Golden Shovels @ Shoesmith 5th & 6th Grade

For their seventeenth virtual lesson, Shoesmith 5th and 6th grade students dug up new poetry using golden shovels. A Golden Shovel is a poetic form that takes a word from each line of an existing poem and uses them as the last word of each line in a new poem. This poetic form was created by poet Terrance Hayes who wrote a poem using lines from Gwendolyn Brooks’ poem “We Real Cool,” which was about pools players who played at a pool hall called “The Gold Shovel.” Gwendolyn Brooks is a highly celebrated black poet who grew up in Chicago. 

Together students read my own poem “Rainy Day Practice,” where I used a few lines Brooks’ poem “We Real Cool.” Instead of writing about pool players, I chose to tell a story about a group of soccer players who had to end practice early due to a thunderstorm. Huddled under the tree branches we/ hope lightning doesn’t strike/The electricity in the air makes our hair stand up straight. 

Inspired by my poem, students chose lines from Gwendolyn Brooks’ popular poems and created their own Golden Shovel poems. Please enjoy this week’s published poems.




Ms. Yassky’s 5th Grade
Group 2


Fight Crew
Heaven H.

First we strike
We look ahead straight 
Our line was straight as a string
My friends think they can sing
There voices are a sin


By Kaylee H.

How do you do?
How are you?
Have you ever?
Where will you look?
Will you jump in?
Where are you looking?
Are we standing in glass?


Digging for Gold
By Ophelia H.S.

We are the seven
And we are always at
A place that is called “The
Cool Pool” But today we are golden
Looking for gold with a broken shovel




Ms. Henry’s 6th Grade
Group 1



The Intentions Of The Crooked and Silent
By: Lailah B.

I can’t bare the silence, the
Never-ending truth of obnoxious loudness…
The told me ”Follow the straight-forward path”, well in
My life, “I allow crooked lines” and “I allow the
Destruction and fear”, as that’s all I hear in this open road


The Kid That You Were
By Heitor C.

A child that you know
worrying what you wear
I have me you stare by down there
up nowhere it seems we
both work at night late
at night when everybody sleeps tight we
come out and strike


Like the wind
By Kayla W.

I can’t help but take in the aroma of the wind and
Take some time to relax sometimes
Staring up at the night sky that glitters when
Everything around me collapses, the

Fresh scent of the energizing wind
I can’t help but wonder if life really is
As easy as they make it out to be. It’s very, very rough.



Ms. Henry’s 6th Grade
Group 2



It’s My Birthday – I’m Growing Older
By Yoshua G.

So on my big day I’ll
get ready to watch
my number twelve candle as it
goes out – and now I grow


The Truth 
By Eniya H.L.

I am out of the dark
felt like I was in the cave
I was so afraid after
I had the feeling of quietness it felt like midnight
all this time I’m now unafraid


I Will Miss You, Yoku Yasumu, Friend
By Logan M.

Evening has passed… Moon arises, it
Gives way to the winter of rest, were everyone eternally hushes






(Students used lines from Gwendolyn Brooks’ poems: “Tommy,” “Cynthia In The Snow,” “We Real Cool,” “Keziah,” “Robert Who Is Often A Stranger To Himself,” and “Bronzeville Man With The Belt In The Back.” )



“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.