Poetry is in full swing in my room. We're exactly six days in, and my writers are officially poets now, more or less. A few of them blew my mind on day one, especially Carson, who wrote, "A crayon is like a magical stick of a rainbow. So pretty." This guy is a natural. Not every poem he writes is a magical-stick-of-a-rainbow kind of poem of course, but there's no doubt he's feeling satisfied with himself most days. I wish that for all my writers. If only I could surgically implant his poetic way with words into all their smart parts. Fortunately, under the right conditions, many Carson-like poets have emerged, but there are still those who are simply going through the motions. They have yet to find their way.
I believe many of my writers are catching on because they've heard great poems by poets of all ages repeatedly celebrated and investigated. They've watched me model (and muddle) my own way through the poetic process. They've "shared the pen" with me as we've written poems together during shared writing. They've been part of daily mini-lessons and literally spent hours simply practicing their new-found skills.
After all this hard work though, the question still remains. How do I ensure they all experience the satisfaction that Carson feels when he finds a powerful poem at his fingertips? I refuse to abandon any of the above strategies, but the one I know I need more of is shared writing. Routman grabs my attention when she says "literacy success for all." That certainly includes those who are just going through the motions. The benefits of writing together is so lengthy I won't take time to elaborate here, but after several repeated shared writing experiences, the evidence of transfer should be apparent in each writers' personal writing in some way or another.
When we've penned a poem together that's a magical-stick-of-a-rainbow kind of poem, the group's reaction is priceless. The air of satisfaction is palpable. That's how I imagine Carson feels most days, and that's what I want for everyone. It will take more shared writing experiences to ensure that kind of successful feeling for all.