I am a life long learner. I know this because I still enjoy looking for, obtaining, and synthesizing new information. Then, I like to put the information to use because I know if I do that I will remember it better.
When my husband was in medical school, they had a saying. It went something like this:
And, so it was for four years of medical school and three years of residency. Each time a new skill was taught, there was not much time for learning. The curve was steep and to be able to keep up and let alone, succeed, one had to see one, do one, and teach one. This applied to things like blood draws, intubations, chest tube placements, cardio version, suturing, etc., etc., etc.. As they say, experience is the best teacher.
Before I taught anything to students, my usual m.o. was to try it myself. This was especially true of my writer’s circle and garden club lessons. For today, since it is Poetry Friday, we’ll put garden club lessons aside. But, when it came to writer’s circle, when I developed the lessons I made sure I could do what I was asking of the students. This meant that I learned many forms of poetry during our month long unit in March each year. Yes, yes, I know. April is National Poetry Month. But, the reason we pursued poetry from mid-February to mid-March is that I had my students submit their haiku to a national poetry compilation for school aged youth. The deadline to submit each year was around the 15th of March. As you can see, waiting until April to teach a unit on poetry was too late.
Together, we learned about Cinquain, Diamante, Haiku, Bio-Poems, Color Poems, Acrostics, and more. The first three types of poems are great for cementing knowledge about parts of speech and syllabic counts. Bio poems and color poems, and acrostics were great for developing knowledge of adjectives and adverbs and how to use them to best describe what you want to tell the reader.
I had a few words I did not allow the students to use. These included “good” and “nice.” There are plenty of online sources of alternative descriptive words other than those two vague, overused platitudes. The students were challenged to come up with alternative words in their writing, even if it meant learning some new vocabulary! It worked well, and most of my students were highly successful in their poetry writing. 33/36 students had haiku published over the six years I held writer’s circle. All were third grade students. I was, and still am, very proud of their accomplishments.
As the month of April has progressed, I have also learned of some new forms of poetry. These include the tanka, the nonnet, and the ethree (or etheree). I read about each of these forms after reading some examples of each. Then, I listened to a brief teaser by Billy Collins on writing poetry. Did you know he offers a Master Class online regarding the craft of writing poetry? I might have to sign up for that – I have a feeling it will be entertaining as well as informative! Thanks to a fellow blogger for introducing me to his work.
Yesterday, as I sat on the couch after lunch enjoying my tea, the sun was shining. But, the next time I looked up, it was also snowing! Yes, snowing! Now, we’ve had April snowstorms here before – where we received inches upon inches of snow. Yesterday was different. It was sunny. It was 42 degrees. The grass was bright green having just begun to photosynthesize! But, it was also snowing!
In that instance, having just read about different forms of syllabic poetry and listened to one of the poetry masters of our time, I decided to write an ethree.
In April I saw some white flakes floating along on a breeze until each touched the grass and disappeared into the verdancy of the field, failing to exist any longer for me. Freakish, Spring, Wisconsin, Sun, Snow, Shower.
I need more than one and done to practice my writing. But, the see one, do one, teach one, is not a bad way to start! Thanks to all who read my poetry each week and encourage my efforts! I do enjoy writing it and that is an accomplishment in itself.
Today’s Poetry Friday round up is brought to us by Catherine at Reading to the Core. Thank you, Catherine, for hosting and for letting us be inspired by the poetry of others!