4th stop on my blog tour for AFTER DARK

Hi everyone,

As the blog tour for AFTER DARK continues, today I am delighted that Sylvia Vardell is hosting at PoetryForChildren https://poetryforchildren.blogspot.com Thank you, Sylvia!

If you’ve followed the first three stops on the tour, you know that each one is different. Many of you have been helping through your own networks and for that I’m very grateful too.

My thanks to all!

On another issue, we’ve all seen the posting of student poems by teachers fall from robust to zero most months, especially since the introduction of Common Core State Standards a few years ago, which took away nearly all of a teacher’s time and focused on analyzing over writing. Over the weekend I’ve had a conversation with Rachelle Burk, who wanted to add my blog site to her suggested list of places where students can get some attention with their writing, but Rachelle became discouraged by how confusing the instructions were on the Young Poets W.O.M. Poems page plus the lack of contributions she found there.

With all that in mind I’ve made an effort to rewrite the page as you see here. Please give my your thoughts about the new page plus — especially — how we might go about attracting teachers across the country (and elsewhere) to get back in the habit of posting their students’ poems here. Many thanks!

Young Poets W.O.M. Poems

Dear Teachers,

When you are looking for ways to inspire your students to write poems, this is a special place to show off some results. Every month I post a new word and invite students of all ages to write a poem inspired by that one word. Poets in the adult category write poems based on the same word.

Young poets have been featured here since 2009. Two of the first ones are now in college and one is going into journalism.

Getting your students “published” is easy and free. Here is all you need to do.
1. Choose up to three poems per classroom to post (per month).
2. If your kids are under 13, please have on file a permission slip signed by a parent or legal guardian.
3. To post a poem, scroll down to the box at the bottom of the screen where it says LEAVE A REPLY and paste the poem there.
4. Please include the student’s name, grade, school, and city in the post.
5. Hit button to submit.
Adults who follow my blog are primarily teachers, librarians, and children’s writers or artists. You can rest assured that your students will see notes of encouragement and appreciation posted about their work. This is above all a friendly BlogSpot!

At the end of each month I erase all poems and comments and we start over with a new word. I hope to see your students join the fun.



PS: The word for February is AGE


8 comments on “4th stop on my blog tour for AFTER DARK

  1. David, I hope you get more kid’s poems! One thing my community has done for Poetry Month is we started Poem Village where poems get hung in storefronts all over the community! This venture started in Montpelier VT as Poem City – started by librarians there at their public library. If you google Poem City maybe you can get some ideas and start something like the Poem City / Poem Village in your home town – it would be great to see this in towns all over America! I was instrumental in bringing PoemVillage to Saranac Lake after seeing for myself how it worked in Montpelier.

    • Hi, Yvona. Thank you for the information about Poem City/ Poem Village. It sounds like an excellent program and something I’ll gladly pass along in Springfield. I’ll read more about it. I appreciate your help.

  2. I’ll see what I can do to promote kid poetry on your blog! The biggest issue I see is that many teachers teach poetry as a unit – not throughout the entire school year. Maybe they can entice more kids to write poetry throughout the year by providing kids with the word of the month.

    • I know you’re right, Su. I think most teachers focus on poetry only during their poetry unit each year. Some use poetry in their classrooms all year but I suspect they are in a minority. But maybe they don’t know of enough opportunities throughout the year when they can encourage their young charges to write poems for the sheer fun of it.

      • I’m off to teach in music today. I’ll see one class from each grade level, K-5. I’ll ask the kids about poetry in their classrooms and let you know!

  3. Hi David,
    Retired elementary teacher as you know who still subs mainly in gr. 3-5. I would be happy to share with my teacher friends. As Pat Lewis often says the two worst words in the English language are “Poetry Unit”. But I think it is a reality currently for many schools and classrooms, but not all. I have some ideas for you. Maybe ask Ed Decaria to feature your info during March Madness Poetry with some well-chosen words to talk about all kinds of kid-written (and friendly) poems welcome at your blog and not necessarily the humorous, rhyming ones that are now pretty popular at March Madness Poetry. I also think and agree with an earlier comment that if kids know about your site they might be more willing to try throughout the year so you would urge teachers to begin the year with some poetry encouragement. I also would be sure you get your cadre of adult poets ready to do the commenting (not sure how that is done currently). AND it is not a contest. It is simply a place to share and try and work on poems. For now in order to build some (lapsed?) interest you might increase the number of poems a teacher can share per class. While it is not a contest I used to ask my 3rd graders to try to stretch themselves to write “contest worthy” poems as a goal since we did enter one toward the end of the year. Here I would encourage teachers to be as selective as possible, but that is tricky for teachers. IE where do you draw the line…..but not impossible to pull off. Perhaps some suggestions for newer teachers could be on your site. (I am thinking quickly but to be fair, the class could be divided into 2 or 3 and each group would have “first dibs” on entering in a given month, but others could have a chance…..thus it might be flexible.) Also depends on age. And again skill levels really vary. A lot of that can be attributed to the class curr. for writing, the teacher’s interest and knowledge about poetry and that teacher’s ability to motivate the children to write. As you can see this is my balliwick so to speak. Eager to help so do reach out if you are interested. That said your book is wonderful and I love finding out more along this tour route!!

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