Sunday, February 3, 2013

Writer's Workshop: Poetry


Having a class or a workshop at your home can be tough.  On one hand, it is wonderful because once a week the house gets a thorough cleaning, but on the other hand, there is the worry that the children like it, and are getting something beneficial from it.  



I was a bit worried after our momentum was a bit off due to absences from illness.  One thing I have learned from participating in several of these workshops is once the momentum is lost, it is very hard to regain.

needn't have worried, because this week was our best workshop yet!  I do not overly plan and I do not use a curriculum.  I look at where the childrens’ writing is from one week to the next and plan a lesson they may implement in their own writing.



This week I was inspired by our read aloud, Catherine Called Birdy.  The main character, Birdy, dreams of being a minstrel rather than a lady and she tries her hand at songwriting.  Throughout the book are her songs, or poems.  The children in our group have fictional pieces in development. They are adding illustrations and have developed a strong protagonist.  Adding something unexpected to the story, like a poem or a song, may be something they want to explore.

I pulled out one of my many books on writing, Immersed in Verse, and read up on poetry exercises.   I wrote one sentence in my journal and we passed the journal around each adding to it.  Next I took a piece of paper, wrote down a sentence, folded it over and passed it on so that the previous person does not see the sentence before.  When we were finished we shared the poems and our feeling about the process.  Overall, the group decided that they enjoyed the folded paper exercise best because it allowed them to write freely without the confines of the previous sentence.  They wanted to try again with a new topic.  So we did!

When our creative juices were really flowing, we took out our notebooks and laptops and began to write.  Some children asked to take a break from their story and do a quick write instead.  I took a line from one of our group poems, “I hate it when something good comes to an end.”.  We all began with this line and interpreted it very differently.  



At the end of our 90 minute session we had three poems and a completed (if not edited) piece of writing to show for our efforts.  The girls talked, laughed, and left workshop with big smiles on their face.  The feeling of joy stayed with me all day.  In fact, it became the inspiration for my next art journaling page....

10 comments:

Jenn said...

This is great! I love how you loosely plan from week to week based on their needs and interests. Sounds so fun! We may try that book you mentioned as our next read aloud:)

Susan Getty said...

I had to turn my comment moderation on for the very same reason!

I love what you're doing with your writer's group! I bet the group is very energizing for you...it sounds like things are going very well.

Frogcreek said...

Writer's group sounds wonderful, and I am glad you did not lose your mojo!

Jessica said...

Thanks Jenn. I am having fun with the class and the girls are writing so it is a win/win. I love having the time set aside knowing that every Friday the whole morning we are immersed in literacy!

Jessica said...

What is up with all the spam??!! My friend who is in IT said there are many bad things floating around the internet right now so if turning on moderation keeps a virus away, that is what we have to do!

Jessica said...

Thank Kim! I have the mid-winter blahs and I thought it was affecting the group but you know how kids' energy can just move you to a whole new place??....that is what happened and I am grateful.

Susan Getty said...

I know, I have been getting SO much spam!! I really regretted turning on the moderation, but I didn't feel like I had a choice.

I wanted to tell you, too, that I have put Catherine Called Birdy on our audio book list for the future, and I was able to put a hold on a copy of Immersed in Verse through our library system. I am curious to get my hands on that one :) Thanks for the suggestions!

Diane said...

I so wish my daughter could be a part of this group. She views writing as punishment, but I think in your type of class she might enjoy herself.
Blessings
Diane

Jessica said...

Immersed in Verse is perfect for a child who does not want to be "taught" but rather learns through exploration and self-discovery. I think your girls will enjoy it!

Jessica said...

I would recommend looking at local libraries to see if they offer this type of workshop. Ours does but it is for ages 8 and up and my girls prefer to write with older children who are fairly independent and write with the intention of sharing their work. If your library teen or YA department does not offer a workshop, perhaps they can be persuaded to!

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