Writing in Place: Springtime Chi

When I was in 2nd grade, I competed in a poetry contest: the topic was spring. My poem was short and sweet and it rhymed. It came in second place to a list poem highlighting some of the essential elements of spring. I still remember one of the lines, “Mother’s hanging laundry.” It was an image that I could relate to, and that experience forever changed my relationship to poetry. That, and Gwendolyn Brooks’ visit to my school. Springtime always remind me of that time and my first poem about spring.

Last Friday, March 3, the two classes explored different approaches to writing about place. The 6th graders, as a stepping stone from last week’s poem describing a distinct backyard in the city at the end of summer, read another poem about the wonder of the seasons, called Autumn: A Villanelle by Crystal Colassea. We pointed out the two refrains used and the rhyme scheme present, and then discussed how to write a villanelle, a form which can at first be very confusing to learn (and teach). With the assistance of their expert teacher, Ms. Dydo, who stepped in to make the complicated form feel less daunting with her simplification of its pattern, the students were able to craft their villanelles like the puzzles I had referenced to them earlier. Two fine examples of their drafts are below. Tomorrow, per the students’ requests we will complete/revise those villanelles.

The 7th and 8th grade classes read The Backyard by Twilight by Doug Van Gundy, that the 6th graders read last week, to continue our ushering in of the spring season. We focused on writing about spring by using the five senses and elements of spring that we like, look forward to or even dislike. I asked the students to write in tercets as the sample poem, and pay attention to the length of their lines. We created a word bank with some ideas that remind us of spring like bees, flowers, allergies, and dandelions. Their works are below. Let them melt your heart like the optimism of spring melts the stubbornness of winter.

6th Grade 

Navarra T.
The Park

The trees sway in the sun
The leaves fall gently
As a cold breeze blows

The moss on the trees grows
I play plenty as
The trees sway in the sun

Fall is approaching and not too soon
‘cause we still got sun left this afternoon
As a cold breeze blows

And the sun beams down
The place I love shines so bright, as
The trees sway in the sun

The sun, oh so bright
I jump in leaves tonight
As a cold breeze blows

The leaves blow and soon away’
The sun oh so bright, as
The trees sway in the sun
As a cold breeze blows

Kori R.
My Only City

My city is bad but it could be good
There’s much laughter and joy
If only they see it’s misunderstood

I would change some things if I could
It’s the land of the free and home of the brave
My city is bad but it could be good

It makes me feel very happy
This city is just beginning, it’s on a 2-way train
If only they could see it’s just misunderstood

There’s nowhere I’ll rather be
I love me city and it loves me
My city is bad but it could be good

My city is great but not all the time
There’s a lot going on it makes me want to cry
If only they could see it’s just misunderstood

I love this city because it could be good
Sometimes I want to leave and say bye
My city is bad but it could be good
If only they could see it’s just misunderstood

7th Grade

Mia G.
Here Comes Spring

Flowers blossoming
grass growing,
My birthday is coming

Out of the hot pants
Here come the ants
You know its spring,
when you don’t hear the
bell ring.

Its so hot, you need an ice cream.
Without it you will overheat.
Enjoy spring, it only comes once a year,
it’s the best time of the year.
Julian D.
Love the New Spring

Its all about spring
It’s a beautiful time
for vacation, flowers and leaves
But the most important
is I go to Texas and be free,
Animals and sports,
and I go to the beach
in spring

Jeremiah G.
Spring Break

My 2nd favorite season is coming
Spring break is coming
Plans are being made for breaks

Flowers are growing
Leaves are growing
Spring break is coming

Allergy season is coming
Sneezing, coughing, and sleeping
Spring is coming

Once again spring is coming
Its good to see dandelions
And bugs once again

 7th Grade

All about Spring
Well, spring is a good season
When you go outside you will see the stars
But you go outside its for a good reason
It will be just like you can see Mars

You can sometimes smell the green grass
You can see some more pollen
You can go outside and run really fast
But my brother’s bike got stolen

You can go ahead and go outside
We go outside to play
And I can go out in a ride
But I could never stay

And I get to have ice cream
That is why I like spring
Spring of Spring
Jamarie M.

Spring is a nice day of the month
There are bees in the air
The nice sound of sprinklers.
The sound of kids playing nearby
The nice smell of pie in the air
Water when you jump in the pool
It feels good
There are dogs playing in their yards
The sound of fun and laughter fills in the air
There is so much fun in spring
The nice lemonade
Spring is fun
Snapchat is filled with spring
So much fun in the spring.
Spring is filled with beehives
You cant mess with them
If you do they will get you
Some bugs, you just can’t mess with
There is love in the air of spring
So much love that you won’t know what to do
Janiyah C.
Spring is Joy

Spring in fun
Spring is when you can run
Spring is where flowers bloom

Spring is warm, longer days outside
Ice cream trucks drive around
Fun outside with your friends

In spring is my birthday month
In spring I go to the water park
In spring the sun glows
like the yellow crayon

spring is beautiful where the flowers bloom

Jackie G.
Spring Season

Spring is coming
Its my least favorite season
Come in allergies, flowers, happy things

No more staying in, expected to go
Outside, walk the dog, grow flowers
And chores, spring cleaning

Tyson T.
Spring Break

Spring can be fun,
It can be boring
It also can be hot.

I jump in a pool,
The water is cold
I’m bold
Ice cold

Common W.

Spring is fun because
I can wear shorts
It is fun to be in the sun
And I can ride my
I like the weather

Darrick B.
Starting off the Spring

Flowers are shining, pollen is flying
ants are dying

Animals are running across the tall
green grass, kids are outside
playing with some fake cash

Go outside to the beach
put on some socks ‘cause
I don’t want nobody to see my feet

Go outside see some bugs
look across the street and see a lady
with a mean mug!

Kamarria W.
Coming Soon

I love spring, outside all day
Going on vacations, going to beaches
Hanging out with your friends

Flowers growing, wind blowing
Sun out, not getting as dark
Sprinklers out, running through them

Ice cream truck out
Birthdays coming up
People doing sports out

Back to school
Testing again
But after all, the joy of spring



“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.