Friday, April 30, 2010

Arbor Day + National Poetry Month = Tree Poems

I’ve so enjoyed the poetry activities this National Poetry Month that I’m sorry to see it end. (April, are you ready for a break?) I spoke about poetry this month to elementary school students from prekindergarten to sixth grade and worked with young poets in Merrill, Marshall, and Winneconne, Wisconsin—and I loved every minute of every visit! Hello and thanks to all the helpful teachers, librarians, and PTO organizers!

Today is Arbor Day (read about it here), so I’m including a shape poem I wrote about trees and my own writer’s dilemma.

To celebrate Arbor Day and National Poetry Month, read some tree poems! Kristine O’Connell George’s Old Elm Speaks: Tree Poems is one of my all-time favorite collections. Poetrees is a new collection by Douglas Florian.

Writing Workout: Write a Shape Poem

A shape poem is also called a concrete poem or a spatial poem. You can find them in collections such as Doodle Dandies: Poems that Take Shape by J. Patrick Lewis, Splish Splash and Flicker Flash: Poems by Joan Bransfield Graham,  and A Poke in the I: A Collection of Concrete Poems, edited by Paul B. Janeczko.

To write a shape poem, choose a concrete object so you have a shape to work with. Write the poem first. Then fit it into its form. I used the WordArt feature in Microsoft® Office Word to create the poem above. Have fun!

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  1. What a great poem, JoAnn. And I have the same dilemma!

  2. Thanks for the tips on how to do a shape poem. I tried to explain this to a class I was working with to no avail.

    I like your poem, too.

  3. I can get my children haiku beautifully but they always shape things reminiscent of splattered droppings - I think I need your skills ;)

  4. My preschooler absolutely loves Doodle Dandies. The snake poem is her favorite.

  5. By the way, we also celebrated Arbor Day with poetry and a "POET-TREE"

  6. Thanks, JoAnn, for the poem. Also, thanks for explaining how you made your poem. I didn't know about WordArt.

    Laura Evans
    all things poetry


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