The world will have to make room for some additional future poets, because we started our poetry unit this week. It's my all-favorite writing unit. After two days spent simply looking at ordinary objects and jotting down fresh, new ways of seeing them, day three arrived with the great expectation that they could all write poetry. After a mini-lesson and a shared writing experience, I let them go for it, knowing full well that many would flounder but not for long.
"Hey guys. You've got to hear this. Listen to the poem Cassie just wrote." Constantly interrupting young writers during their workshop time is not necessarily ideal, but I've discovered the power of sharing what's going well while they're all still in the midst of the process. We don't have to wait until all the folders and pens are tucked away before spotlighting what a few authors have accomplished.
When I threw them into the deep end on only day three of the unit with high expectations of "Go forth and write poetry," I knew it would require more than my mini-lessons to pull this off. I knew they would end up teaching each other how to be poets. And I knew I couldn't wait until author's chair to make that happen. Sharing successes during writing time is so useful. I want to be careful about interrupting their flow, but at the beginning of a new unit, especially one like poetry, it's pivotal that they hear what's going well with other poets. As the quote says, their breakthroughs are contagious. After reading Cassie's poem came the words, "I bet you could try that too." And some of them indeed did. Glad I didn't wait.