Stapler (try #2) 

Revising is so hard for students in any genre.  Poetry is no different.  My team mates and I are trying to incorporate revising into this unit of study almost daily, to make it more routine.  Throughout the unit we will share with them different revising strategies to try.  One of these strategies is to try to write the poem to the tune of a song.  I’m going to encourage my students to choose nursery rhymes and lullaby’s that we all know to try this.

So off I went.  Yikes!  So much harder than I expected.  It took a long time too. Maybe it was the song I picked, maybe it was because I don’t think of myself as a poet or maybe I’m just being to hard on myself.  Either way, here is my attempt at revising my poem to the tune of Are You Sleeping (Frère Jacques)  Would love to hear your thoughts and/or suggestions.

Stapler (try #2)

Open, closed! Open, closed!

Seeing paper, seeing paper

clamping down and biting, clamping down and biting

Click click Ahhhh, click click ahhhh!

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13 thoughts on “Stapler (try #2) 

  1. This is a neat idea! Not sure how old your students are, but I love Georgia Heard’s book “Awakening the Heart.” There are so many incredible ideas about teaching poetry, including strategies for revising. It might be helpful!

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  2. With your model I bet kids will see this as doable! This is fabulous! I loved rereading it with the tune in my head! I didn’t dare sing it – my family runs when I sing! Next slice – “what happens when I share my revision as an invitation to my second grade writers?” Thanks for sharing!

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  3. Writing a poem to fit a tune may be difficult for students to do because, using a song requires imitating the meter which means students not only have to come up with the words to express their ideas about something, they must also follow the syllable count and recognize the stressed / unstressed patterns. This will probably mean they’ll need to find synonyms for some words so they have one syllable instead of two, etc…. It may mean they need to rearrange words to make the stressed/unstressed pattern work. On the other hand, working with free verse (doesn’t require rhyme or meter) and might be an easier starting place. In free verse poems, I work to develop word choice, word order (inverting structures, e.g., “we sang” becomes “sang we”), and knowing when to drop function words (e.g., articles, conjunctions). When I introduce meter, I keep it simple and usually work with a model that doesn’t change the meter much from one line to the next. Activity suggestions: We rewrite a poem (or a stanza) as prose. It helps students see the difference. I also give them descriptive paragraphs to rewrite it as poems. This can lead to writing “found poems” — another way to cross between poetry and prose. We look through picture books to identify which ones are poems vs. prose. Sorry, my comment is becoming a post. 🙂 Check out the book “Teeth, Wiggly as Earthquakes” by Judith Tannenbaum. Be sure to read her first pages “How to Use this Book.” It’s a Stenhouse publication. You can probably read a sample chapter online.

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  4. What fun! Maybe I should try a song too and see how it goes. I imagine this will be fun and exciting for kids, but really hard too. I also have all of Georgia’s books if you are interested! I think I will pull them out for more ideas too!

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