Word 11


My name is Beckie and I’m an addict. I’m addicted to words. Words at school, words at home, words at church… I read them, I write them, I define them, I even make them up. I love words. I don’t plan to go to rehab.

Seriously though. I absolutely love dealing with words. One of my all-time favorite things is poetry. I’m not very good at it, but I love the feel of it all. I’m sure I annoy my class each year when I announce with a dramatic flourish that we are starting our…wait for it…Poetry unit! (applause never comes…although I do wait for it…) I don’t get it!

My favorite year was probably my third year of teaching. I had a really great group. They were no exception when it came to the impending doom they felt as we started poetry. I did what any good teacher does when students start to balk. I threw away the curriculum and ran with it. I taught poetry MY way. We wrote poems about everything. We tackled the formidable Haiku. We wrote in rhyme and we wrote free verse. By the end of the unit, I had students in love with poetry.  Even my hardest nut to crack had entered a poetry contest with his Haiku entitled, Natural Disasters, and had won a spot in the national poetry book. It was magical.

6th grade is a step up in a lot of ways. We go deeper, we try harder, we stretch further and some kids…shut down more completely. I see kids literally closing themselves off when I mention the P-word. They’ve been burned by that mistress before and they aren’t having it. What’s a teacher to do? I’m upping my dog and pony show. I’m singing the praises of poetry. I’m even bringing in candy to inspire and motivate. I’m also writing my own poetry to model. Oh my, how I love to play with words.

I warned you I wasn’t very good, but does it matter? Poetry is such a personal thing. Poetry is getting your heart and head dancing together on paper for the world to see. Sometimes all the world sees is a jumble of words or a question, but who cares? It’s MY heart and My head doing the dance.

Here is my attempt at the assignment I’m giving this Thursday. Kids will get a 6th-grade-word list of about 100 words. They have to use at least 20 of them to create an original poem. It can rhyme or not, be a shape, be free verse…anything goes. Their challenge is to create a mood and mental image in their reader’s (my) head. Their topic is ‘being 11’ because most of them are around that age. I’d love to hear what you all think of my poem. It may grow or shrink…we shall see.

Being 11

Being 11 is a temporary pulsation in the vibrant virtuoso of life.

Standing at the altitude of change,

A spectator of inconvenient adjectives

A Kaleidoscope of unmercifully irritable, yet critical adaptations.


Being 11 is the equator between childhood and adult

Magnificent fancies pulsing through maturing nerves,

Mannerisms forming with the condescension of youth,

A Kaleidoscope of unmercifully irritable, yet critical adaptations.


Being 11 is the receipt of preliminary accomplishments.

Moving through the spectacle of this fantastic life,

Perched at the brink of immediate discovery.

A Kaleidoscope of unmercifully irritable, yet critical adaptations.


Being 11 is temporary.

An equator

The receipt



Poetry: Cause I said so.

Photo credit: http://www.coventryblaze.co.uk