A fun way to celebrate the holiday season for children of all ages is to create poetry. The poetry could be part of a Christmas card greeting, or a decoration to hang on the tree, or just a celebration of the winter season.
For young children, the poem can be a simple free verse phrase or two.
For older children, rhyme and rhythm can be incorporated.
For all, the choice of subjects abounds from wintery scenes, to well-known Christmas themes, or even end of year reminiscing.
A simple poem exploring a winter scene is Winter Treats, found on my website. Use this poem to encourage children to look outside and describe a scene they see. Can they bring the scene to life with their words?
An example of a Santa poem at Essential Learning Products is Hip! Hip! Hooray! by Beverly McLoughland. This poem could be used with children to jump start their poetry writing. It also could be used as a geography lesson, traveling the globe with Santa.
For a more spiritual poem, read Christmas Day, also found on my website. Have the child find a Christmas card picture or perhaps an ornament that he likes. Then have the child use this image to create a poem in rhyme, free verse, or haiku.
Poetry should be a fun and creative process. There are no rights or wrongs–only writes!
I know it’s hard to believe April is here already.
But when I look out my window and see the trees and daffodils in bloom, I know it’s true.
And what a better month to celebrate poetry than in this colorful month of APRIL.
A HAIKU is a perfect poem to start the month off with. A short, simple poem which usually highlights nature–only three lines. The first and third lines each has five syllables and the second line has seven.
A scrubbed puppy just
after a bath and just
before a mud puddle.
I gave this Haiku a title, but you don’t have to.
See how easy that is. Go ahead–give it a try!
I had the great fortune to attend a workshop today given by Constance Levy, St. Louis’ own children’s poet guru. She spoke to OASIS reading tutors for the Rockwood School District on ways to interact with children using poetry.
“Poems don’t have to rhyme,” she said. “But they do need to flow and to have rhythm.” She explained that children should be encouraged to “write in a natural way.” She cautioned that teachers and tutors shouldn’t “squeeze the juice out of creativity” by restricting children’s poetry to a set subject or style.
“William Stafford (another Midwest poet) said a poem was ‘talk with a little luck in it’,” Ms. Levy said. She suggested reading several poems to children and asking them which one they liked best and why. Discuss with the children “who is talking in this poem, and who are they speaking to?”
Ms. Levy encouraged the OASIS tutors to help children take chances in poetry by using wild and crazy words–to have fun. And for elementary students, she talked about helping them learn “to break lines.” At school children are taught to write sentences and fill up each line, only breaking for paragraphs. But when writing poetry, the children must be re-taught to listen for phrasing and how to construct a poem.
Ms. Levy had all of us brainstorm for a few minutes on FOG, jotting down words and phrases which came to our minds. We were encouraged to be inventive, to think in colors and metaphors. To be open to the senses. Later after briefly discussing haikus, we were encouraged to try one–but not necessarily strictly limited to the 5, 7, 5 syllables in each of the three lines if that didn’t quite work for our poem.
Here is my morning haiku created with help from the earlier brainstorming session
A shrouded ghost mist
swallows me up as I walk
into its mystery.
Give yourself a treat and visit your local library where you’ll find copies of Constance Levy’s poetry books: A TREE PLACE,
WHEN WHALES EXHALE
A CRACK IN THE CLOUDS
I’M GOING TO PET A WORM TODAY
THE STORY OF RED RUBBER BALL