Calling Poets in Grades 7-12!

Posted March 31, 2015 & filed under Contest, News, Poem, Student Writing.


A personal invitation from Flashbang! Writing Studio, which is seeking poetry by students in grades 7-12 for publication on its website during April, National Poetry Month:

As participants in NaPoWriMo, Flashbang!’s Sarah and Jeff are writing and posting a poem a day for the month of April. But we want more! We want your poems. Send us your love poems, hate poems, pet poems, unicorn poems, football poems, name poems, video poems, macro poems, gif poems, breakfast-lunch-and dinner poems.

Come back to the blog every day in April for a new writing prompt and at least one new poem. Note: The poems you submit do not have to be based on the prompts we publish. If they are, that’s awesome! Let us know! But more important than following our prompts is writing something you love. Send us what you love.

All poems accepted for publication on the blog will also be considered for publication in the inaugural issue of KaPow!, Flashbang!’s creative writing zine, scheduled for May publication. If your poem is published, you’ll receive a free copy of the zine. Additional copies will be available for $5, and all proceeds will benefit the Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council. (Want to raise more money for GPLC? Learn more about and register for our Poem-A-Thon here:

To submit: Send an email with your poem attached as a Word document or just pasted into the body of the email to flashbangwritingATgmailDOTcom. Please include your name, age, and school name in your submission. (School names will not be published unless you explicitly ask us to do so.) Let us know where you heard about us, too. Deadline for consideration for KaPow! and the NaPoWriMo celebrations is 4/25. BUT we will still consider poems on a rolling basis after that deadline for publication on the blog.

My Chicken

Posted March 23, 2015 & filed under Notebook, Poem, Student Writing.

Cheep cheep cheep

my chicken pokes around

his eyes move fast

his feathers are smooth

I love my chicken

By Stuart, 1st Grade


Green Day

Posted March 17, 2015 & filed under Notebook, Poem, Student Writing.

imagesI like to play tricks on a green day

like pinch my aunt on the shoulder

and put green eggs in my dog’s bowl

I like to sneak around on a green day

like a leprechaun in the bushes

I like to wear hats on a green day

and listen to the band Green Day

while I wear my lucky green socks

By Jonathan, 3rd Grade


Katrina 5

Posted March 12, 2015 & filed under Poem, Student Writing.


Lwr94JanBentStopsign (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

They can’t prevent me.
I loom above them like a thundercloud.
A cat about to strike
Down upon a defenseless mouse.

The ocean can’t stop me.
Just a hurdle, a centimeter off the ground.
Crushed beneath my feet.
People fleeing, screaming, crying, wailing.

They can’t stop me.
I’ll tear it down.
I’ll tear it all down.

by Lucy, 7th Grade

Poetry Contest for Homeschoolers

Posted March 10, 2015 & filed under Contest, Student Writing.

croppedFrom the HSLDA website:

Poetry Contest 2015

Submission Dates: March 1st through May 1st 2015.

Entries must be postmarked by May 1st. We receive a high volume of entries around this date, so if you submit a poem toward the end of the submission period, please be patient. We will notify you via email when we process your entry!

HSLDA invites homeschooled* students to write a poem based on the theme prompts below. Each student may submit 3 different poems.

Submission Dates: March 1st through May 1st 2015

Entries must be postmarked by May 1st. We receive a high volume of entries around this date, so if you submit a poem toward the end of the submission period, please be patient. We will notify you via email when we process your entry!

HSLDA invites homeschooled* students to write a poem based on the theme prompts below. Each student may submit 3 different poems.

* For the purposes of this contest, an eligible student must have received a majority of his or her education in the past year through home education. The staff and immediate family members of HSLDA and all related entities (PRO, HSF, GenJ) are not eligible to participate in contests sponsored by HSLDA or any of the related entities.


Category 1: Ages 7-10 as of April 1st
“Green Eggs and Ham”

Dr. Seuss’s poem “Green Eggs and Ham” has become an American favorite, beloved for its humorous repetition and wacky illustrations.  Read the excerpt below and write a new, creative continuation of this zany poem, picking up right from where the excerpt leaves off!

Assignment: Keep the original rhyme scheme of AABB and keep your poem’s length to no more than 6 quatrains.

Category 2: Ages 11-14 as of April 1st

In 1871, Lewis Carroll published one of the best known English nonsense poems in his fanciful sequel to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.  Titled “Jabberwocky,” the poem uses nonsense words and whimsical language to transport Alice and all of its readers to a mythical land where strange creatures dwell. Carroll paints an unreal world using unreal words, but in doing so, he leaves a very real impression of mystery and mythology that brings the story vividly to life in the imagination!

Assignment: Be creative in a similar way: write a poem of similar length (5-7 quatrains) and rhyme pattern (ABAB or ABCB) that takes place in a fun, perhaps mysterious, new world!  Incorporate some of the techniques Carroll used, including made-up vocabulary, neologisms, words with strong visual impact, and rich creativity of expression and idea.

Category 3: Ages 15-19 as of April 1st
“To My Valentine”

With his characteristic humorous flair, American poet Ogden Nash uses unexpected metaphors and atypical expressions to convey his nonetheless powerful love in his poem “To My Valentine.”  Think outside the box to do the same: defy clichés and write a modern-sounding poem that expresses a positive emotion in an uncharacteristic way.  Let your choice of vocabulary, metaphors, examples, theme, and/or the very emotion expressed be laced with originality.

Assignment: Follow Nash’s rhyme pattern (ABAB or ABCB) and keep your poem’s length between 5 and 7 quatrains.


Cash congratulations, plus a wonderful transcript booster!

Visit the HSLDA website for information about how to enter. Good luck!

Guest Post by WITS Writer Gloria Alvarez

Posted March 5, 2015 & filed under Classroom Reflections, Lesson Plan, Notebook, Student Writing, WITS People.

Mischievians Invade Meadow Wood Elementary!

By Gloria Alvarez

Meadow Wood ElemMy cooperating teachers at Meadow Wood Elementary, Tabitha Peña and Hali House, are the best a WITS writer could ask for:  enthusiastic, supportive, and eager to extend WITS lessons to their own teaching.  We exchange book suggestions, ideas for revision, and strategies for reaching underperforming students.  They open their classrooms to me and work alongside the kids during WITS.

One recent effort so inspired Ms. House that she made it her own.  I’d brought in William Joyce’s The Mischievians, a book about those mysterious creatures swipe TV remotes and cell phones, mislay or devour homework, and generally cause embarrassment and trouble.

We both love Joyce’s work, including Rolie Polie Olie and the Christmas tale Santa Calls.  I’d chosen The Mischievians because it’s so funny: everyone relates to the misplaced iPad or mismatched socks. The illustrations are just as clever.

The story follows a Q & A format: the questions in a child’s voice and the answer like a formal encyclopedia entry.  We read sections of the book, the students brainstormed new Mischievians, and finally they wrote their own questions and answers.

The students completed their drafts and read some aloud.  We will revisit the stories in several weeks to select and revise pieces for our class anthology.  For now, for me, the lesson was over.

But not for Ms. House.  She promptly purchased her own copy of The Mischievians for the classroom and displayed it on an easel at her desk.  Ms. House read their pieces, providing feedback and editing advice.  After allotting class time to revise and recopy their work with illustrations, she created a bulletin board to display all the finished pieces.

“They turned out great,” House said.  “Everyone had fun with it.”

I think so, too.  I was beyond thrilled that a lesson—a new, untested lesson at that—had struck such a chord with both students and teacher.  Here are some samples.

Boy at Meadow WoodThe TalkeyMer TalkyPants Mischievian

By Jonathan

Q: Whenever I’m supposed to be quiet, I whisper to my neighbor.  Then my voice gets louder until I get into trouble.  Why does this happen?

A:  There is a Mischievian on the loose called TalkeyMer, TalkeyPants.

Q: Where are they?

A: There are four of them in your mouth: Down, Up, Right and Left.

Q: How do they make you talk?

A: They jump up and down and make your mouth talk.  Once your mouth is moving, your voice wants to talk.  They jump harder and harder until your voice gets louder.

Some Days I Don’t Know

Posted February 25, 2015 & filed under Notebook, Poem, Student Writing.

windowSome days I don’t know

If I’m inside looking out or outside looking in

If I’m the size of an atom or the size of the universe

If I’m black or if I’m white

Some days I don’t know who I am

By Jacob, 10th Grade

WITS Student Featured in The Buzz

Posted January 26, 2015 & filed under Student Writing, WITS People.

10888867_990120621002537_69896790164733703_nWITS Student Rohan Gupta is the BUZZ Kid of the month. He writes about writing and how his WITS experience has changed his life in the most recent issue. Here’s an excerpt:

I love writing, and it’s important because I put my ideas into it. Writing is permanent. It can be cherished forever. My writing will change as I get older. It will make more sense, and I’ll use bigger words. Writing is fun. It comes in many different forms, and can be found everywhere. As you can see, my life of writing will always go with me.

To see the entire article, click here.

Oh, the Rain

Posted January 22, 2015 & filed under Student Writing.

Oh, the rain that falls

down it goes

down into a lake

that has a shield.

It splashes off

into a million

more rain drops

that gleam.

Step outside today

and notice how

light and soft

the raindrops are.

Go jumping from

puddle to puddle

feel the rain hit your

forehead and drop

between your eyes

Feel it for the

first time.

By Harmony, 3rd Grade



Yosemite Park

Posted January 20, 2015 & filed under Poem, Student Writing.

I see a beautiful Grand Canyon-like cliff.

Sparkly emerald-colored trees.

I see a shimmery blue stream.

I hear the fresh breeze blowing through the trees.

I hear the stream’s gently rushing water.

I feel cold refreshing liquid on my fingers

as I run my hand through the stream.

I smell the sweet crisp green grass.

I smell the carefully dripping mother rain

as it falls on my arms. I taste the fruits

from the fruit-bearing trees in Yosemite Park.

I taste the sprinkling rain on my tongue.
by Kate, 3rd Grade

Ode to My Bike

Posted December 23, 2014 & filed under Poem, Student Writing.

You are a strong, steel body
That rose from the dead.
The bike that survived
Decades of ride.
The soul of a factory bike
That is dependable.
You have seen a lot of things
Since 1948.
The bike that once rotted into
The ground it came from.
The quality you can feel
In the one-piece body.

By Jon
4th Grade

Arco Iris (Rainbow)

Posted December 22, 2014 & filed under Poem, Student Writing.

Esta mañana vino el arco iris,

lleno de colores

pero la lluvia lo espantó con

su pelo de agua y

su vestido de nieve.

El lugar favorito del arco iris es la playa,

se baña en el mar y con un niño baila,

sus manos de colores.

Se despierta a la una de la mañana:

en el parque canta y con su amiga juega.

Ella quiere jugar contigo,

la nieve es su amiga preferida.

Su mascota mariposa es muy bonita.

En la escuela disfruta quebrando las reglas,

se siente triste por el viento.

Su pelo es de color de oro,

y sus pies como la plata,

en la noche con las estrellas canta.

¿Y tu amiga canta?




The rainbow came this morning,

filled with colors

the rain scared her away

with her hair of water

and her dress of snow.

The beach is rainbow’s favorite place,

with a young boy she dances

and in the ocean she bathes her colorful hands.

She wakes up at 1:00 am:

in the park she plays and sings.

She wants to play with you

and her favorite friend, the snow.

Her pet is a pretty butterfly.

In school, she breaks all the rules,

feeling sorry for the wind.

Her feet are silver

and her hair is gold;

she sings with the stars at nighttime.

Does your best friend also sing?
by Madeline, 3rd Grade


Posted December 19, 2014 & filed under Poem, Student Writing.

Porque te tengo en mis ojos.
Porque te pienso en El Salvador.
Porque eres el cielo, y eres muy amable.
Porque eres la miel del cielo de mi familia.
Porque existes mejor en mis manos
Y yo te tengo aquí a mi lado.
Estés donde tu estés siempre estarás
Y te amaré con todo mi corazón.




Because I have you in my eyes,
Because I think of you in El Salvador,
Because you are the sky and very loving,
Because you are the honey of heaven for my
Because you exist better in my hands,
and I need you here by my side,
Where ever you are,
You will always be with me,
And I will love you with all my heart.

by Katherine, 1st Grade

A Hungry Dog at Thanksgiving

Posted November 24, 2014 & filed under Poem, Student Writing.

If I were the dog, at Thanksgiving I would say:

That chopped liver smells good.
I hope they drop some turkey.
I want to taste that.
I think I see dessert.
This is so noisy.
When is it going to be over?
I think I like everything here.
I will just jump on the table.
Ooooooooh cake.
I can fly like a bird. Whee!
I am invincible like a zombie.
Splat! Sorry about that.
Darn, that was strawberry icing.


By Benjamin, 2nd grade

from the WITS archives, 2010


Posted November 17, 2014 & filed under Notebook, Poem, Student Writing.

When I’m scared, I jump

That’s what my grandma told me

Don’t let anything make you scared

Be brave

Jump, jump, jump!

By Alaisha, 4th Grade


Posted November 10, 2014 & filed under Notebook, Poem, Student Writing.

Once I was the wind.
I swayed in the trees.
My friends were in the air.
I pushed leaves and I blew flowers
and the flowers fell to the ground.
I heard birds chirping.
I pushed the wood chips on the playground
where the kids were playing
and I whistled by,
flying in the breeze.

by Ava, 1st grade
Writers in the Schools (WITS)

I Have a Voice

Posted October 31, 2014 & filed under Poem, Student Writing.


My voice gallops like a horse through thunder.

My voice echoes like a mad sea in a storm.

My voice chants for Big Red as he crosses the finish line.

My voices whispers like a strong wind in the night.

My voice sings like a robin in the dust.

by Carrie, age 8


Posted October 28, 2014 & filed under Poem, Student Writing.


Twisting, turning inside
This is not the end
I have hope, a purpose
Black field of scars
I will survive
I will turn onto the
white road of happiness.

By Alanna, 17


Posted October 17, 2014 & filed under Student Writing.

I am a blank canvas, but I can be more.
I can be a can of soup
Or a pile of old clothes.
I can be a boy yelling, “Catch me if you can.”
I can be a blue pyramid,
But small not big.
I can be a statue thinking what to do.

But, right now I am here waiting for someone
To come and paint me. Right now
I am a blank canvas.
It is ok to be blank.
I see all the possibility I could be.
It is ok just being me.

by Kenna, 5th Grade

Don’t Be Afraid

Posted October 15, 2014 & filed under Poem, Student Writing.

Don’t be afraid
to tumble into a
blue future

Don’t assume that my
fear tiptoes or that
you can hear whispers of
lies, cheating, and cries

My determination
will leap forth into
an ocean of dreams

After the light dreams
blossom into laughs, joy,
passion, and hope.

By Alonzo, age 18