In the Night

Posted October 29, 2009 & filed under Notebook.


In the night ghosts tangle in my hair. In the night my truck leaves my family. In the night a wizard comes and takes me away. In the night I conquer sin. In the night the night becomes wind. In the night I fight with monsters. In the night I beat a monster and that monster runs away. In the night I sneeze and say guzuntite. In the night I get bracelets.

by Stephanie, 3rd grade

[photograph by rcameraw via flickr]

Halloween Poem

Posted October 7, 2008 & filed under Notebook.

Black Cat

The witches screech
the pumpkins gloom
the black cat sleeks
silently through the dark
the ghosts glow in the night
the zombies stomp around
the black cat sleeks silently
through the dark

the werewolves growl
the goblins moan
the black cat sleeks silently
through the dark

by Valerio, 2nd Grade

Ghost, Writing

Posted April 24, 2008 & filed under Notebook.

When I was a child, I loved watching TV programs such as “In Search Of…” and “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!” Each one tantalized me with stories of impossibility. While I wasn’t entirely sure that I believed in, say, the Loch Ness Monster or ghosts, the very idea of these creatures ignited my imagination. In fact, I wrote an embarrassing number of unicorn poems when I was in junior high.

I find that many children share that fascination with the mysterious, carrying on the age-old tradition of swapping ghost stories at slumber parties or daring each other to summon Bloody Mary in the bathroom mirror.

Recently, I decided to capitalize on this interest in improbable creatures by asking my students to write poems from the point of view of a being or creature that most people say does not exist. Students suggested a great list of possible subjects they could speak for, including ghosts, Bigfoot, mermaids, elves and La Llorona.

The idea of writing from another being’s point of view is intriguing; you must convincingly capture the voice and ideas of someone or something completely outside your normal range of experience. I emphasized to my students that these poems must be a way for these beings to help us humans understand their lives. These could be greatly detailed, such as descriptions of the lengths a rather annoyed Bigfoot must go in order to keep away odious humans that want to pester him, or simple, such as Margaret Atwood’s “This is a Photograph of Me,” written from the point of view of what seems to be a ghost.

Here is one student’s response to the assigment:


why must people be scared
why can’t they see me
maybe because I’m just made of sand
I will walk till I find out what’s wrong
the Mars Rover will someday be found
I will be known
I will be found
I will meet the people at last
they will know about me
I will meet the water the Earthlings have
I will not just be sand and dust
I will be water and life

by Caroline, 3rd grade

[“ghost” photo by Daniel Schwabe via flickr]

posted by Tria Wood, Writers in the Schools