About Hands on Stanzas

Hands on Stanzas, the educational outreach program of the Poetry Center of Chicago places professional, teaching Poets in residence at Chicago Public Schools across the city. Poets teach the reading, discussion, and writing of poetry to 3 classes over the course of 20 classroom visits, typically from October through April. Students improve their reading, writing, and public speaking skills, and participating teachers report improved motivation and academic confidence. You can contact Cassie Sparkman, Director of the Hands on Stanzas program, by phone: 312.629.1665 or by email: csparkman(at)poetrycenter.org for more information.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Introduction Poems

For the first day, I thought it would be appropriate to have the students tell me a little about themselves. Just telling your name doesn’t give much information about a person. To really get to know someone, we need to know more. What they like, what they think, how they feel about certain things, about their family, what kinds of things they do when know one is looking, etc.

We read William Carlos Williams poem Danse Russe. We discussed what (and how) we learn about Williams’s personality? About his family? Williams uses poetry to reveal a private (maybe embarrassing-like getting caught singing in front of the bathroom mirror) moment. It is a moment when he feels the most free, the most “himself.”

The students were asked to write a poem dedicated to them. I asked them to reveal something about your position in their family, their desires, their dreams.

Ivan G.
Grade 3

I hate cleaning the house
Because it’s boring
and takes all day
I don’t feel along with my brothers

I like to play videogames
Because they’re cool
And they’re awesome.
I like summer

I like to take showers
When I get out
I like to write on the mirror

Veronica M.
Grade 3

When I get in the shower I sing
When I’m ready to pick my clothes
I like to wear all pink
But not everyday
And when I’m ready
I dance funny when nobody is looking
When it’s time to eat
I spill my milk
And said it was my sister
But my mom knows
And I get mad and hit my pillow
In the night
When everyone is sleeping
I go to the kitchen
I eat chocolate all night
The next day my mom said
“Do you want to eat?”
I said no because
I ate a lot all night

Mirella Royna
Grade 6

I like kids and babys
Because I admire
Seeing how they grow
I like seeing their first steps
I like how they talk for the first time
I like kids because with kids and babys
I don’t feel alone.
I actually feel happy.
There are some things I don’t like
About kids
Because they cry
And if they don’t get what they want
They get mad
Kids can make me feel protected
I am really sensible when it comes to kids
I have a baby brother
That makes me laugh all the time
These are the reasons I like kids
And baby’s
I like them to eat Mexican food
So they can get used to Mexican culture
I’m shy to read out loud
I don’t know, I’m just shy

My Blue Sky
Ruth Casillas
Grade 7

In the night
I wake up
Think if it’s spring
Waiting for march 8 again
To feel like I am big
My eyes are brown
My skin is light
Mixed all and make
Light brown
I love my friends
I love my family
But most of all me
I like to run
But sometimes I get so shy
I’m bigger than my sister
But sometimes I feel like
My sky is gray
But really my sky
Is always blue
Because I have you

By someone special

Jesse Hurtado
Grade 8

A boy hat has no boundaries
A boy that has no limits
A boy who is frightened
By spiders who are calm
I am someone who’s big
I am someone who’s nice
Other people only see me
By my physical size
Others see me by what’s inside
I am boy who loves animals
Yet I am the kind
Of person that stores
Everything inside

Raquel Saucedo
Grade 8

My name is Raquel
I am picky
I’m only 13
People say I have an attitude
People say I can be a real pain
I’m only 13
People judge me
People don’t like me
I’m only 13
Yes, I’m picky
Yes, I have an attitude
Yes, I can be a real pain
Yes, people judge me
Yes, people dislike me
Yes, but I’m only 13