How Do You Do?

This week, I began my residency with the 4th graders. I had a majority of these students back when they were in 2nd grade, and it was amazing to see what a difference two years can make! I recognized many faces, and there was much reflection on what they remembered from our earlier classes together. However, I told them we would be reading different poems from before—though not today—and writing based on all new prompts. Everyone was very excited to start, so I distributed their poetry folders, and asked the students to prepare blank sheets of paper.

For our kickoff classes, I reintroduced three key terms to the students: title, line, and stanza. I said that sometimes you start a poem with its title already in mind, but perhaps more often you write first, and title the poem later, based on how it turns out. Next, I asked what a stanza was, then a line, and used the whiteboard in class to demonstrate each. With these basics in mind, whether you are a student who has studied poetry previously, or someone who is brand new to it, you can start writing immediately. All you need is a prompt, so I brought out my mysterious poetry box, which is filled with interesting and evocative phrases cut out of various magazines. Each student reached in and blindly drew one out, which was taped to the top of their papers; I told them this would be their poem’s title—all that was left was for them to write it!

Here are some examples from each class. It’s great to be back!

Mrs. Carlson, 4th Grade

Half and Half
Sean C.

A cookie
broke in half
one piece fell
off the table

One half clean
one half dirty
half and half

How to Play the Saw
Athena C.

I saw a man
playing the saw
scratch, cut
scratch, cut

He took a
hammer and nail
thump, thump
thump, thump

He built a table
and ate lunch
munch, munch
crunch, crunch

That’s how to
play the saw
scratch, cut
scratch, cut

Something Between Us
Gabrielle C.

You’re you.
I’m me.
We are from different worlds.

We will never be one
we will always be apart.

It is that something between us
I will never discard.

The thing between us is…

which we will always have.

Do I Get Involved?
Eloise G.

Do I get involved?
I read a book.
I paint a painting.
Ew, ugly.
I walk around.
I write a poem.

Do I get involved?
I don’t know…
You tell me.

Let Us Stay With You
Tiara H.

Let us stay with you
We will never leave again
It is way too hot or way too cold
When the madness begins

I want to stay away from danger
I don’t want to be hurt
Let us stay with you
When bad things summon upon this earth

There will be terrorists on planes
Flying faster than a bee
If I had someplace to call home
I would let you stay with me

The Breath Between
Brooklyn N.

As the air would rush through
the cries of the wind
would come
and be
the Breath Between

Air is cold
air is warm
either way it is
the Breath Between

If you want to be like a
bird and fly
feel the
Breath Between

If you want to feel like a
fish in the water
be gentle and come for air
feel it and swim with
Breath Between

Mrs. Rupp, 4th Grade

Somewhere Else
Xavier B.

I move to Canada
because Trump is president.

Rolling in the Aisles
Kennedy B.

Rolling in the aisles
Rolling, rolling, rolling

Keep on rolling
Never ever stopping, stopping, stopping

Rolling in the aisles
I am an apple in a grocery store
Passing everyone

Then I stop
Someone takes me and puts me in my box

Somebody walks up from off the street
Then takes me to eat

Rain or Shine
JunHui G.

Raining and shining
there are days when it rains,
and days
when the sun shines in our eyes.

When it’s raining,
what’s the fun?
Holding up an umbrella,
trying to block the rain,
but that wind
just keeps on blowing it.

Sunny days are better.
You can go outside and play,
but sometimes it’s just too bright.

At the Threshold
Audrey N.

At the threshold
I stand
as the wind blows

to go
out in the cold

I check the weather
it is 77°

Then why am I standing
in the building?

I do not know

But I do know that
I don’t
like the cold

Sing for Your Supper
Michaela W.

Every night I need to earn
I need to earn the right
to eat

I earn the right to eat
by singing
I sing about food

I need to sing for my supper
I hope my singing won’t go to waste
my supper will have a different taste
I need to sing for my supper

I Wasn’t Angry
Kaylie Y.

People think I was angry
but I never was.
They must’ve thought wrong,
so I seem angry.

I never was angry.
I don’t wanna be.
Cause I ain’t like that guy,
who rages all the time.

I never was angry.
I wanted to be alone.
Now can you stop
and get out of this room

now, see? I’m not angry
I was just annoyed
and wanted some food.
Look, I never was really angry.

Mrs. Travis, 4th Grade

The Choice Is Yours
Curtis B.

Choose one. The choice is yours.

A cat, a dog or a fish.

Choose one.

Woof woof meow meow
splash splash.

I chose dog!

This Is Who We Are
John K.

We are
great. We can
do anything.
We can win
We are great!

Yay! We will
win everything.
We are a team.

How to Drive Cattle
Charlotte M.

one day
the farmer ran out of food for the cattle
so he drove the cattle

the cattle got
mad and sad

the farmer could not drive the cattle

Stealing Beauty
Molly S.

I walked to school
thinking I was pretty
but at the second
I arrived

I froze like freezed
ice-cream on a stick
I saw the true

She was out of
her way pretty
she stole my beauty

my friends even liked
her I broke in

but the next day
I was suddenly
the pretty one I
stole her beauty.

A Cashless World
Katelyn T.

The world is dreadful,
the world is so kind,
those nasty little thieves,
those nice businessmen.

So many things to do,
so many things I have,
endless time,
like eternal life.

A Bag of Kisses
Maximo T.

Kisses. Why does Hershey call those
sweet chocolates kisses? Maybe because
they fill you with goodness and love. I would
cut my hand off for a bag of kisses and my
leg for a million. One day I will eat all
the kisses in the world.


Or is it actual kisses? You can’t put
kisses in a bag but you can make someone
feel good. They both have one thing in common,
they both make you be filled with goodness.

Mr. O’Brien, 4th Grade

The Two People
Valery B.

One day I saw two people
running in the park and
they were very happy.
And later they separated
because there was a brilliant stone
and they wanted the same rock.
But the day came that the two
people could not fight.
They found two beautiful rocks
and the two people could play
and not fight.
They became friends, the two people.

The Confrontation
Daniel B.

a tree and another tree
argues about who’s taller.

Rakiya C.

I’ve been rethinking all of
my emotions caught in my head
but I’m still hoping.

If I had a second chance
to rethink it all I would and

Many Years Alone in a Russian Village
Brad J.

Speaking Russian all the time
eating good food only going
to talk to my family members

Sometimes being scared
because I won’t get bullied
my dad and my mom are going
to protect me so I won’t get

Going to play in a lot of grass
staying with my mom and dad
going with them to get food

Out Here
Lindora K.

Out here I’m all alone.
Out here it’s dark.
Out here the wind is high.
Out here the trees go high.
Out here it’s freezing cold.
Out here the clouds are low.
Out here the sky glows.
Out here it’s calm.
Out here I’m happy.

The Miracle
Harmony O.

I was so surprised
I did something I couldn’t
believe I could do.
It was a
surprising miracle.
I was terrified
at first but I did it.
I tried.
Tried, tried, and tried.
I finally did a super mega
triple double quadruple
outstanding….Back flip.

Be There Now
Aspen T.

It whispered to me over and over
and it said to be there

I didn’t know where but
it really was putting pain in
my head.

When I got home I
lie there in my bed thinking…
It hurts so much what am
I going to do?

Everywhere I went it
hurt and all of the sudden
I knew what it was…



“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.