How to…

This very busy week, I continued with the 2nd graders, at the midpoint of their residencies, and began classes with the 4th graders. It was terrific to see so many familiar faces after a year (students as well as teachers) and to recommence with our conversations on poets and writing! To commemorate this return and continuation, Wendell Berry‘s “How to Be a Poet” seemed appropriate. The poem begins, “Make a place to sit down. / Sit down. Be quiet,” and I asked what else Berry suggested was important in becoming a poet? Would that work for everyone, or is it just his idea(s)? We also focused on some of the more interesting lines in the poem, such as “shun electric wire”—what could that possibly mean? And “Live / a three-dimensioned life”—don’t we already do that? This was definitely an important moment to think about what makes each of us a poet.

Writing a “how to” poem was this week’s prompt. Here are selected responses from all the classrooms.

Ms. Rupp, 2nd Grade

How to Play Basketball
Xavier B.

Step 1: Get a basketball.
Step 2: Shoot the basketball
in the hoop.
Step 3: Believe in yourself.

How to Be a Poet
Alijah C.

Be as quiet as you can
sit down keep in silence
till you think of one
then you write it down
send it to be published
if it is published try
again then you will be
a famous poem writer but
if it doesn’t still try

How to Make Your Bed
Eloise G.

You wake up in your bed and
figure out it is really messy
so . . . fold, pull and fluff.

How to Make Lemonade
Lindsay P.

How to make lemonade
is as easy as pie.
First, you add water to a
container and squeeze a
lemon in it too. Then, shake
it up. Next, pour it into a
cup and add ice. Last, have
a nice refreshing drink on a
hot, hot summer day.

Ice Skate
Ayden S.

How to be a good
ice skater
you need balance
tie your skates
good and
ice skate
wee crash!!!

How to Be Calm
Michaela W.

Take a deep breath
in through your nose
out through your mouth
and think happy
thoughts. That’s how
to calm down.

Ms. Beaudry, 2nd Grade

How to Sew
Livvy A.

Get a frame of whatever
color you wish. It could be fancy
or plain, whatever you wish.

Get a canvas of whatever
design you wish. A picture
or colors.

Thread the needle as best
you can. Be careful not
to poke.

Now you sew needle
up through the hole,
needle down through
the hole.

Frame it with the one you chose.

How to Jump a Car
Gabrielle C.

Take the jumper cables stick them
on your motor and stick the other end
in the car turn on your car then
the other car might turn on
if it does not then keep trying
on the car if it still does not
work then if you have a jumper
then do the same thing

How to Be a Writer
Sandy K.

Write down stuff.
Write. Write. Write.
You can write all day.
Think about what you want to write.

Being a writer can not be easy.
Writers don’t write crazy stuff.
Some writers write about their life.
Some writers write about their day.
Some writers even write about anything.

Writers, writers, writers.
Find out what people are writing.
Find something and write about it.
Unscramble words write about it.
Write about anything.


How 2 Lay Your Head Down
Anson L.

Bend your head down

Lay on your arms

You’re done

How to Be a Better Sibling
Tierra M.

First, you go to your siblings.
Next, you start being nice to
them. Then, you make a promise to
them. Last, you try to be the
best siblings ever.

How to Be a Ballerina!
Brooklyn N.

To be a ballerina
you need to be

Ballet is a musical
silent performance
that means talking

You need to
balance on one foot
then another

And have fun

How to Be a Monkey
Umar S.

First you need a lot of
space and some obstacles
then you grab a banana
to keep you energized

then you jump around…
but something is wrong?
You need a monkey costume!
Now you do all the
steps all over again
with the monkey

Ms. Schwartz, 2nd Grade

How to Find the Price on a Toy
Curtis B.

Material(s). Money and a scanner

buy the toy—scan it on a scanner

How to Play Basketball
Alex G.

Step 1. You have to run and dribble the basketball.
Step 2. You have to steal the ball.
Step 3. Your team has to score in the other’s basketball hoop
and the other team to score in our hoop.
Step 4. You have to score the goal.
Step 5. Win!

How to Get an A+
Tailur K.

How to get an A+ you need to follow directions.

You need to ask questions.

You need to work hard!

You need to be an independent learner.

You need to listen to other teachers + people.

To do your homework, and turn it in every

How to Do Nothing
Onix L.

Relax. Relax. Sit down. Let go
of everything close your eyes
and relax.

How to Take Care of Pets (Dogs, Cats)
Charlotte M.

1. you should have a dog or a cat
2. you should feed it twice a day
breakfast, dinner
3. must love it
4. you must take it for a walk
5. you must play with it
6. you must take care of it good

How to Be a Better Poet
Tanzania T.

How to be a better poet I’m going to tell
so you should write a poem then you can fix
it. First you can think that I can write a
poem. Then you’re going to be Oh! I made a great
poem so you can be a famous person.

How to Be a Cheerleader
London T.

you can cheer
you can coach
you can cheer
like you never
did before! you
can dress like
you never did.

you can play
you can cheer
play and cheer
together forever!
never be a regular
person be a

you will have
pompoms like no
one be a cheer-
leader achieve
cheerleading be

Ms. Ward, 2nd Grade

How to Lose a Tooth
Dalton F.

1. Hit your tooth with a

How to Be a Villain
Miles K.

1: Rob a bank. 2: Shoot a bunch of
people. 3: Go to jail. 4: Break out.
5: Do it all over. There. You’re an evil
mastermind! Oh when you break out,
do an evil laugh.

How to Get a Fish
Maddison L.

First, ask your mom for a fish.
Next go to a pet store. Then pick out
your favorite fish. Next buy the fish and
a fish tank enjoy!!!

How to Eat a Chocolate Cake
Alexandra M.

First buy a cake. Then bring
it home. Next just get a fork
and…EAT! And that is how you
eat a cake.

How to Be an Astronaut
Aarav N.

1. Get 100
dollars. 2. Become a
scientist. 3. Make a rock-
et. 4. Go to the moon!

How to Be a Bad Poet
Balin N.

eat all of your poems
and put all of your
poems in your house
and blow your house up

How to Be an Artist
Ari P.

get a notebook or anything
get supplies and just draw and
then get something to eat
and keep going

How to Be a Pilot
Rohan T.

Go to pilot school. Listen to your teacher.
Find an airline to fly. Then you test
yourself out. Last you’re a PILOT.

How to Be a Sneaker
Emily X.

How to
be a
sneaker is
being so
quiet and
do not let
anyone see

You have
to hide
a lot
of spaces.

While is
no one looking
you can
get that

That whoever
stole that
from you.

Ms. Carlson, 4th Grade

How to Draw
Maddi L.

When you draw you feel so happy.
It feels like soaring through the
When your pencil touches the
paper you go to a different
or even world.

When you think of your drawing you
think of something you’ve never
thought of before.
When you draw you are out of

If you want to draw reach
for the stars
and make sure it is your

How to Make Kraft Mac & Cheese
Ari M.

Put water into
a pot
boil the water
when it’s boiling
put the noodles

When they are soft
put butter and milk in
and stir.
Then put cheese
in and
stir then

How to Have Fun
Curtis O.

How to have fun to laugh, play, flips.
But don’t put your hands on your hips.

How to Have a Cat for a Pet
Rocco P.

You find a cat. You take it
in help it feed it give
it treatment. I would take
it to the vet.

How to Be a Spy
Graham S.

Find a place, to be your base.
It could be your room or any place you think is safe.
Learn to be quiet,
learn to be stealthy.

Pick a person to spy on
and focus on that man.
Take out all of your surroundings.
Concentrate is most important.

Don’t let anybody see you.
Be stealthy like I said
and concentrate with focus.

How to Do Gymnastics
Kelli S.

So first just put your hands up and go
sideways you can go to the right
or left and touch the ground
and that’s how you do it.

Mr. Chau, 4th Grade

How to Be Quiet
Patrick C.

Sit down.
Do nothing and
pay attention
to what is
around you.

Close your
mouth. Relax
your tongue,
now just
be normal.

How to Play Defense
Autumn D.

Open your arms wide.
Be aggressive, and be strong.
Make sure you are on a court
so you can have enough space.
Moving side to side, you
just have to move.

So open up your arms and

How to Not Be Bored
Darian L.

Find something to do.
It can be what you enjoy
or it can be what you don’t like.
You do what you enjoy
until you burst with joy.

How to Wrestle an Alligator
Will L.

Get your supplies
because you’re in for a surprise
20 packs of french fries
and a couple of mice
and a double of punching gloves
and finally a shovel

Use the mice to distract
use the shovel to smack
use the gloves and pack a punch
be tight not slack.

How to Be a Potato
Colin M.

As a potato,
You watch yourself grow
And picked by the hands
Of a mysterious person

They mash you alive
Or eat you raw
As you go into the mouth
Of a strange human

And as he eats you
He tells you
“You’re going to die.”

How to Make a Cake (in Minecraft)
Colin S.

1. Find sugar-cane,
then make sugar.

2. Get eggs from a chicken.

3. Get 3 buckets.

4. Milk a cow.

5. Get 3 wheat.

6. Make cake.

How to Be an Eraser
David W.

You stand in a machine
then blast off to
a shop

While you sleep
someone takes you
away and away, and further away

You erase things day and night
until all of you is gone!

Mr. Cox, 4th Grade

How to Eat a Donut
Amira A.

How to eat a donut.
Do you eat your way in
do you eat so proper
or do you even
eat donuts?

I like to eat
the way where
it makes the
donut last a while

How to Read
Dylan A.

If you can
read this, you
have succeeded
in reading this.

How to Fly!
Jolie D.

Find an open area,
with an open roof.
When you try to spread your wings,
they come out with a poof!
Fly high above the clouds,
where no one can see you,
fly high to touch the sky,
and you may fly, too!

How to Be Naturally Beautiful
Bella P.

Stay kind, people will like you.
Smiles help you stay like that.

Be who you are.
You should always be yourself on the inside.

Help out with hard things.
They’ll look at you differently.

Don’t let mean thoughts get in your way.
Just be that good person you know you are.

How to Eat a Chicken Nugget!
Lola P.

Get a bag containing a nugget.
Make sure you have BBQ.
Put it in a container.
Make sure you have ketchup, too!

Don’t let anyone take.

How to Enjoy Your Noodles
Cosette R.

Try at least one of every kind of noodle.
See which one is preferable.
Savor them.

Find friends who also love noodles.
One plus about liking noodles
is that this will make you…

How to Become an Artist
Azalea R.

Make some space in your room
for painting
space helps you.

Gather your tools
on a desk.
Draw, draw, draw, do your best.

Take a nap for inspiration
inspiration is the key.

Once you have your energy
try again so please, please,

Go and draw or maybe try
and don’t let your dreams
pass by.

Ms. Travis, 4th Grade

How to Be a Fashion Girl
Shamarrie D.

love fashion
talk a lot about fashion
be unique
be true to yourself

love your self and other people

be kind

How to Skydive
Jamary H.

So first you have to put on thick sweatpants
and sweatshirt. Next while in the plane or helicopter
get your parachute fastened onto you. Next open the
door and jump out! Once you’re like 5 to 7 feet you
can pull out your parachute to land safely and on your feet.

How to Ski
Anthony L.

Moving down the hill.
You’re going super fast.
Do the pizza that
slows you down.

Do the french fries
to go fast. To go super
fast, put your hands on
your knees and bend

Remember these 2
moves and I trust
you that you can
be a great skier.

How to Get on a Waterslide
Raven R.

Get on your swimming suit.
Get a tube or go without one.
Wait in line. (Make sure you are not
bored waiting.) Once you get
up there, wait until the guard says
you can go. Give yourself some time to
relax and calm down before getting

Get in your tube or just go
without one. Have fun and make
sure you SCREAM!

How to Be Yourself
Gabby R.

What people think
does not matter.
Express yourself.
Follow your heart.
Follow your dreams.

What people think does
not matter.
Inspire other people.
Everything you care about
is all that matters.
If you want to do
something do it.
If you want to
sing, sing. If
you want to dance, dance.
What people think does not
How to be yourself.

How to Be Fake
Victoria V.

The sun shines
in the night.
And things get
funny. Our houses are
up in the clouds.
Our trees are lollypops.
Our grass is even
called a grass exit
because there is a hole.
La la la ahhhhahh. Oh oh
the guy just fell off
the exit hole.

Oh well at least we
have dog catchers.



“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.