A la Carte Menu for Ted’s Poetry Workshops
So that I completely meet (and hopefully exceed) your goals and expectations for my visit(s) to your classroom, I have prepared a menu of options for poetry ideas and topics that I might address in our workshops. Please look the menu over below, and indicate what you’d like me to cover. If I’m coming to your class for more than one session, please check more than one, in the order you’d like. Also feel free to turn the paper over and suggest a topic of your own, and I will try to meet your needs.
Your filling out this form and sending/faxing/or e-mailing your choice(s) back to me will help me prepare to make the most of my time with your kids. I have many fun, fabulous & kid-tested poetry writing exercises to share, all with the goal of getting your kids to start thinking and writing like poets. So let me know what sounds good to you.
(*A note: I begin almost every session with an invitation for every child to be at ease and comfortable participating. We all agree that there are no wrong answers, and every idea is brilliant. I also share many examples of poems (by famous folks, by kids, and by me) that illustrate the topic we are discussing that day. I’ll bring an easel for group work, but for individual writing I’ll need you to provide paper and pencils. We’ll need at least 45-50 minutes for each workshop.)
1. Making Visual & Sensory Comparisons
Good writers use visual and sensory tools like metaphor and simile to enhance the meaning of poems, and prose writing too. We’ll look at some amazing examples, then, as a group, ‘spin’ some metaphors and similes about ourselves, famous people, or natural objects. We will then write our own poems that compare things to other things using imagery and figurative language. I bring plenty of props to get us inspired. Often I’ll invite the kids to bring in an important object to write about.
2. Writing From The Heart
Getting kids to share feelings is one of the gifts of poetry. After reading some examples, and modeling the process, I will often set the kids loose to do a quick “Heart Map.” Then I’ll share some examples of ‘heartful’ poems, and we’ll begin to write our own poems about particularly important memories or special places. As always, we’ll share some rough drafts at the end of the session, if the poets wish to. Whew!
3. The Writing Process & Revision
Finding the best words, to say exactly what we want to say, is a writer’s greatest challenge. And getting kids to REVISE their work might just be a teacher’s greatest challenge. We’ll look at some real-life examples of poems of mine and my process of revision, we’ll write a quick group poem and revise it, then write one on our own. Using a short, kid-tested checklist (which I will leave behind for teachers), we’ll work through our poems, strengthening and polishing them, and then sharing them.
4. Rhyme and Rhythm
Every good poem, whether it’s rhyming or not, has a wonderful rhythm–a music all it’s own. We’ll look at some examples that use different metric forms. Then we’ll work as a group to complete the second lines of couplets, so that they have both a rhythm and rhyme that makes sense and hopefully is pleasing to the ear. Finally, as a group, or as an individual writing exercise, we will write a rhyming poem (or maybe a few couplets) that borrows a very comfortable & predictable form and theme from a famous rhyming poem. The results are always delightful. What kid doesn’t like to rhyme?!