Week 1: How Cool Are You?

We kicked off the year with a look at Gwendolyn Brooks’ We Real Cool, complimented by a wonderful video by Crescendo Literary & Manual Cinema that updates & reimagines the classic piece, including a song by the immaculate Chicago musician, Jamila Woods. We Real Cool is a gorgeous & succinct still life where Gwendolyn takes us to The Golden Shovel pool hall and puts us in the shoes of seven schoolboys.

For the lesson, we looked at meter, rhythm and rhyming, using the sonic nature of the 7-couplet poem to create our own stories about what makes us cool! Check out some of the poems from Lesson 1 with George Washington Elementary:


Room 305

¨ Me and my friends are cool ¨
Arielle A.

Me and my friends are cool.
We like to play tag in the pool.

We talk everyday.
But now I’m moving away.

Me and my friends are cool.
We sometimes might act like a fool
Even though we might not rule.

We stick together.
As if were birds with feathers.
And that’s what makes us cool.


The fat cat
Emily M.

I had a cat
Who was so fat
He could not even
Sit on his mat

He had a hat
That did not fit
He put it on
And then it split


I Made a Fool
Sarai G.

I feel like a tool
I made a fool

In front of my whole school
I hate preschool

I thought it was cool
To fail school

My grades are in a deep pool
I feel like such a fool



“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.