In My Backyard

Posted September 11, 2013 & filed under Notebook.

In my backyard

branches play music like flutes

the grass sways and dances

rocks play hide-and-seek

leaves race in the wind

and the dirt just sleeps.

By Lillian, 2nd grade

Dried Out

Posted May 29, 2013 & filed under Notebook.

Today I am a shell.
A shell, not in water. On land.
I am mad.
Mad because I got taken away from my
23rd birthday party
So now I am feeling blue
Feeling blue
And dry
Not wet but dry
Dry on a desk top
Yes, dry on a desk top
Dry on a desk top with my other friend
Who is so dry he is going to a gift shop
Where they play nothing but country music
Every minute
Every single minute.
by Jacob, 4th grade

Advice from a Nest

Posted August 16, 2010 & filed under Notebook.

Always stay strong for the younger ones
Don’t crack your twigs when everyone’s asleep
Don’t fall apart when no one is there
Don’t let someone fall through or you’ll get hurt too
Always pick a good spot to be made in
Always blend in so bigger birds won’t get the smaller ones
Always say good-bye when the younger ones get old

By Averie, 5th grade
[photo by mistybliss via flickr]

Ode to Christine the Trombone

Posted January 11, 2010 & filed under Notebook.


Lying in her padded home
she blissfully waits and sleeps.
Surrounded by rags and grease,
she dreams of high B flats.

She awakens to blinding light
and just like a teenager
pleads to sleep some more.
But taken from her padded house and grease and rags
she comes fluidly together.

A few warm ups to stretch the toes
and get her blood flowing.
She wakes up
Like a teacher who’s had her morning cup of coffee.

Notes spin
and weave
and run cleverly up and down the staff.
She knows she can play it all
if only this girl who makes her sing
would practice a little more often.

Christine is a teacher.
She’s taught this girl many things.
How to be patient
and just a bit rowdy
to know when to laugh
to know when to cry
to know when to leap
and when to fall.

By Emalie, 11th grade
[photo by leandre ouvreture via flickr]

Garden Snapshot

Posted September 8, 2009 & filed under Notebook.

It is time to discover the outdoors.
See the flowers surround us?
The sun wants to show its face.
When you look at the flower,
The pink flower, like a tiger’s mouth,
Wait for butterflies to come.
The inside of the peeled white flower
Looks like a bunch of cherry red needles.
But don’t be afraid; they are not sharp.
They are soft like pillows.
The army of flowers is looking for their general.
They are waiting
To march.
The flowers are like a heart
And also like a heart
They pump.
When you look
You will see
More and more flowers
Because it is spring.
Time for them
To come to the world.

By Yaprak, 8th grade

Photo by Courtney Harnage via flickr


Best Friend

Posted August 20, 2009 & filed under Notebook.

I run, I jump, I’m your best friend
I do tricks to make you smile, I lick your tears when you are sad
I’m your best friend

You bathe me, you feed me, and I love you for this
You buy me toys and you let me run free in the park and
I love you for this

We sleep together, play together, and I protect you for this
We chill together, love each other, and I cherish you for this
I never tell you what I want but you make my dreams come true.
I’m glad to be called


by Michael, age 9

The Spider Brings the Apple Tree a Pencil

Posted August 18, 2009 & filed under Notebook.

May I have an apple, Apple Tree?

Why do you want my apples?

Because I am hungry, and I have not eaten in one week.

OK, then. I will give you four of my apples.


But you have to bring me a pencil.

Why do you want a pencil?

Because I want to start school.

OK, then. I will bring you a pencil.

By Mariah, 3rd grade
[photo by Adam E. Cole via flickr]


Posted July 29, 2009 & filed under Notebook.

Suspense is always exciting,
he is never boring.

He sleeps in a water bed.

He loves skydiving,
and scary rides at carnivals.

He looks like an ordinary man,
slicked back, black hair,
neon colored shorts and shirts
which depends on his mood.

He always uses onomatopoeia.

People always say he is crazy,
but really he just does fun things in life.

He acts like a balloon, you will never
know when he will pop.

He wants everybody to just have fun.

By Omar 6th grade
[photo by viennamarie1977 via flickr]


Posted July 17, 2009 & filed under Notebook.


Silence wants to be loud.
It tries, but the only sound you hear is silence,
Like a person who can’t talk.
Even when silence screams, he can’t make a sound.
Now, he gives up,

Correcting himself.
He can’t be loud.
Everything is silent.
All you can hear is everyday life.

Silence will never be loud.
A room waiting for people to come.
Screaming out, but nothing will come out.
Is silence and no one can change it.


Silence, as a bird flying through the sky,
Its wings expanded from its body.
Silence does not want to be silent;
It wants to be loud.
I like when silence is around.
That’s when I feel relaxed.

By Connor, 4th grade
[photo by Sameli via flickr]

I am a Seashell

Posted April 17, 2008 & filed under Poem of the Day.

seashells.jpgI am a seashell
waiting for
somebody to see

I am shiny and
curled up like a
cinnamon roll.
I’m rough and

I swim
with the
sea and
the sea
with me.

I am
cold inside
so if you
touch me
you’ll shiver and

I swim
around the
sea with
animals living
inside of me.

I’m joyful
in the sea
with fishes
and sea
surrounding me.

I like
being a

can hear
the sea
inside of

By Melissa, age 7

(photo by Omnia via flickr)

video = 46 seconds

Climb Every Mountain

Posted March 13, 2008 & filed under Notebook.

old-men-of-storr-by-inguana-jo-via-flickr.jpgAs a WITS writer, I try to help students realize that the knowledge and experiences they already have are the perfect fodder for their writing. Last week I noticed that the third graders were completing a unit on earth science. To help students review what they learned about landforms, I came up with a new lesson.

What would it feel like to be a canyon, a mesa, a desert, or a mountain?

I split the class into groups of three or four and assigned each group a different geography. In groups, students brainstormed a list of ideas about their land form. Each group presented their ideas; the audience gave positive feedback and also suggested ideas that could be added to the list. After defining personification, I had the students help me write a class poem on a land form that no groups were assigned.

Now it was time for students to write individually. Each one wrote a poem that personified their chosen formation.

If I Were a Mountain

I am a mountain,

I start as a low piece of land.

Then when an earthquake or lava

Comes out of earth,

I expand.

I keep expanding

When these things happen.

Now I’m so high

I can see through the sky.

I’m so high

I see through space.

I see Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiterwits-blog-pics-007.jpg

by Mary, 3rd Grade

posted by Amy Lin, Writers in the Schools

(photo by iguana jo via flickr)

She Sells Sea Shells

Posted March 3, 2008 & filed under Notebook.



Nature is a wonderful source of inspiration. I brought in seashells for the class to observe. The children put the shells against their ears and listened to the sounds of the waves. They admired the delicate beauty of the shells. They smelled them and shook them a bit, listening for clues about the soul of a shell.

Next the students brainstormed a list of words to describe the shells’ properties, such as “smooth, pointy, and colorful.” Their lists also included any other ideas they had about shells, such has “hermit crabs live in them” and “they live in the ocean.” We discussed the different ideas generated, and I created a word bank on the chalkboard. Each student created a poem that personified the shell.

A Perfect Shell

I am a shell, as
black as writing ink,
hard as a brick,
and whirly like rich

I am lovely like pasta
on the inside.
I am like glass,
so delicate and

Then one day I will wash
upon a beach where
someone will pick me up and
put me in a big red pail.

Don’t you want to be a shell?amy-lin-in-a-maze.jpg

Jonathan, 3rd Grade

posted by Amy Lin, Writers in the Schools

(photo by ramislevy via Flickr)