A Rhyme Gone Wrong

Like many teachers, I have been doing poetry writing with students recently since April is Poetry Month. We often start with a discussion of the question “What is poetry?” Rhyming always comes up. Someone will say poems have to rhyme, but then, of course, someone will point out a poem we read that did not rhyme. When students start writing poetry, many want to make their poems rhyme. It does not always go well. In a fourth grade class, our mentor poem was “Today” by Eileen Spinelli. The poet names all the ways she will notice things and find a poem. A few lines focus on thing she hears. Here are some lines from one student’s poem (and I really am not making this up!) It is a case of rhyme gone wrong.

I will listen to
the birds whistling a melody
and quietness like a felony.

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9 Responses to A Rhyme Gone Wrong

  1. That is fantastic! Kids are awesome! I am totally laughing right now. I needed that. Happy Poetry Month! Here’s my poem for today: http://iheartpurplestuff.blogspot.com/2017/04/picking-myself-up.html

  2. dogtrax says:

    My sixth graders often point to rhymes as needed for poems, and I can’t figure out where that gets pounded into their heads. I work to dissuade them of this “rule” with all sorts of poems, too. This often frees up a lot of my young writers.

    • Alice Nine says:

      Kevin, I think the “pounding” happens inadvertently in primary. This is something that I share with teachers during vertical alignment discussions. In primary, we do lots of phonemic awareness work, and rhyming with one syllable words is a major PA practice. Also, we often read and re-read short poems as a class — partly because the text is so manageable with its short lines and lots of white space… and we re-read text to practice fluency and word recognition, and the poems provide vivid imagery. Lots of these poems rhyme… some are written deliberately for PA activities. Anyway, when lessons attend to rhyming words in so many of the poems they encounter –voila– the takeaway learning is “poems must rhyme.”

  3. margaretsmn says:

    That is so funny! This is a constant discussion in my class, too. We do lots of unrhymed poetry, but occasionally a student will tackle rhyme and do it well. I am quick to praise because (I tell them this) I am terrible at rhyme.

  4. lindabaie says:

    Love this, Diane. Perhaps it’s true! And I guess that this poet was desperate!

  5. Alice Nine says:

    What a hoot, Diane! Maybe there is some hidden truth here: the quietness of solitary confinement. 🙂

  6. arjeha says:

    When we discussed poetry and I pointed out that poems do not have to rhyme it seemed to release the poet in so many students who thought they could not write poetry. Love your student’s poem. Made me smile.

  7. Ramona says:

    I need a good belly laugh daily, and your poet provided it today! I worked really hard to have my students forget that poems are supposed to rhyme.

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