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Sunday, April 22, 2018

One Could Do Worse ...

     I taught a poetry unit to three fourth-grade classes this month and because they are studying New Hampshire all year I tied the lesson into their study of their home state. I introduced them to Robert Frost, and just one of his poems, Birches, because the birch is the official state tree. We listened to the whole poem several times, but also enjoyed the animated excerpt below.

     Each student generated a cloud of words and phrases in response to other things that are common or iconic in the Granite State,

and eventually they each wrote a poem of place.

     Working with young poets always brings surprising rewards. This time, I unexpectedly found myself coaching the kids to get out in nature and experience her gifts with all of their senses. I shared a poem of mine that resulted from a walk in the woods. I may have been a bit of a scolding nag when it became clear that many of them had never collected rocks, smelled lilacs, or touched a birch tree.

      My great reward came at the end of Friday afternoon when a generally quiet and subdued nine-year-old girl came up to me, and confided in her soft voice, " I found a birch tree in my yard, and I swang from it."

     Poetry to my ears.

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