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Posts tagged ‘poetry’

Teacher to Teacher: Poetry Month

By Janice Ewing

I tend to have mixed feelings about special months designated for things that should be embedded into our teaching and celebrated all through the year. Take poetry, for instance. On the one hand, how bleak would the year be if we waited until April to incorporate it into our reading, writing, and teaching lives, and then dropped it like the much-maligned hot potato? Read more

Grateful to Be Traitful: Reflections on a PAWLP Day

By Janice Ewing

On the first day of summer

with much on our plates

a group got together

to discuss the Six Traits

For PAWLPers a day

of immersion in writing

is our kind of fun

our kind of exciting

Read more

“Writing Naked”

By Judy Jester

      The first time I wrote a piece for Voices in the Middle, I intended merely to document the nuts and bolts of the annual poetry slam I run at my school. It was fun. Here’s how you do it. But that’s more of the Instructor magazine type article. NCTE expects you to explain why such an endeavor is worthwhile. In attempting to clarify this for others, I discovered it myself. The poetry competition isn’t only fun; it fosters better writing as well. In what eventually resulted in Audience and Revision: Middle Schoolers Slam Poetry (Feb. 1997), I documented the results of interviews with students who said that they revised their poems far more because they knew they would be performing them in front of their peers. Read more

December Snowfall

By Kathy Barham

Scraping my car windows,
I remember a March snowstorm

in Virginia, a blizzard that made the pine trees
droop and the bird feeder sway

while we played long games of scrabble,
drank bourbon, dug out candles

and waited for the power to go out.
The second day, more of the same,

the lights still on, the jars full of water
still untouched, and glazed

as the cars we took brooms and shovels
to when the novelty of being snowed

in wore off and the men we said
we needed around had not

While the white wind

blew the snow we swept
back and tires whirred in their ruts,

I recalled the insistent way
the house finches had fought the air

and each other for food
and found myself pushing harder

while you manned the steering wheel.
On the third try,

when we rocked the first car
out, the only sounds

were the snow’s hollow crunch
and wing beats.


Kathy Barham profileKathy Barham, a native of Virginia, moved to Pennsylvania in 1998. She attended the Writing Institute in 2011 and retired from teaching English at Conestoga High School in 2012 after a 22-year career. She currently enjoys tutoring students in expository and creative writing, catching up on reading, and working on her own writing.

Why Teach Poetry in the Age of Common Core?

By Lynne Dorfman

During a recent staff development day that I was conducting, one of the participants asked, “So what you are saying is that we need to force our students to read and write poetry?”  Implicit in her question was that she felt many of her students would be resistant and would not choose read or write poetry unless forced.   I answered by saying that we need to expect our students to read and write in many genres.   We need them to take risks and try to convince our students that the ability to independently read and write poetry and myriad genres is a way to explore the options that are available to them.  Rather than to force your students to read and write poems, invite them to grow their capacities as learners and investigate new worlds through the promise of poetry. Read more