Poetry Does Matters

I’m having a blast teaching our poetry unit in writing workshop right now. Our poetry wall which I shared about in previous posts is all FILLED up now! It was really cool seeing the students put up their own poems on the wall and read each other’s poem.

I’ve also introduced the self portrait anthology project where the students will be filling in a blank book with poems and “choice” pieces that express who they are. They were really excited about getting started on this project.  We will also start preparing for our joint fifth grade poetry cafe as well!

Our full poetry wall!

chubby goldfish poem

I just started reading this book called Poetry Matters by Ralph Fletcher. I am even more excited to see him in person at the Reading Institute this summer in NYC! Anyways, there are some really good quotes from the book that I wanted to share:

“It has been said that writing a poem for someone else is like giving blood because it comes from the heart of the writer and goes to the heart of the receiver. Poems are filled with words from the heart.” —Ralph Fletcher

“A poem is like an x-ray of what is going on inside of you. ” –Ralph Fletcher

Reading & keeping my eye open for a seat on the subway.

The Ocean

Here’s my slice of life today in a poem.We are in the midst of our poetry unit and I’ve been writing poetry with my students. This poem I wrote with my students when we were learning about personification. I’ve always wanted to live next to the ocean. 🙂

* I made a small revision to the poem by changing the “it” to “she”. I would imagine the ocean to be a strong woman! 🙂

The Ocean

The ocean swaggers into the shore.

In and out.

In and out.

She tiptoes on tiny feet and freshly built sand castles.

She runs over shattered seashells and slimy seaweed.

In and out.

In and out.

She sprints back home and doesn’t look back.

For more slices, go to two writing teachers!

SOLC#31: Sometimes…

Slice of Lifer

For 31 days, you blogged day and night, from different countries, time zones and classrooms

Sometimes, you felt like you had nothing to write

Sometimes, you smiled as you shared about a memorable memory with your students

Sometimes, you struggled to get what was inside to come out on your screen

Sometimes, you were encouraged by the comments of other slicers

Sometimes, you wanted to scream, but instead you blogged about it

Sometimes, you learned from others through the power of words

Sometimes, you were moved deeply by life and you wrote about it.

Sometimes, you realized how hard it is to write every single day

Sometimes, you were amazed at the strong community of writers that can form on the Internet

Sometimes, you fell asleep with the laptop by your side and post still unwritten.

Sometimes, you were surprised at how people responded to your slice

Sometimes, you wrote slices instead of doing grading or dealing with paperwork.

Sometimes, you wrote about the matters of your heart, your students and your passion for teaching.

Sometimes, you wanted to stop, but you kept going.

I am so happy to say that I did it.

31 days.

31 posts.

Now it’s time to celebrate with some poetry from our classroom poetry wall. A special thanks to slicer Diana for sharing about this link yesterday. I had some students  write emotional animal poems  & love that poems today. They were amazing!

Poetry Wall Instructions

Emotional Animal Poem

Love this line!

Imitating the Style of Walter Dean Myers

SOLC#29: Take Your Parents to Work Day

I remember they used to have take your kids to work day when I was growing up. Now, I feel like the roles are reversed. Today, my parents came to work with me. They are visiting Korea for the first time since I moved here. They came to see my school and meet my students. So I forced my mom to teach my writing workshop lesson! She is a poet and writes poems in Korean which fit in nicely with our poetry unit.

She shared with my students a Korean poem she wrote about spring and then had the students ask questions about it. She also shared her book of poems and pictures she had. After, I had the students work on poems in English and/or Korean. The students seemed to enjoy it, as did my mom!

The magical place from yesterday's post!

SOLC#28:A Magical Place

In the middle of our work time in writing workshop today, I walked over to the rug area, where two of my students were sitting by the window. We have windows that go almost to the floor on our walls. They were the two lucky students who were allowed to sit next to the window and make observations through the window.

During the mini-lesson, I was discussing with them where we could find ideas for poetry topics. One of the suggestions a student had was to look at nature and the world around us. So I had two students sitting by the window recording observations and collecting ideas for possible poems.

“How’s it going? Did you collect a lot of ideas?” I asked.

“This is a magical place. ” She replied.

“What did you say?” I thought I had misheard her.

“It’s a magical place. I’ve collected so many ideas. I saw cars, trees, the playground.  I think I might write a poem about global warming.” She confidently told me.

SOLC#2: A Different Road

I stood at the top of the stairs on the edge of the field as the students started to trickle into line from recess. I anticipated the complaints from the boys about the soccer game.

Kevin* came up to me and exclaimed, “Ms. Kim, Ms. Kim. Someone kept telling me to shut up during soccer.”

“Who was it? ” I asked. He looked around pointed to another boy on the other line.

“Jeremy.* But Ms. Kim, I just ignored him and walked away.” He replied satisfactorily.

“Give me a high-five!”  I responded. Finally, I thought to myself.

*Name changed

I was reminded of this poem after this happened:


by Portia Nelson


I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I fall in.
I am lost … I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes me forever to find a way out.


I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place
but, it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.


I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in … it’s a habit.
my eyes are open
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.


I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.


I walk down another street.

Celebrating Valentine’s Day!

I’m a bit late posting this, but here are some of the heart maps & heart poems my students created. I had the students cut out hearts using the painted paper they made. One one side they put a heart map, where they map out all the things in their “heart”. Then, I had them choose one thing from their heart map to write a poem about. The poem went on the other side. After, I laminated their hearts and punched  a hole at the top. I hung the hearts up in my classroom.

Also, I made chocolate for my students and put them in little plastic baggies with other bought chocolate. It’s super easy to make the chocolate. You buy the chocolate morsels for melting and then put them in the plastic molds. After, you put the plastic molds in the fridge and it hardens in a few hours. 🙂