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Poetry Friday : December 8, 2016.


A couple weeks ago, Kiesha Shepard on Whispers from the Ridge shared “Leaf Dance” followed by an Invitation to Write: “Have you ever wondered what objects would say if they could speak? I wonder about this all the time! I think about what questions I would ask them and what questions they might ask of me.”

I immediately thought of question poems. Here are a few I’ve written:

Summer sun,
Bright summer sun,
Aren’t you sleepy yet?

* * *

Strawberry, Strawberry,
What makes you so red and sweet?

* * *

Hello house,
Why do you groan
And complain all night?

* * *

Wind, contrary wind
Why do you steal my hat?

* * *

Fence, fence,
Are you lonely,
Stretching along your dusty road?

* * *

Lofty clouds, soaring clouds
Why do you play with lightning?

* * *

Clouds, clouds,
Where did you come from,
And where will you go?

* * *

Clouds, clouds
Are you still cold with winter’s snow?
Or are you full of warm spring rains?

In My Classroom . . .


1) I share several model question poems (I don’t tell students yet that they are called this.)
2) Students partner up or get in small groups and talk about what they notice in the models
3) Then the partners / groups share with the whole class what they have noticed

Some things to noticed–

The first lines address an inanimate object
The object is asked a question
The question is based on something that is unique to the object
More than one question can be asked
Line breaks
The number of lines
The length of lines
Rhyme pattern or lack of it
Personification of the object
Word choice

Brainstorming …

4) I tell students, “Close your eyes and think of an object — one you might like to ask a question. Keep it in your head. 
No talking.”
[Variations for object selection: Make content connections by having students think of an object from science or social studies.]
I pause for a moment as students reflect.
5) Students write their choice in their notebook / on paper, committing to their topic
6) Students think specifically about their object and the question(s) they might ask it
[Tips for creating the question: Think of the object as a person and create a question that speaks directly to the object; think of what the object does (verbs) — factually or figuratively — and use the verb(s) to help form a question]
7) Students draft their question(s), using the models if needed

Writing …

8) Using their ideas, students create a question poem

There are really only two rules for our question poems: Address an object. Ask the object a question.

Publishing …

9) Students create an anthology of their question poems

Click here for a collection of question poems written by teachers in one of my literacy workshops.


Head over to Check it Out for more Poetry Friday Round-up.
Thanks, Jone, for hosting!