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Dreaded Dog, Where’s Your Owner?

May 9, 2012

Teaching writing in New Orleans is amazing. The culture is rich, the creativity oozes. The kids love to express themselves, and they were born into a cocoon of rhythm and rhyme. This works in my favor when teaching poetry. Today we worked on imagist poetry. We read William Carlos Williams’ “The Red Wheelbarrow” and Ezra Pound’s “In a Station of the Metro“. The kids question, “That a poem?!” as we talk about the meaning, the intent, the shape, the images that come to mind. They’re stunned and excited at WCW’s “This is Just to Say.

Shaggy Dog

This image prompted our class poem I like to call, “Dear Dog”.

“So if I leave out tha house and write a note it can be a poem?” I grin.

Once we analyzed the masters, we wrote one poem about the mop dog as a class.

Dreaded Dog,
Where’s your owner?
He wrong for that!

Then they write on their own. It’s scary. I trick them. Do not put a blank sheet of white paper in front of children. Markers. Post-its. Neon note cards. Monday we made Post-it poems where we rearranged words written on Post-its to explore poetic devices like alliteration, and today we wrote poems in response to images. The poems couldn’t be bigger than a note card. Here are a few:

Mardi Gras Indian

Activating prior knowledge, a reading and writing skill, is difficult to utilize when our kids mostly haven’t left the state and they know more about guns and drugs than states and capitals. However, the kids are all very familiar with Mardi Gras Indians. Having  a rich culture is the best teacher’s aide.

Fluffy and gold
Crisp and hot
Indian features
Fairy tale creatures

(Simone, age 16)

Yellow in bold
Yelling for soul

(Breanna, age 16)

Hurricane Katrina
Got them living off FEMA
Now the Indian screaming
Giving me freedom

(Christina, age 16)

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Daniel Bobeck permalink
    May 9, 2012 3:50 pm


    Those kids are lucky to have you teaching them SDS.

  2. rachel a permalink
    May 9, 2012 8:04 pm

    sunny those poems are so beautiful. i love love love the yellow and yelling one. i’m breanna’s number one fan.

  3. kmrobb1 permalink
    May 10, 2012 10:23 am

    wow. if you don’t get a book deal, maybe they can! you’re almost inspiring ME to want to go back to teaching! you’re damn good, girl!

  4. May 10, 2012 6:16 pm

    This makes me so happy. When kids get excited about expressing themselves through creativity, magic happens.

  5. May 12, 2012 8:15 pm

    You are amazing! They are amazing! What luck!

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