Haikus and Quatrains and Limericks, Oh My! — Blog #2, Victoria Kapfer

Throughout the past few weeks at Club KAS, I have taught and worked with my students to write and experiment with various forms of poetry as a means of expression and creativity. Prior to the week of 2/8, one of my students requested that we write haikus for our next Club meeting, and so, when 2/8 arrived, I had created a small organizer for the students to follow as they wrote their poems in accordance with the strict syllable rules. I explained that, traditionally, a haiku is a poem about nature, and to this, the students made the argument that animals are found in nature and that they should write their works about an animal of their choice. I agreed to this thought process, and as the writing began, they all looked toward their stuffed animal as the “animal” to be found in nature. Despite wondering astray from a focus on the natural world, the students heavily adhered to the poetic rules in regard to how many syllables were allowed per line and thus created works that they presented to one another.

 The following week, on 2/15, I tasked my students with writing a quatrain (with the exception of my one student who was insistent on writing a cinquain), and we cut up each of the lines into their own individual strips of paper to create an enormous collaborative poem. Once all poems were written, and strips of paper cut, we travelled to an open spot on the floor and created different orders of lines and created many different poems from the thirteen lines of poetry we had to work with. The students spent much time rearranging the lines to make a sad poem, and then a funny poem, and then an even funnier poem after that that had them laughing for a few minutes before rearranging the lines again. This activity helped them see how the arrangement of lines in a poem creates a certain tone for the reader which can be manipulated with only a few lines.

Once Club KAS ended this week, one student approached me and asked if we could write limericks next week. I am beyond excited that my students have shown an active interest in poetry and want to continue experimenting with various forms in the future. My experience has opened my eyes to how others perceive learning about poetic devices and techniques and how I can transfer some classroom management skills I use with my elementary students to my high school students to make the process of learning not as challenging and become more flexible with instruction.


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