A Week of Words

I love sharing the love of words and story with kids. I’m often amazed by their articulation, and deeply moved by their observations. It’s exciting to see them stretching themselves and trying new things in their own wordplay. And there is that something extra special about hearing teacher’s awe when responding to the words/works of their students… and to later hear that poems that sang so sweet off the page were very often written by kids who don’t write much. 

There is something about poetry that doesn’t just level the playing field – it lets kids shine.

During a week of author talks and poetry workshops across three different schools, last week we indulged in all sorts of poetry play; shape poetry (with lots of lovely creativity with poetic literary devices) tag poetry, found poetry and zentangles. We rocked the guinea pig chant, and stirred up some colourful alphabet soup – and were entertained by budding young actors, and spoken word performers who crawled into my head and read words just as I have imagined them spoken. I love how free verse does that!


A number of groups found poems in my chapter book, ‘Fencing with Fear’ – which they will take away and make into zentangle poetry. But here are is a teaser of poems…

a smile
starts to crack
in slow motion
By Georgia

Dad says
a smile
across my face
is pretty
By Deb

a smile
is as wide as
a million sensations
By Bridie

We’d better get
the four-wheeler,
my brother starts


Not sure he’s alive.

By Wyatt


Even my dad indulged me, after dinner one night.


The bike starts bouncing;

the drop is steep.

A million sensations flashing

through my mind.

Hanging on …

         hits the ground …

Eerily quiet.

I’m not alive.

Tag poetry is always fun – and a great way to slip a play with poetry into a session. It’s amazing how many kids who ‘don’t really write poetry’ write beautiful poems when given something to start with. Unfortunately, my phone doesn’t do justice to their poems… :\TagPoetry

I didn’t mean to blur this photo so badly (actually, I didn’t mean to blur it at all!) but I quite like the sense of energy it portrays – because in mere moments, kids were engaged and creating.


Jone has the Poetry Friday round-up this week, so click across to Check it Out!


  1. Oh my. I just clicked across to Jone’s link and discovered the amazing Poetry Camp for grown-ups that they’ve got organised. I want to go there! Australia, we ALL have to fall that much in love with poetry. We really do! 🙂


    • Yes, Australia, you already are that in love with poetry, you just need to get organized! 🙂 I wish I could go to that camp, too. It’s 2,000 miles from me. 😦 And I’m in the same country. Love these poems. Love how you are letting the kids find their voices, even if they don’t have the confidence to be writing already.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m a little jealous at how much love there is for poetry in America. I think poetry is often seen as mysterious and unfathomable. People are intimidated by some of the sophisticated forms. I try to bring out the playfulness – and show people there is no one right answer – just different ways to play with words.

        Liked by 1 person

      • But I know Australians who love poetry, in PF and in blogging. And I know plenty of Americas who never read it. Poets are rare here, too. Although, now that I think about it, the man who ran my yoga class ended with a poem just Friday. Perhaps I’ve been hanging around with the wrong people. Maybe poets are just quiet about it.


  2. Poetry is my weakest area in literature and writing. I have a set area I know and focus on. I try to expand a bit. Children’s literature has helped a lot as well as participating in Poetry Friday. You introduced a couple new ideas to me, zentangle poetry and tag poetry. I am going to look into those more. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So glad I could give you some new ideas. Zentangle poems take creativity to a whole new level, and even though *I* am not particularly artistic, I still love the process of repeated swirls and lines to highlight a poem. Tag poetry is straight out addictive and very often surprising.


  3. Oh–I have all sorts of new things to investigate after reading your post–zentangle and tag poems sound fantastic. I’m moving from first to fourth grade next year and am trying to figure out how to include poetry daily as I have done in my first grade class. So much to think about! Thanks for some exciting new ideas. Oh–and I love the energy in that blurry picture!


  4. Kat, your line says it all. “There is something about poetry that doesn’t just level the playing field – it lets kids shine.” I love this thought along with your energy blur photo so I will share both with teachers I work with over the summer. It will be their reminder to bring the love of wordplay to their students. Thanks.


    • I couldn’t quite fit all of the poem in the space – but I loved it too. The full poem is;

      start jog
      jogging hard

      And yes, it was the victorious that nailed it!


  5. Loved the picture. And now I want to know more about tag poetry. And I’m in love with this line: “There is something about poetry that doesn’t just level the playing field – it lets kids shine.”


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