The other morning I heard a poem called accidents on The Writers' Almanac that I wanted to share with my students. When I pulled up the text on the website however, I found that the poet, Marcia Popp, uses no capitalization, punctuation, or line breaks in her work. In my mind, that made it an even better choice for my class.
After their initial confusion with the poem, the students decided that they really liked its narrative and could relate to its message, and they also professed a new-found appreciation for punctuation, which, of course, is priceless in a sixth grade class. Since then, I've purchased Popp's collection comfort in small rooms and each and every poem in the book is an absolute gem.
Yesterday my students turned in their final drafts of three free verse poems they have been writing. One boy who is new to our class submitted the following:
today is a beautiful morning its breezing the football is going to be hard to throw because the wind is going to blow it away my brother throws it hits me in the face i get the football and i feel like i am flying my brother said where is your sweater i say oh snap i am in trouble it is stuck on a branch i climb to get it and we keep playing i throw the ball so high my brother is amazed beat that i say ok he throws the ball i have never seen anyone throw it like that only football players
When I spoke to him about it, I found that his imitation of Popp's style was unintentional. Oh well, we have some work to do, but at least he's got a bit of a natural poet in him.