Thursday, January 21, 2010


I used to blog for my old company, but they took the blog down. I am
not actually allowed to own the writings I put up on that blog, but as
I reference them on occasion in my writing I am putting those articles
up in my archives here for reference sake. I'll put the tag GS on those
articles noting that they were originally published on the


August 19, 2008 – 5:45 am by Brendan

I’m not much good at poetry. I did teach it to fourth graders in Illinois. Why, because even though I’m not very good at creating it I can still be moved by good poetry.

The only rule I ever had when asking 4th graders to write poetry was that they were not allowed to rhyme. Now I generally prefer my rules to be positive. (Something I learned from Dr. Wong) However, the negative rule is usually easier because people as authority figures generally think in terms of what we don’t want rather than what we do. (In general the best leaders lead by asking us to do, while the poor leaders lead by highlighting what could go wrong)

Before I get carried away again I wanted to share some poetry. As I said I like to teach poetry without allowing students to rhyme. Why, because Poetry is much more than tying together a series of rhyming words at the end of sentence. Poetry is about creating emotions. Poetry is about sharing. Poetry is letting someone else see who you really are and what your really feel. I don’t know about you but I can’t do those things if I am concerned with finding a word that rhymes with orange.

When I start my poetry unit I usually get a couple of books from the library with poems that specifically don’t rhyme and share them with my students. Then we recreate a few as a class or groups and finally they write some on their own. Usually, we will spend a class with each type of poems discussing what it means, how it shared that meaning, how we can recreate it etc…

What I usually get is 25 limericks that are returned and required to redo. Then 25 concrete poems 2 paragraphs, and maybe a haiku or something. My real purpose in teaching poetry though is to expose my students to a variety of new poetry they might miss, practice some writing, spark creativity, and possibly inspire.

Like this post was inspired by Taylor Mali (seen on these pages not once but twice) and Darren Draper.

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