3 which was 8 was the one who came in right well real 3 which was 8 crawled in because he was the scared one!!!!!)

Number 2
By Tessa M.

I am 2 who are you?
Ohh you say?
What do you ask? OK well I am 2 and my favorite color is blue
I harness the the sun I have to say it is fun
I blow the winds and make waves in the sea for you and me
I make the mountains raise up high above the clouds
And you ask? Yes it is for you and me
I grow the trees and make the leaves green—don’t ask I know it is for you and me
Now after all that you ask what about me?
Well what about you? I do not know?
Now I say it again I am 2 who are you?
My last words “who are you?”

By Lauren S.

1 looks like an L for Lauren
2 is one curve away to grow up and be 3
3 needs a sideways V to become a heart
4 is like a slide
5 looks like a wheel on a car
6 and 9 switch places sometimes
7 pretends to be a 1
8 is a pair of glasses
10 is when you’re at the end

By Alec S.

The numbers 123 I wonder why,
They are used so often?
Is there something special
About them?
We count 123,
But can’t it be 1234?
1 is the first place.
Can’t 2 or 3 be first?
123 are like infinity.
They are used over
And over again.
Why is it 123?

Fun Numbers
By Yuvraj S.

Numbers, numbers everywhere, I can catch them when they stare,
Use them to add or subtract,
They will stay there to distract. Go on multiplying, they will shine,
Do some division, I’m sure you will whine.
I am smart, numbers don’t scare.
I love them everywhere.
They define houses and streets, Let’s go for a walk until we meet.
11 goes with me here and there,
As I was born in June somewhere. Let’s have fun with numbers all. Bring them together and have fun all!

Why Are They Called So Unlucky?
By Edmund W.

Well I guess the numbers are called unlucky because…
Because well honestly they are laws.
Silly old sayings that get to your head,
Well sometimes it can truly shed.
It might sound silly but truly, truly
But I heard it from my good friend Julie.
It does really feel odd,
But when you are on the squad,
You feel more like inside the team,
When you are down by the stream and having some steam.
So yes, sometimes the sayings are true,
But sometimes it comes from a silly old brew.
Thank You that you comprehend
For The End!

Mrs. Barnes, 4th Grade

By Ohlin A.

The book it is a very strange thing but have you ever noticed the numbers
They never are in order and you don’t seem to notice
But you never know 1 5 3 9 6 they are just numbers

Books never sleep so you don’t know it they will
Start reading you
Have you ever thought a book reading you at night
The book goes page to page 2 1 5 7 4 8 3 but it will get sad
And stop reading you when you go to sleep
You will be done with the book so it will never be read ever again

So you should always read a book more then once or else
It will read you

1 2 3 4 and More
By Surina B.

Numbers are OK
Numbers are not
The best thing ever
There really is nothing
That special about them
Do you get what I mean??
Words, words are something
Special. With words you can
Explain yourself and you
Can express yourself
With numbers you
Can’t do that
Others might feel
Different and that’s
OK but I am here to tell
You my feelings about 1 2
3 4 and more. Numbers are to
Count and words are to express
They are just different like that
And I am not saying there is
Anything wrong with them
I am stating my opinion
Maybe when I grow
Older I’ll probably
Appreciate them
More but right
Now I’m not
A fan of 1 2
3 4 and

Lucky and Sassy Numbers
By Olivia M.

9 is the best number
While 4 is sassy,
4´s sidekick is 8.
They have a group called SASSY GROUP
9´s sidekick is 3.
They also have a group called BETTER THAN 4 AND 8.
4 is a little more sassy than 8.
8 doesn’t really know if it will go vertically horizontally
But the infinity is taking over 8.

By Shai R.

Numbers can be weird
They are complicated as physics

Well they kind of are physics I think or a big part of it
But 1 is good because 1 is epic and everyone’s first birthday is at 1
And numbers are from school, and math place, and I guess the bank

By Liam S.

I really like numbers
You can make cool things with them
They’re fun to add
One is fun
Two is cool
Three is younger than me
Four opens doors
Five can’t divide
Six stacks like bricks
Seven is heaven
Eight is great
Nine is a good sign
Ten amen

My Life in Numbers
By Bethany S.

I wake up at 6:45 and that is
how my day starts. I try my
best to eat breakfast at 7:30.
I open my computer and put
in my password **** .
Then I go to school at 8:45.
I go to school and then I eat
my lunch at 11:30 to 12:30.
Then I go to school again at
12:30 right after lunch. After
class ends at 2:30 and sometimes
1:30 I go to do my independent
work. Then At 6:30 then I go to
eat my dinner. After dinner I do
my three chores but sometime
I don’t feel like it or I just want
to take a break. I go upstairs brush
my teeth for 2 minutes then wash
my self. After that I put on my PJs
and go to sleep at 9:00. And then it
starts all over again tomorrow.

By Kellan T.

Thirty minute breaks are my favorite during the day.
My mind is tired and it needs some rest.
Thirty is my favorite.
Thirty minutes of play.
Thirty of minutes of rest.
Thirty minutes eating.
It doesn’t matter to me it’s all the best.

By Annabelle Y.

When I think of numbers,
I often think of time.
When I think of numbers,
I think of my birthday.

When I think of time,
I think of holidays and celebrations.
When I think of time,
I think of good times we had
When I think of time,
I think of coral dying.
When I think of time,
I wish bad times didn’t happen.
Like when I had to say goodbye
To the friends I play with

To be in our houses all day
And to never go outside
Only to exercise a little bit,
And it has to end.
I spend my days in my house
Doing homework
And to never see my friends only once in a while
Or when my parents have to go somewhere and come

Mr. O’Brien, 4th Grade

By Athan C.

6 and 18 are running. 88 and 9 are swimming. 1 and 10 are doing jumping jacks. 20 and 11 are painting. 4 and 3 are dancing. 200 and 7 are playing games.

By Xavier G.

One two three four five six seven. . .
One is for them who chose the path of heroes.
Two is for them who know the magic of the forests
Three is for them who chose to play with fire
Four is for them who seek a path of evil.
Five is for the ones who have the instincts of a wolf.
Six is for the ones that live in the trees.
Seven is for the ones that tame beasts.

By Maddie O.

I think words are better than numbers cause when you use words you can be more descriptive but I do have some lucky numbers 18, 3, 10 so numbers aren’t so bad after all.

By Abi P.

A11 Th3se o66 cru31 Numb3rs
Are slowly taking my speech
Over RUN be372

The5e a73 t00 man9 N2mb3rs
1st W3



“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.