Love that Poetry!

Through Georgia Heard’s Awakening the Heart, Valerie Worth’s All the Small Poems and Fourteen More, and especially Sharon Breech’s  Love That Dog, I have fallen more and more in love with poetry this week. IMG_6838.JPG.jpegIt started with a little help from Jack in Miss Stretchberry’s class. I don’t remember the last time I both laughed out loud and teared up a little bit within the same forty minutes. I couldn’t put this book down, and I couldn’t stop thinking about all the boys who will be in my future classes that I will want to share this book with! It is both a great introduction to poetry (hello, the use of free-verse), but also broke down stereotypes and barriers concerning poetry. I definitely want to find the sequel, Hate That Cat.




My parents were up for Fall Break, so I was inspired to write my own version of “Love That ______” with them as my focus! Check it out:

Love That Mom and Dad

Inspired by Walter Dean Meyers and Jack

Love that lady

like Huck loves Tom

I said I love that lady

like Huck loves Tom

Love to call her in the morning

love to call her

“Hey there, mom!”

Love that man

like a tween loves a fad

I said I love that man

like a tween loves a fad

Love to call him in the morning

love to call him

“Hey there, dad!”

This poem was really easy to write, so I think it would be very accessible to students, especially after reading this book. Love that Dog made me appreciate All the Small Poems more, and it gave me a “bug” for reading poetry, and feeling the music in my head when reading and writing poetry. Then, Awakening the Heart came in to give practical and engaging ideas for teaching students how to craft poetry. Here are some of the “take-aways” I got from chapters 4 and 5:

  • prose naturally improves when learning the craft of writing poetry
  • 2 different “poetry toolboxes” we need to teach students about (meaning and music)
    • meaning: image, metaphor, simile, personification, word choice, line breaks, beginnings/endings, title, observations
    • music: rhyme, repetition, patterns, rhythm, alliteration, word choices, line breaks, onomatopoeia, assonance, consonance  
  • making observations and being “open-window poets” are great ways to start students writing their own poems
  • heart-mapping helps students find where their poetry comes from and only they can decide
    • what should be in the center/on the edges/inside/outside?
  • students need to get in touch with their “inner poet” (what does it look like? what does it see? when was it born?)

Here is my own heart map I created:


Some of the activities I definitely want to try are the outdoor sketches with labeling, drawing the sounds of poetry, and the 6-room image! I also picked up some ideas from chapter 7 of Mentor Texts, such as using a non-fiction text and “tweaking” it to make it into a poem, the hello/goodbye scaffold, and having groups focus on a specific senses or colors within a poem. I loved the poem “I Could Live Like That” by Gerald Stern, and definitely identified with the feeling behind it. I want to be a writing teacher who is discovering, experimenting, and growing right alongside my students, hoping that my passion and enthusiasm for good writing will rub off onto them.

Citations (I highly recommend them all):

Creech, S. (2001). Love that dog. New York, NY: HarperCollins.

Dorfman, L. R., & Cappelli, R. (2007). Mentor texts: Teaching writing through children’s literature, K-6. Portland, Me.: Stenhouse.

Heard, G. (1999). Awakening the heart: Exploring poetry in elementary and middle school. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Rosenthal, A. K. (2016). Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal. New York, NY: Penguin Group USA.

VanDerwater, A. L. (1970). Hearts, Heart Maps, & a New Georgia Heard Book! Retrieved October 16, 2016, from

Worth, V. (1994). All the small poems and fourteen more. New York, NY: MacMillan Publishing Company.


One thought on “Love that Poetry!

  1. Kelly,
    I loved your poem inspired by Jack (inspired by Walter Dean Meyers). It was so funny and relatable! I love how even as we, as teachers, are navigating this for the first time you continually point this journey back to students. Being in grad school and not teaching in a classroom sometimes, for me, creates a disconnect between classroom and the best practices we are learning, simply because we can’t do them. I love how you use reflection to continue to think about these strategies as a learner and a teacher.


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