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Moving Windows based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
October 27, 2008
Evaluating the Poetry Children Write
Publisher: Teachers and Writers Collaborative
Number of pages: 180
Year published: 1985
Price: $14.95 in paperback
Ideal Audience: Clearly this book is ideal for any educator or facilitator who works with elementary or high school students. There is also a secondary audience: any instructor working beyond the strictly academic setting: therapeutic workshops, ESL classes, geriatric centers, non-traditional adult students, etc.
Brief Summary: Jack Collom is the author of eight books of poetry. In 1980 he received a Fellowship in Poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts. Moving Windows: Evaluating the Poetry Children Write offers an organic approach to teaching poetry to elementary and/or high school students. This is a very practical catalogue of various exercises used by Collom in his experience as a poetry teacher and workshop leader. Memory poems, acrostics chants, lunes ( a variation of haiku) imitation poems (William Carlos Williams¿ ¿This is Just to Say¿), etc.
The book goes beyond a mere litany of exercises. First of all, Collom includes over 300 poems by students of various ages and grades. Secondly, he briefly evaluates each work.
This is where the book shines, in this symbiotic dance of student creativity and Collom¿s analysis. I think that even the serious writer/poet would glean insight as well as enjoyment from reading this book.
Sample Excepts: Wiliam Carlos Williams Imitation (p.74)
I¿m sorry that I ate your lunch.
I¿m sorry that I ate your breakfast.
I¿m sorry that I¿m going to eat your supper.
--Carlos Cintron, 4th
The time-turnaround of the first two lines helps keep the emphasis away from a simple rush and lets the reader¿s attention concentrate on the ruthless, taciturn surprise of ¿going to.¿
Sun shines down at us.
Under the flowers I see ladybugs.
My sister and I are playing around.
Milkweed is growing out of the ground.
Enormous bears and tiny bugs
Roam the forest around us.
--Semyon Veytsman, 3rd
Nature tinged with fairytale, the latter mostly through the enormous roaming bears, the flavor of old Europe that those tales convey. Also giving dimension are the macro/micro moves (¿sun¿ to ¿bugs,¿ etc.) the freedom from ¿summer¿ clichés, and the freshness of the milkweed line.
Primary weakness: The writing style at times rambles a bit, reads a little off the expository leash. ¿It¿s not necessarily easy, as a school hireling, to bring a classful of perhaps bored, rebellious, pragmatic, puberty-obsessed, intellectually passive, materialism-ridden, self-interest-keyed people, with the attention span of a flashbulb and with a ready contempt for the impracticality, goofiness, and ¿effeminacy¿ of the poetic impulse, to the point where they can applaud and eagerly create something that challenges all their ¿faults,¿ something in which the riskiness of violating standards is a prime virtue.¿ (p. 149)
Urgency Reading: Read this book if you plan to teach poetry to children or teens. Read this book if you plan to teach poetry outside of the classroom or strictly academic setting. Read this book if you love poetry and want to hear a poet¿s insight.