The Poetry of Place - Mid-Pacific Institute

1/2 Balubar

The Poetry of Place

Posted on October 15, 2017

by Coral Balubar on October 15, 2017

We continued to develop our expertise on the place we've been exploring for inquiry (the hill above the Aloha grass). To do this, we once again returned to the non-fiction expert texts that initially guided us towards taking the close-up photos. This time, we took a look at the words in the text. We read phrases like, "As long as a ruler" and "slides under rocks" and discussed what else the children noticed that experts do. Dominic noticed that the expert not only showed close-up photos, but told us information about the topic. Tayla noticed that the expert gave readers examples, and Reece noticed that the words were detailed words. Armed with the knowledge of what experts do in their writing, we were then ready to write descriptions to explain our close-up photos.

With Reece's idea of "detail words," we moved towards discussing the use of "stale" and "juicy" words. Stale words being just that--lackluster words that are overused, no longer fresh, and do not invoke much of a reaction within the reader. Juicy words are the opposite--words that pop and shine within the writing, causing the reader's senses to come alive. The children practiced changing some stale words like the word "go" into juicy words like "slithered" and then we were ready to begin writing descriptions for their close-up pictures. I was hoping that the children would be able to use a few juicy words or phrases here and there, what I wasn't expecting was writing like this!

"A xylophone symphony tree has bumpy bumps just like scales on a fish"

"This is the egg that is white as snow"

"Twisty, tiny"

"As black as space"

"Thorns like a pattern"

"This rock is gold as the sun"

"The leaves are as leafy green as moss"

"The eggs wait silently. Are they lost? No, they will be lonely for about 10 days."

I read some of the most powerful lines of each child's description and read Emma and May's complete descriptions.

Emma's read like this:

Xylophone Tree

Music tree

Its musical notes

All over that campus

It flies with the wind

And May's read like this:

Wow Tree

The shiny and smooth

The pokie thorn sticking out of the tree

The crispy tree

Grows and grows

We then discussed what the children noticed about the children's writing. Jacoby noticed that the words gave us feelings. Terushi articulated that the words had a beautiful flavor, and his heart got warm from the words. Alex noticed the words were quiet and peaceful. Paxton and Bryson could see the tree growing and rain falling from listening to the words. And Luke announced that the children's words sounded like poems!

IMG_0834.JPGLuke's observation of the words sounding like poetry led the children to use their "juicy" word descriptions and their close-up photos as inspiration to write poems about their area of expertise. The class was abuzz with poets at work! As the children worked, I circulated the room, reading aloud lines of the poems being developed. This seemed to inspire the poets further as they rushed to grab another piece of poetry paper and write a second and sometimes even a third or fourth poem about our special place and the treasures there. It was truly inspiring to see and feel the inner poets in our class come alive! From here, the children are considering what we might do with these beautiful poems and how we might best be able to connect them back to the place that inspired the writing. With that, I will leave you with some of the children's poetic words--

Egg Burst

Eggs wait silently all around us.

The wind sings a silent song.

Until they hatch, the silent song floats away.

But the young ones remember the silent song.



It has tunes.

The wind was breezy

Wind is so fresh

I can feel it

It's so peaceful




The cocoon sits on the tree alone


Nothing moves

It is silent

Peaceful birds fly by

A worm slithers by the cocoon


Goldie Rock

The rock sits there day and night.

The color of gold glows in the sun.

The rock is rough.



Nature is the song of

Four trees.

Nature is

The stones of the mountains.

Nature is silence.


The rock stays at the hill

This rock gold as a sun

And a weird giant cucumber leaf


Ouch! Song

Ouch! Wowch! Yeowch!

Thorns are like horns

They hurt!


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