Weaving Words and Worlds: Tapestry and Folding Poems

I got sucked into the Netflix original 13 Reasons Why a few weeks ago, and though it was uncomfortable and nerve wrecking, I had to see it through. I knew some of the students in my class were binging just like I was, so I decided to take the opportunity to discuss bullying, the importance of standing up to it, not doing it and counteracting its effects with kindness and love.

In each class, we talked about how there are always connections to make in the world and demonstrated that interconnectedness by writing collective poems. Our examples this week, for the first time, included no published works, but collective poetry that I have experienced in group settings. I read a poem to the 6th graders that had been woven from a set of corresponding lessons I ran with four co-workers. We ended up with a suite of haiku, one for each season. To the 7th graders, I read two folding poems, both created at the birth celebration of Asanti, held before his birth. The poems, A Letter to My Daughter and A Letter to my Son are brilliant examples of what can happen when a group of strangers, even, meditate on a common idea. Since there can be quite a bit of waiting around involved in collective poetry writing, the students made anti-bullying artwork/posters/wordles to accompany this post .

To add to the world of collective poetry, the 6th graders began their tapestry poems in which each writer writes a portion of the poem and passes it to the next person. The final product results in a tapestry, woven by many writers to make a whole. They got a good start, but since a portion of their class was dedicated to a disaster drill, I will leave their completed works for next week.

Ziclaly_Anitra The 7th graders (it was just us last week and that is Ziclaly and Anitra picture with the poem for group 1), were divided into four groups to wrote folding poems. Here, I began the poem and had a writer contribute the next line. The first line was then covered by a folded sheet. Each writer then contributes an additional line having been exposed only the last line written. After each student reads the single line and adds their own line, he/she continues the folding. The students continued to work until each student had contributed at least one line to the poem.  What you will read are the four folding poems

7th grade


Sometimes life feels like being left alone in the wilderness

Sometimes life feels like your beauty isn’t good enough

So don’t hide your feelings under the criticism

Like it shine through to show the real you

To be confident no matter what

Do whatever you have to do to get over it

Don’t let anyone get in your way

Because you have a lot to say

And make sure you make their day

Do whatever you wish and just get it accomplished

Tell someone and don’t hold it in because you can hurt someone

By Jamaiyah H., Anitra J., Ziclaly D., Jackie, Aaron W., Tamara C.


Avoiding the Problem

When I saw it, I wanted to be the bigger person.

I wanted to stop it and let them know it wasn’t worth it

Don’t pick on anybody if you don’t want to get picked on

Be nice and stop bullying

Care about other’s feelings

Don’t watch the violence

Stop it before it goes any further

Stick up to the bully

Think about how it makes that person feel

Words are everything

By Raquel R., Kamarria W. Tamia R., Janiyah C. Kanyeh M.


Moving on Now

The first time you hear this you will be afraid

But you will understand the pain that drove me

to this point and your mood will change

You should now realize that I wasn’t happy

Because this ended in death

No one should go through these steps

Ignore the bullies ‘cause now it’s not worth it

There will always be people who talk

Ignore and walk the walk

It will be with you forever, my voice, my tone

But try to continue and move on

Like I did

It was hard, but it will change in the future

Briana C., Marjanay M., Aniah P., Ramon L., Marshawn M.



We’ve been meeting in my dreams

We first me on Xbox

I invited him into a party

Then we started talking about his shoes

They kicked me out of the party five times

Then I came back and they tried to report me

They made me cry

Tyson, Pedro, Jamarie, Gemarion, Darrick, Maurice























“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.