Poking Around the Family Tree

In “Pokeberries,” Ruth Stone recalls members of her extended family—mostly women—and how they (positively) impacted her life. Her brief yet potent poem is packed with vivid details and initiated many lively and fascinating conversations. Students intuited that since the speaker says, in the first line, “I started out in the Virginia mountains,” the poem’s setting was the American south, which explained some of its more interesting vernacular (dandelion wine, greens, back-fat). However, they also noticed that the speaker “bought [their] own / place in Vermont” once they saved up their “first piece of ready cash,” signifying a move northward as well as more economic stability. One of the poem’s most interesting lines occurs near its middle: “My whole life has been stained with pokeberries,” and we wondered what that might mean, deciding that the speaker’s experiences growing up shaped them to be strong, self-sufficient, and independent.

Family is a universal concept that is also unique to everyone’s particular situation which was explored in this week’s student writing.

Ms. Kawa
4th Grade

Family Always
Elsa D.

Your friends may
come and go,
and you will feel sad,
but your family
will always be there

You may have
and sad days
but your family
will always be

You may feel
lonely or alone
but your family
will always be

Sonia G.

my mom who gives me hugs
and works hard
my dad always making jokes
me always making random stuff
our family

Lillian H.

caring and loving
always there
for you
sometimes annoying
sometimes thoughtful
whether you like it
or not.

Welcome to My World
Kai M.

We are family
Mother, father, Sophie, Tom,
Here for each other.

When we're together,
None is lost and all is found 
We are not alone.

The things we do now
Impact our togetherness
Welcome to my world.

Felix M.

Family is important.
No matter what, family is there.
Family is why you exist.
Family is what you need.
Nothing beats family.
Family is more important.
What you need, family beats it.

Ms. Makris
4th Grade

Lincoln D.

My family is the best in
the multiverse. I have a lot
of family.

School family is the second
best because I have a lot of
people supporting me.

I feel like I have a
family of superheroes.
I would do anything to protect 

My Family
Emilia O.

My family
is the best
family in the world.
They are awesome.
They love me,
and I care about them
They will always...
help me,
love me,
care for me,
and will support me
with any
questions I need
help with!
I love them so much
they're the best family

The Color Purple
Raadhya S.

Purple is strength, purple is

Knowledge, purple is kindness.

Purple is my dad, my papa. The 
guy who loves me no matter what
I do. On to the next color, and
that's blue.

Blue is power, blue is mercy.

My mama's blue. Mama's kind
and accepts me for everything
I do.

I love
purple and blue.

Aarohi S.

My family is the best
because of my
mom, dad, and brothers.
My mom is very sweet 
not to say no to
My dad is
really strict to say
yes to
But the strictness
helps me for my
education because
he taught me 
how to use your
time wisely.
And I love my

Naomi T.

Older sister: a reliable source.
Younger brother: a new joy to your life.
Father: a person to ask advice from.
Mother: an ear for all your secrets.

Younger sister: a reminder that you're great.
Older brother: a person who's always been

Family is life.

Mr. O’Brien
4th Grade

Kyle H.

my family is cool
we use lots of

I have a mom,
dad, sister, brother,
and don't forget the

today is fall and
everybody in my
family is tall

My Family's History
Bronson K.

My family's history goes back to 1453
I've been doing some tracking and it was
John Washburn the first. I can't imagine
what it was like then but it had to be
cool to see Leonardo da Vinci.

Helping Hands
Alistair L.


Nobody realizes how important they are.
They bring joy,
and care about you.

They make you believe,
and they're just like a friend.

Tell everybody how important family is.

They will help you.
Maybe not so often,
but when the essential time comes,
they will be there.

Perhaps you can help them too.

Scary Brother
Bhavagna T.

One day my brother
left a small white tooth
when he saw he left a tooth
he was crying and crying.

Baylee S.

I love my family and they love me. I appreciate them.
They give me a shelter, a roof over my head, food on my
table, and clothes on my body. They love me to ∞ infinity and
beyond. I love my family.

Ms. Nelson
4th Grade

The Lion Family
Yesong K.

The lion looks scary,
but its heart isn't.
When the lion catches its prey,
the lion looks very bad and scary.
But it's for baby lion.
The lion is scary
to protect his family.
Then everything looks bad or scary.
They're just protecting something
or protecting themselves.

Arjun R.

I have a clumsy family,
but we always try working hard.
My brother is already in high school,
collecting straight A's every day.
My cousin getting a pile or circuits
and transforming them into the coolest machines.
My sister paints with colorful watercolors
and makes a spellbinding masterpiece of art.
My father, typing every word in code,
word by word, file by file.
My mother makes the most awesome,
delicious meals that taste like heaven.
And me, myself, trying to release my
hidden potential to become an Albert Einstein, Jr.

Homero T.

Family. Family is a thing
that gives us company
and feeds us.

Myles Y.

1, 2, 3, 4, mom
Dad, sister, brother

My dad loves cars
My mom loves cooking
My sister loves drawing
My brother loves his Xbox

Sepanta Z.

Mom and dad
we love them.
They love us.

Brothers and/or sisters
annoying sometimes
but we love them,
they love us.

You are the most important
human for yourself.
Always believe in yourself.

And remember
your family will
always love



“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.