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#SOL16. No.9.


Having fun with a Bed-to-Bed Free Verse Poem*

It’s Tuesday

Sunrise and coffee with my man
–Treasure these moments when I am home
Reading and answering emails
Keeping phone appointments
–One lasted 1.5 hours, we should have Skyped
Waiting for a FedEx pickup
–Glad he came early today
Planning PD for March 30th
–For 30 adult literacy teachers

Coffee break with my man
–He brought me a slice of pumpkin bread from Starbucks!
Creating customized PD calendar
–Tried to do it with iCalendar but didn’t like results
Starting again, this time with Excel

A friend drops by
–Just for a moment . . .
Checking the mail
Checking emails again
–Read and respond
Deleting emails
–I suppose I really should unsubscribe to a few

Lunch with my man
–Homemade chicken and noodles, YUM!
–With some broccoli and cranberry sauce
–And wee bite of chocolate, call it dessert
Reading online Reflect & Write from teachers
–I love this part!
Writing feedback emails to online students
–We are all growing together
Working on my website
–So excited because we launch it tonight

Break with my man
–Peeling a “Sunkist” mandarin orange on this rainy day
–Chatting about all the things that fill our life
Pushing through one pile of work

Supper with my man
–A light one… breakfast food!
–A bowl of granola topped with a banana and scoop of blueberries
–Blueberries we picked last July

A hug from my oldest son
A chat & laugh with my daughter
A text from my youngest son

Such a good Tuesday!

In My Classroom

Young writers often fill their journals with entries that we teachers call bed-to-bed writing.

They begin with the first thing they do, get out of bed, and continue to the last thing they do, go to bed. On the page is one very long run-on sentence. The words “and” and “and then” are the only signal to pause, much like a switching notice, much like a bullet in a listing.

I used to find myself overwhelmed by such writing.

Now, I welcome it, for I have found a way to help my students move forward. I discovered an easy stepping place for them to move forward from these run-on drafts.

I show them how to rewrite those journal entries as free verse poems*.

Instead of worrying about rules of grammar and sentence composition, students take their page-long run-on sentences and break them apart, idea by idea, creating lines for a poem.

  • No worry about punctuation
  • No worry about rhyming
  • No worry about the rhythm
  • Just remember to capitalize the first word on each line
  • Just remember to put only one idea on each line

Once their “story” has been written in free verse, students find it easy to choose a moment–a line or two–from their poem and write a slice of life–as prose or as another free verse poem.

When we teach, we must begin where are students are.

*Free verse poems

  • Do not have regular meter and rhythm
  • Do not follow a rhyme scheme
  • Do not have any set rules
  • Break lines based on normal pauses and natural phrasing

Slice of Life
Read more about a slicing life
and a great community of writers / educators