I’m going to start off by telling you one of my secrets.
Frog Hollow writes tons of poetry. That’s no secret, and it’s no secret that with the right infectious enthusiasm, teaching poetry to children can help them get lit up about writing, about language, and about the centuries-long conversation about the human experience that we call literature. Also, poetry is short. Children can write a poem, revise it for spelling and punctuation, and illustrate it all in a sitting, whereas most “stories” children want to write are really novels, or whole series of novels, or complete worlds. Getting all that from mind to paper at all, let alone in a day, is a challenge and so the satisfaction of completing something often gets lost when kids write longer forms. Writing poetry shows children they are writers, and allows us as a class to play with many different things quickly.
There are many great prompts and poems in these books. Including the poems written by students helps my students see that they can write poems. But beyond that, there is so much enthusiasm that reading them makes me wish it was Wednesday, so I could see what kind of magic would come out of my students’ pencils.
So there it is — the big secret: none of us are in this alone.