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Poetry- Getting to know you

Discussion
Nov 5, 2013
Posted by: Erin Stokes

At the beginning of the school year, I want to get to know
my students. I want to understand what events in their lives make them who they
are. Usually, one activity I do with my students is to have them create a
simple timeline of their lives, detailing the most traumatic and exciting
events of their lives.

As I read the poem “Destination” by Parker Elkins (2013
edition), I thought that my students could be challenged to create a similar
poem about important events in their lives. Each student could choose one event
from his or her timeline about which to write.

Before the students began writing, however, I would have
them analyze the poem, looking for use of imagery and structure. I would even
have the students highlight the verbs, and I would have them note the use of
imagery by looking for the five senses in writing. I would emphasize exactly how
many events and “sub-events” the author described in his poem.

The students can pick one event from their timelines and
make a list of phrases using imagery to describe the event. I would remind the
students that they can think about each of their five senses to illustrate what
happened.

The students in the classroom can peer review each other’s
poems by noting the use of imagery and structure. I would encourage my students
to question each other about why they chose the words they chose.

I have a classroom website (a wiki through pbworks.com) on
which my students would post their poems and make positive, constructive
comments to one another.