KidPoWriMo Day 11 ~ Mixing it up

Congratulations! The month is one third of the way finished!

With apologies for the delay in posting the 11th prompt, I am working to catch up.

Today is when we pause for a moment and remember what we have covered so far this month. If you like one of the lessons more than another, that is OK. You may like working with iambs more than writing haiku. If so, then write using iambs in most of your poems. If simile’ makes you smile but you don’t have time for rhyme, use more simile’ and don’t let anyone stop you.

You may have noticed that the prompts I have posted have not been very specific. I have not asked you to write about a particular thing that I choose, like “apple pie” or a “purple pillow”. Although everyone reading this may have seen these things and knows what they are, some of you might not be as inspired as I think you’d be if I gave you a specific prompt. What I have tried to do is to get you to think of things that inspire you and let you write about them.

[Think about this: if I did give a prompt to write about a purple pillow, and your teachers and parents and other poets were reading the posted poems, we would have so many poems about purple pillows, the internet would be overdecorated!]

Whether you are using the prompts found here or writing your own poem each day, you have freedom of choice. This is true even when there is no #KidPoWriMo.

Poetic word of the day: art (click here to read the definition on the Bing Dictionary)

Poetry is art created with words. But, the things poets write about are not always beautiful. Still with our words, we draw attention to the things we choose as topics for our poetry, and we do so in an artistic way.

Have you ever just talked to someone about something that is important to you? When someone writes a poem about an important topic and shares it, people are more likely to pay close attention to what they say, especially because they took time and effort to write the poem in the first place.

You can mix two, three or four (or more) of the prompts so far. But, if another poet chose the same prompts, the poems you write would still be very different. The prompts I am offering here leave lots of room for you to use your own creativity and express your individuality.

PROMPT: Below is a list of possible mix-ups (or mash-ups). Pick one of them and use it to write your poem.

– rhyming, ode containing simile’ ~ the ode can be to something you found or got while on summer vacation

– 5-7-5 haiku, written backwards that includes personification ~ write the whole haiku backwards starting with the last word of the last line

– 6-word haiku that uses iambs that includes alliteration ~ it is OK if all six words do not begin with the same letter – see how many you can make fit into your haiku

FOR PARENTS OF YOUNGER CHILDREN: Combining alliteration,  iambs and word cards, have your child(ren) pick a letter and write down some left-foot iambs that are nouns and that begin with that letter. Pick another letter and do the same thing, but with adjectives. Each card should have two syllables (either one two-syllable word or two one-syllable words).

Use the whisper-shout technique to make sure they are left foot iambs. Build a stack of 20 words (10 nouns and 10 adjectives in separate piles). Pick one card from the middle of each stack. Read the adjective card and then the noun card. Write more iamb cards as you think of more words.

Once you have four combinations you like, copy them onto paper and think of verbs and adverbs (and other parts of speech) you can add. If your younger child(ren) do not know about the parts of speech yet, help them think of words that make their cards into a sentence, even if the words are not iambs.

The randomness of combining iambs written on cards and the fact that you and your child(ren) can pick pairs you like, will help you begin a poem that you will feel proud to have written with your kids.

NOTE: Rhyme, Iamb, 5-7-5 haiku, Ode, writing backwards, alliteration, spoken word, simile’, personification, four-line stanza and six-word haiku are some of the topic covered on the first 10 days of KidPoWriMo.

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KidPoWriMo Day 10 ~ Haiku Part 2

When you think about poetry, what comes to your mind?

Poems can be small, like haiku, or smaller. Have you ever heard of a one word poem? I remember one that made the news because it won a contest and was only one word in length (and that one word was misspelled). Some poems may have a few dozen words, or a handful of stanzas. Epic poems can be larger than chapter books or novels.

I think of an epic poem like a blockbuster movie. Spoken word poems that take up a few pages, I think of as television shows. Sonnets, pantoums and other poems that fit on one page are like a music video. And haiku are like a snap shot or photograph. Comparing them to another genre of art helps me when choosing how much detail I want to add to my poems.

One third of the way through the month, we have lots of tools we can combine to write hundreds of poems. And there is so much more we can add to our poetic tool chest.

On Day 3, we learned about 17 syllable haiku, the one that has 5 syllables in the first line, 7 in the middle line and 5 in the final line. With respect to the poets who prefer to write haiku that is smaller than 17 syllables, I decided that we would take some time to do that, too.

When writing a poem that must be a certain number of syllables, we sometimes have to add words that may be unnecessary or remove words that we thought were important to the message we want in our poem. When writing smaller haiku poems, a poet can make a message without worrying about counting syllables. No extra words have to be added and no important words need to be taken away.

Poetic word of the day: “succinct” (Click here to read the definition on YourDictionary.com)

Haiku, loosely defined, is a small poem. The #haiku hashtag is very popular on Twitter. Another popular hashtag is #sixwords. People use it to write poems, stories, sayings or whatever they like.

PROMPT: Write a 6-word poem / haiku. Put two words in each of 3 lines. As a story has a beginning, middle and ending, give your poem a beginning, middle and end. After the reader finishes reading the first two lines, they may think they know where the poem is going, but you may surprise them with the last word.

I will use  an example from my own daily haiku project:

Haiku #150 (May 21)

green thumb
long weekend
container garden

by Cheryl Crockett

Notice, small words, such as “a”, “the”, “if”, “is”, are missing from this poem. Still, my message is clear.

PARENTS OF YOUNGER CHILDREN: One at a time, have your child(ren) say a word that comes to mind, a noun. Then have everyone else add a word. They do not have to be favorite words. Go around the room a few times. Add adjectives to the nouns, using a different color ink or crayon. Instead of writing the words on a piece of paper or in a notebook, an older person can write them on 3 x 5 cards.  Put the cards on the side of the table, a pile near each person. Have each person put one word in the center of the table and read the word pairs you see. If anyone likes a word pair, leave those two words in the center of the table and take away the other word cards. Say and write more words to complete a six word haiku. Do this again and again. This is not a game where someone wins and someone else loses. It is an activity where everyone works together to make a poem. Save the cards you make for future poetry activities.

KidPoWriMo Day 9 ~ Four by four

Last Tuesday, we learned about iambs and feet in writing poetryUsing this, today we will write the first four lines of a poem. Each line will contain four iambs.

REVIEW OF DAY 2: One iamb is also known as a foot that has two syllables where one is stressed and the other is unstressed. I suggested that we name an iamb with the first syllable stressed a: “left-foot” and one with the stress in the 2nd syllable a “right-foot”. An iamb can be one two-syllable word or two one-syllable words.  For this exercise, stressed syllables will always be next to unstressed syllables. In other words, alternate the unstressed with stressed syllables.

The following example will use “right-feet” and the stressed syllables will be in UPPERCASE letters.

The 2nd line of a favorite children’s rhyme has three right-foot iambs:

the MOUSE ran UP the CLOCK” (from “Hickory, Dickory Dock”)

The line has six syllables (3 feet or iambs) where the even-numbered syllables are stressed (2nd, 4th & 6th).

Each line of the poem we will write today has an added iamb for a total of 4 iambs per line.

Poetic word of the day: “stanza” (click here to see the definition on Wikipedia)

A stanza is a part of a poem. It can contain as few as two, up to almost as many lines as you like. Similar to a paragraph, which can contain any number of sentences and is a section of a written work, a stanza is a section of a poem.

When putting your words together, feel free to use the whisper-shout exercise, from Day 2,  to make sure you have put the stresses in the right place.

Pick your topic and write it down. I am creating as I write this post. My topic is “snacks”. I will write my whole creative process. Let’s write together, shall we?

I am going to write backwards so I can put my topic word at the end of a line and because I know it will be easy to find other words that rhyme with it.

SNACK

The word “HEALthy” is a “left-foot” iamb, but when I put a one syllable word after it, I can make it work in my line. But, because we are only using right-feet iambs, I will try something else. My strategy will be to use as many one-syllable words as I can.

to GET my SNACK

I have two iambs and I put my topic word at the end of the line. Next, I will think of words to go in front of them:

i JUST can’t WAIT to GET my SNACK

Now, I have a line! I could use it to open my poem as the first line, or it could be at the end of my poem. Where would you put this line among the four? I will figure this out as I write the next lines.

my CHOICE is ONE that’s GOOD for ME

OK, a second line came quickly. Now, for a third. As I start my third lines, If I am going to use rhyme, I need to keep “ME” and “SNACK” in mind.

some GRAPES

my SACK

inSIDE

i PUT

This is the order that the iambs came to my mind. When I put them together into a line, I get:

i PUT some GRAPES inSIDE my SACK.

And I have rhymed SACK with SNACK. Knowing that I still need to rhyme something with ME, the word “AGREE” came to my mind and it is a right-foot iamb! Yay!

do YOU aGREE

don’t YOU aGREE

if YOU aGREE

I wrote a few options of phrases for my fourth line.

that’s WHAT i THINK do YOU aGREE

i’d LIKE to SHARE if YOU aGREE

These almost work, but I am not happy with what I have written so far. Should I think of another word or phrase that rhymes with ME?

you SEE

a TREE

the BEE

my KNEE

for FREE

with GLEE

(from “A”) to “Z”

OK, I will start my fourth line over again writing iambs that go with “for FREE”

mySELF

i PICKED

each ONE

them ALL

them FROM

a VINE

I have more iambs than I need, so I will put some together to make my fourth line:

i PICKED them ALL mySELF for FREE

Let me try another combination:

i PICKED them FROM a VINE for FREE

Now, I have four completed lines that I can put together into a stanza.

I just can’t wait to get my snack.

My choice is one that’s good for me.

I put some grapes inside my sack.

I picked them all myself for free.

I can reorganize the lines so that the line I wrote first is somewhere else in my stanza:

I put some grapes inside my sack.

I picked them all myself for free.

I just can’t wait to get my snack.

My choice is one that’s good for me.

I can put my lines together is many different ways. I can pick the one I like best and put it in my poem. When you read my lines, you can feel the rhythm as you say the stressed and unstressed syllables.

How did your stanza take shape? Notice in my creative process, shared above, some ideas seem good at first but later don’t work the way we thought they would. It is OK to take a couple of steps back and write a few more ideas to see which ones you like best.

Now do this again to make your 2nd stanza and at least a 3rd. Write as many as you like to finish your poem.

 FOR PARENTS WITH YOUNGER CHILDREN: Play with iambs made from one syllable words. Start with the example line “the MOUSE ran UP the CLOCK” and use it like a template. Take one of the stressed words out of the line and replace it with another word chosen by your child(ren).  Then pick any other word and replace it. Do this one word at a time until you have written a new original line. My example: “my PUP went OUT to PLAY”. Let the whole family help change the words. Write down each line, try to make pairs of lines rhyme. Finally, put them together.

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KidPoWriMo Day 8 ~ Personification

Have you ever read a story or poem with objects that do things that humans do? But, you know that if you were to hold that object in your hand, it probably wouldn’t do anything like the way you read it.

When you write about something that is not human but make it behave like one, your are using a poetic device called: “personification”.

Poetic word of the day: “personification” (click here to see the definition on Merriam-Webster’s Word Central)

Personification is my favorite thing to do in a poem when I want to be funny. It helps me make the humor happen and it helps readers look at the topic from a different angle.

When you use personification in your writing, you can make anything you write about do anything you want. All you need is your imagination (and maybe pencil and paper). If you have a game you haven’t played in a long time, you may imagine it whispering to you, “When can we play again?” or it might say loudly, “You’re too old for me! Let me go  to your cousin’s house.”

Personification doesn’t always mean making things talk. Anything a person does can be used to personify something that is not a person.

If you decided to wait until tomorrow to do some work you were supposed to do yesterday, all of the work you have to do in one day may keep you from having any fun. Using personification, you may write about this:  “my chores are ganging up on me” or “my chores have gotten so big, they could try out for the football team!”

PROMPT: Write a story poem using personification. Make it at least 8 lines long.  See if you can combine one of the previous lessons and write with iambs, rhymealliteration or maybe simile’.

FOR PARENTS OF YOUNGER CHILDREN: Personify some items your child(ren) will use in their poems. For instance, a lamp that lights the page on which poems are written can be personified when you make it talk about that. The pen or pencil can add how they shape the words and make them appear on the page. And the notebook can talk about how it feels to hold the important poetic words your child writes. Finally, the three could have an argument about which one of them is the most important, and why.

When riding in a car or on a bus, your child(ren) can personify different things seen through the window. “The blue car is moving slowly because ‘he’s lost…” or “he’s sad” or “he is hungry… where is the gas station?”. “The sun keeps playing hide and seek with your child and the clouds.”

You probably already use personification when you pretend to give a teddy bear a voice  that sings a lullaby or when a forkful of broccoli “asks” your child to eat it. Maybe an empty room in your home “gets angry” if the light is left on or the bathroom sink “cries” if dirty hands pass by without being washed (feel free to use any of these).

Let me add one caution: Consider setting a boundary around this poetic device. When poetry or creative time is over, make sure your child knows they need to stop playing with personification for now. There is so much of it on television, in books and games, they could just as easily stay in personification mode all day. They might even flip it and use it on you when they want something from you or if they don’t want to do something that needs to be done. There is a time to be poetic and a time to understand that cars don’t really get hungry and lamps, pens and notebooks do not have arguments.

My computer and I now bid you “good-bye”.

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KidPoWriMo Day 7 ~ Smile for Simile’

When you hear people talk about a “poetic device”, they mean a “tool” used to make poetry. What I mean by “tool” is: a way of putting words together. This is different from your pen, pencil, paper or computer, etc. These things are the tools you use to write poetry, yes. But, the ways of putting words together are your skills, or the tricks you have up your sleeve.

Simile’ is a popular way of putting words together, especially for poets. It adds meaning and helps the reader better understand what the writer means. Simile’ puts two things together and compares them. You will find a clue when you are reading simile’ if the phrase or sentence contains “as” or “like”.

Poetic word of the day: “simile'” (click here to see the definition on About.com)

IMPORTANT: Not all phrases that contain “as” or “like” are simile’. Read my sentence: “As I sit in my folding chair, I watch the clouds drift by.” This begins with “as” but I did not compare two things.

Examples:

“He is as slow as molasses.” – this compares the slowness of a person with molasses, a thick sweet syrup.

You are like my security blanket. – this compares a person with a blanket and how both create a feeling of safety.

“As the deer pants for streams of water so my soul pants for you, my God”. Ps. 42:1 (NIV) – this compares a thirsty deer with a person’s need for a higher power.

“Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives.” – this compares grains of sand to days on a calendar.

(“Days of Our Lives” television show opening sequence)

PROMPT: How many pairs of things can you put together using “like” or “as”? Write a poem with two lines of simile’: one using “like” and the other using “as”.

FOR PARENTS OF YOUNGER CHILDREN: Gather some everyday objects in one place. Talk with your child about the properties of these items: “The football does not bounce where we expect it to go and it has a tough, bumpy cover.” “This raw egg has an odd shape but it doesn’t bounce.” “Mom’s wide-brimmed hat has a saucer shape and can be tossed across the room.” “The crystal fruit bowl is very shiny; the sun reflects off of it.”  Have everyone say what the properties bring to mind. Hold up each object and say a simile’ based on the comments you have shared. Write down the simile’s you create.

Make sure younger ones know how to say “simile'”. This is a unique word. In the days ahead, you will have many opportunities to use simile’ as your child(ren) find more things to compare.

Now you can smile for simile’. You and your young poet(s) have a new poetic trick up your sleeves.

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KidPoWriMo Day 6 ~ Spoken Word Saturday

It’s Saturday and it’s still the weekend. Let’s have some more fun!

Before the internet, we had television. Before that, there was radio. Before that, the only way you could see a live show was to go sit in an auditorium with performers on stage.

Long ago, poetry was communicated on paper. People would buy or borrow books, then recite the poetry they contained for family and friends. Unless a poet happened to be visiting a town or city nearby, the only way to hear his (or her) poems was for someone else to read them.

Today, a poet can read an original poem in front of a video camera and someone halfway around the world can see it within seconds after it is uploaded. Yesterday’s Day 5 post “Writing Backwards” was seen by someone in South Africa who “liked” it. He and I chatted back-and-forth late into the night (Washington DC time); in his time zone, I am pretty sure it was closer to really early in the morning.

Poetic phrase of the day:slam poetry” (click here to read the definition on WordIQ.com)

Because I have competed in and hosted poetry slams, I have had to explain to many people what a slam is. You might think of slam as what somebody does to a door when they are angry. Putting a word that sounds so violent next to a quiet, gentle word like poetry can be confusing to those who have never heard those two words together before.

In my own words: a slam is a poetry show where poets compete against one another by performing their spoken-words.

You can learn a lot by watching other people perform their spoken-words, so, watch this video before reading the prompt below. It features kids who are learning to write spoken-word. Only parts of each poem are presented in this video.

While watching, what stood out to you? Did you notice that many of the poets were not reading from a piece of paper? That’s because they practice their poems so they can recite them from memory. Most of the poets were speaking quickly and projecting their voices. You may remember that one girl talked about how the poets used rhyme in the video she watched.

PROMPT: Write a spoken word poem that takes between one to two minutes to read. A poem that fills up one typed page will take about a minute to read. If you practice it and read it quickly, the time will be shorter. Pick a topic that is important to you and write as if your words have to make it important to everyone else.  Use the tools from days 1 through 5. When you are finished writing, time yourself reading your poem and practice it until you can remember it.

Spoken-word poetry is one of the most entertaining kinds of poetry. It is also very flexible in the choice of styles you can use to make your poem. People add all sorts of extras, like props, sound effects, costumes when they present their poem to an audience to make it more entertaining. These are things that people cannot get when reading the same poem from a book. Do your best to write your best poem before adding special, extra things. A good poem will be appreciated, even if all you do is read it.

Free-style is one way of presenting poetry where a poet rhymes in the moment off the top of his head. There is no paper and the poem did not exist before the poet stood before an audience. I am amazed when people do this. Free-style doesn’t mean that the poet never writes anything on paper, in fact, they probably write so much that the words are ready to come out whenever and however the poet wants. When I see someone perform free-style, I think it is awesome. Still, I feel sad if the performance is not written down or recorded anywhere so it can be repeated for others to see, hear or read. So, I encourage you to write everything on paper if you want to keep it.

FOR PARENTS WITH YOUNGER CHILDREN: Have a poetry night in your living room. Have your child practice in advance to remember a favorite poem or portion of a picture book by heart. If they have written or dictated an original poem to you, include it in your event. Ask them what kinds of gestures they can use while performing. After each performance, snap your fingers instead of clapping your hands. Select some spoken word videos from YouTube you deem appropriate for your family to watch together after your living room slam.

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KidPoWriMo Day 5 ~ Writing backwards

For most people, Friday is a fun day because it is the start of the weekend. Feeling free of school or work for the two days ahead can make Friday the happiest day of the week. Finishing a week that also included a federal holiday can lift the happiness level to a fever pitch.

To keep the fun in our Friday, today, we will focus on being creative. Writing backwards is a technique you can use to make rhyming words work together. When we write in school, the words in our sentences go onto the page in the same order as we would speak them. When we start to write backwards, we are not sure what our finished sentence will say. Not knowing for sure where we are going helps us be creative.

Now, did you notice something about my opening sentences today? I used a lot of words that began with the same letter.  I will confirm the letter later.

Poetic word of the day: alliteration (click here to read the definition on Merriam-Webster.com)

“Alliteration” happens when you begin two or more words in a phrase or sentence with the same consonant sound or blend. Tongue-twisters are very good examples of alliteration: “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers” and “She sells sea shells…” are two you might know. They are poems, too.

PROMPT: 1. Pick a pair of words that rhyme and write one of them on the right side of  your paper. Write the other word below the first word a line or two down the page. Nouns are what I recommend for this exercise. These words will end your poetic phrases or sentences.

I will create my example lines below. As I write this, I do not know what my poem will be about. For my rhyming words, I chose:

robe and globe

2. Next, put an adjective before the each word: I chose

cozy robe

spinning globe

3. Add words, one-by-one, to the beginning of your word pairs to build poetic phrases or sentences. Try using alliteration with two words that are side-by-side.

comfy, cozy robe  (…see where I used alliteration?)

dizzy, spinning globe

My finished pair of rhyming lines are:

Lounging in my comfy, cozy robe,

I think about the dizzy, spinning globe.

The two lines make sense together and I can continue to write more lines, backwards or forward to complete my poem.

4. Finish your poem by adding more lines that make sense with the first two. Add as many lines as you like.

FOR PARENTS WITH YOUNGER CHILDREN: Think of some letters and the sounds they make. Say some of them aloud with your child(ren). Pick one of the letters and make a new tongue twister out of words that begin with that letter. Build one of the poetic lines backwards. The lines do not have to rhyme. Write down your new tongue twister poem. Have your child(ren) recite it for your video camera.

*At the beginning of this post, I used lots of words that began with the letter “F”.

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