Students in fourth and fifth grade have been coming to the media center this week to explore writing poetry from photographs. We studied several mentor poems by poets such as Jane Yolen and J. Patrick Lewis. These two authors have collections of poems that are written from photographs, so we explored the language that these poets dreamed up simply by studying a photograph. Next, students carried digital cameras on a nature walk around the school. I instructed them to use a poet’s eye to look for possible photo opportunities that spoke to them. Along the way, I pointed out possible photos that I saw. This model helped students narrow in to things they might photograph. For example, I saw a spider web that was woven into a small bush. When I saw it, it reminded me of a big puff of cotton candy. I shared with students that this would be a great line in a poem and was something I was likely to take a picture of. Back in the media center, students imported their photographs into their documents.
In lesson 2, we continued exploring mentor poems for possible structures for our own poems. We looked at similes, personification, I am poems, and list poems. Students imported their photographs into a Word document and began typing their own poem. The teachers, my paraprofessional, my student intern, and I all conferenced with students about their poems. Students who had time also created a Photo Story with their photo and poetry. Others simply printed their poem for use on our annual Poem in your Pocket Day.
Check out some of their poems and photos below.