Since admitting to you in my last post that I had avoided teaching poetry in my classroom for many years, my students have been working on a new batch of poems just in time for Poetry Friday. After reading William Carlos Williams’ poem This Is Just to Say, the boys and girls in my class fell in love with the false apology poem.
We started by making a list of the rotten things that we have done, but secretly felt no remorse for, in our writer’s notebooks. After choosing a juicy idea, my students began creating webs of words and phrases that included why the offended party was upset, but also why the offending act was quite enjoyable. As a teacher, it was wonderful to watch students giggling to themselves as they worked in their notebooks. Then, we took our ideas and began writing them into the four line stanzas used by Williams. This part proved to be tricky, as my fourth graders were tempted to write long sentences or phrases. In the end, I made a rule that no line could be more than four words (What, Mrs. Brittin??? We can’t do that!). I modeled by writing several of my own; one from my point of view and one from the point of view of each of my three children. Here is the one from my point of view.This Is Just To Say ~Jennifer Brittin I have hidden zucchini inside the brownies and watched you eat them bit by bit Forgive me they’re healthy and you’ll never know the difference
As I circulated to confer, I noticed that one group of students seemed to be off task in the front of the room. Making my way up to their circle, I saw that one of them was actually rolling on the floor.
“What’s going on up here?” I asked, already summoning up my disappointed teacher speech.
“You just have to hear this poem, Mrs. Brittin! It is soooo funny!”
And it was.
They all were.