Friday, January 6, 2012

Poet in Residence

This past fall I served as "Poet in Residence" in my son's grade 4 classroom. While I mostly write for children now, my first love was poetry. In fact, even my prose has a lyrical quality to it. I loved being with fourth graders again and guiding them on their own poetic journeys.

To culminate this season long experience, we created an anthology of their poems. Each student received a copy just before the holiday break. Here's the cover, designed by a student named Jacob. I love how he tied together some of the generators we used for poems. One day, each student brought in a special object from nature and used that to write a poem. Another day, they looked at photographs I brought in. They also made maps of their important play places and then wrote a poem about a specific place on the map. Can you see those ideas represented in his images?
Every student (and their teacher, Mr. Davignon) included at least one poem in the anthology. Since many students wrote poems from photographs I had taken, those photographs also appeared along with the poems.

Starting today, with the poets' permission, I'll share some of their work. I'll post more over the next month or so.

Aside from correcting an occasional spelling error, I have not altered these poems in any way. I offered guidance about how to revise poetry but the work is entirely their own. I hope you enjoy their work. If you do, please tell them by leaving a comment.

The Crab 
When I look I see
a fearsome yet strong animal.
It is humble
and never backs down from a battle.
His claws are like boxing gloves
his shell is like his shield.
The ocean is his battlefield.

                                                      by Elijah S.

The Silent Hawk
It’s eyes
watch all day for prey
Then it goes down to fight
It’s feet as sharp
as a shark’s jaw
It’s claws as big
as a lion’s paw
It blends in
the sky
Like an overwatch

by Max M.

I am
Up, up, up, on the
highest branch. Below
there’s a logger, OH NO,
Did I just say, LOGGER!
“TIMBER,” here I go
again, falling

by Dante C.

Ortiz is up
it’s full count
there’s no doubt.
The pitcher beams a fastball
   It’s  blasted into  the  air
HOMERUN !      
 But I can’t look
He’s…….. OUT
I did a big pout
But wait

                                                 by Ethan P.      

Humming Bird

Humming bird, humming bird
Where will you fly?
With your wings moving so fast

As you go by
Zig-zagging from flower to flower
Just like cheetahs dashing by

                                                    Looks like you have no wings
                                                    I think you’re attached to strings

                                                   by  Jakob M.

Please leave a comment for these young poets.

Related Posts:


  1. Awesome! It would be great to turn those photos into art.

  2. Thanks, Linda. We had big plans of making more visual art with the poems but there never seems to be enough time in a school day.

  3. What a fantastic experience. My 9 year old would have loved something like this (he has just finished grade 4 here in Oz).

    Those poems are fantastic. Well done :)

  4. I love all of these! "Climbing to Fall" is especially creative, not just for the form (love it!) but also for the humor. Terrific work!

  5. Those are great! I loved Dante's - may be because it's also visual. Thanks again for your help!

  6. I love them all, especially Dante's. I am so impressed with children. It is awesome that the school welcomes and values you being a part of your son's class. What a win win!

  7. Popping over from the comment challenge page....I am loving the figurative language in these poems. Well done! I especially like the hummingbird "I think you're attached to strings" and the crab's shell as shield.

  8. It is so wonderful to see young kids doing poetry. Those are really good ones too.

  9. Melissa, Mary, Juana, Carol, and Dorine,
    Thanks so much for dropping by and leaving a comment!

    We had so much fun together. I'm lucky because my son's teacher welcomes me in their classroom.

    Thanks for noting the figurative language- the kids have been working hard to include figurative language in their work.

    I hope you'll all come back next Friday to see more student work.

  10. OK, readers, I'm going to geek out a bit here...(KidLit Peeps are my rock stars after all).

    Irene Latham, I'm honored you visited my blog! I LOVED your book Leaving Gees Bend. After I read it, I passed it along to my mom to read. She's a quilter and she loved it, too. Thanks for visiting.

  11. This is great! I love the crab poem. What amazing work you're doing. Ad I am so glad for this Comment Challenge which originally led me to your blog. I'm a follower now!

  12. I love these poems! All of them are fantastic - I especially love the imagery in the Crab poem. I remember in 5th grade one of my classmate's mother came in as the author in residence and we all wrote stories. It was so fun and I felt like a true author. Thanks for posting the poems here.

  13. Hello Mrs. Cusolito,
    We are currently discussing your blog in our Morning Meeting. We especially enjoyed reading our work and the posted comments. Thank you for sharing these with the world. You are a wonderful poet and writer! Thanks for your help in teaching my students about poetry. Best wishes for 2012!
    -Craig "Mr. Dav." Grade Four Teacher R.M.S. and class

  14. Miranda, Thanks for visiting and "following."

    Camille, I'm glad you had such a positive writing experience in 5th grade. Did it inspire you to further your studies in Children's lit?

    MR. Dav's class...HELLO all of you wonderful poets! I'm glad you dropped by. Did you see how many people love your poems? Be sure to come back and see more. I'll be posting more poems every Friday until each of you has at least one poem published here.

  15. Thanks for the poetry. I checked out your blog via the challenge. We both have similar high school experiences, but mine was in Thailand. Happy New Year to you Michelle

  16. Thanks for dropping by, Laurie. Were you a RotEx student too?

  17. Dear Students and Teachers,
    Thank you for your hard work to create these beautiful poems --- what wonderful word choices and images!
    Mrs. Hartley

  18. Thanks for dropping by, Mrs. Hartley. We're glad you liked them!