#DigiLit Sunday: Form in Poetry

Sunday, April 24, 2016

    This Sunday morning, I am connecting with Margaret Simon again for #DigiLit Sunday.  I had a topic in mind, but when I read her post about form in poetry, I changed my mind.  In my head, a student's face popped up.  I knew I had to write about our young Padawan poet.  :)

     With our Jedi writers, +Lori Horne and I keep adding genres of writing to our list of writing they could write, but the rule is always "You can try what I modeled today, or go off and write what matters to you."  They can choose the topic and the genre to write in, and we give them about 10 minutes to write.  The chart above looks different now, as we have added many types of poetry this month for April, as well as other genres that come up along the way.

     This "Jedi Writing Training" idea came from the inspiration of Ralph Fletcher.  I saw him speak at the end of January and his words about informal writing really struck me.  There are different reasons students write.  After hearing Ralph Fletcher, I wanted one of them to be because they want to share what matters to them.  Lori's students loved Star Wars, so the Jedi training began.

    On this particular day, we had started writing and a 4th grader looks up and says, "I don't know what to write about."  My response was, "Just write about what matters to you."  Then I walked away.  I didn't give him a topic, or a suggestion.  This is Jedi Writing Training.  They get to choose.  Plus, we have been doing this for 3 months.  He has the power within him.

    After about 8 minutes, I walk around and pick three kids who will share, and snap a picture of their writing to display on the Apple TV when they read it aloud.  

     Our student without an idea happens to be a reluctant reader and writer, and this is what he produced!  When students read their writing to the class, we always have them try to identify the genre that the writer chose.  After this poem, kids said "Poetry" right away, but some saw pieces of the Diamante we did last week.  Some saw parts of Haiku.  Some saw a list poem.  Some saw a shape poem with the words taking almost a bat wing shape.  The truth is, this poem doesn't follow a true "form" in poetry.  This writer accidentally made his own form.  A writer, who in the past would sit there with a blank paper, instead found an idea that matters to him and created his own rules.

     We are in Jedi Writing Training.  This young Padawan used the force to overcome his lack of ideas.  Well, that's probably how he sees it.  I just see a writer.



  1. I love this post. It tells the story of the classroom that is about freedom and choice and finding the best way for the words you want to say. If I knew any Jedi jargon for great job, I would use it right now.

  2. I love "accidents" especially when they turn into creative pieces like your little writer. Sometimes I think form is extremely helpful, but other times I think it just gets in the way.

  3. "He has the power within him." This is a great statement. Students who are well-trained have amazing power inside if they trust in their abilities and let voice rise.