After reading a couple of poems that were shaped like the objects they described, including “The Apple” by S.C. Rigg (a pseudonym of author Sharon Creech), my sixth-graders and I wrote a concrete poem of our own.
First we came up with a list of things that had interesting shapes: sun, train, window, door, chair, snake. The sun won the class vote.
Next, I asked the kids to brainstorm phrases describing the sun and write them on pieces of paper. Then I walked around the room, borrowing bits and pieces from each student, drew a spiral on the board and wrote:
Shaped like a circle,
hot as fire
and brighter than a star,
the heat can fry you like a steak—
and make you dead.
the sun gives us daylight,
spinning like a wheel in the sky.
Not too shabby for our first effort.
Of course, our little sun poem doesn’t even come close to the quality of a Shakespeare sonnet, but we had fun teasing language into shape.
I think we’ll do some more teasing.