At St. Ambrose the 3rd and 4th grade students in Ms. Taliaferro’s Title I class enjoyed exploring poetry as a way to think about writing with creative language, imagery, playful fonts, personification, and metaphors.

Exploring Poetry - The Red Wheelbarrow

We began with William Carlos Williams’ “The Red Wheelbarrow.” Students were surprised at the brevity and the vivid imagery. They also noticed a lack of grammatical conventions.


We then read a variety of poems in class individually and came back to share what we had learned and to read aloud our favorites. Ms. Taliaferro then posed a series of questions for them to brainstorm:

  • What five things did you see when you woke up this morning?
  • What is your favorite color?
  • Describe how your face looks when you eat dirt.
  • What have you been dreaming about?
  • What’s something that excites you?


They were to then use these brainstormed answers to write a poem. Here we talked more about creativity, how the poem looks on the page, and editing.


Next, we read our poems aloud to the class and posted them on the walls.

Exploring Poetry - When I Woke Up



Exploring Poetry - The Turkey Hunt



Exploring Poetry - Just a Dream



Here is an image of what we learned from reading “The Red Wheelbarrow.”

Exploring Poetry - What we learhed

Finally, here are students’ own observations from reading and writing poetry:


What Third Graders Learned While Exploring Poetry

4 Can write anything that you want, not certain words
4 Space out the words
4 No every draft is perfect, you can keep making it better
4 Can use rhymes
4 Use words to describe
4 Only a few words on each line
4 Don’t use sentences
4 Can use bubble letters, massive letters, big or small – making a picture with words


What Fourth Graders Learned While Exploring Poetry

4 Poems are like puzzles, we think of words then we put them together
4 Poetry can be not just by the words, different styles of fonts
4 It can be different shapes on the page
4 Cursive looks slow and nice so I chose it for some words
4 You don’t need to write in straight lines, you can make shapes
4 You don’t need punctuation marks
4 Write in stanzas
4 Don’t have to indent
4 Don’t make it look like a boring paragraph
4 Describing details
4 Can use colors
4 It is about how the words look on the page
4 Don’t repeat phrases
4 Every word counts