Star Bright, Star Light

Posted January 20, 2020 & filed under mentor text, Notebook, Poem, Student Writing.

I looked up into the sky,

And saw a young star.

I asked the star to speak to me

of freedom,

And the star replied,

Nothing in the world will

ever be given to you, Gabe.

Everything, you must fight for.

You see…the world will put

chains with locks on you…

And everything you love.

To find freedom, find the key.

To find happiness, overcome depression and anxiety.

To find yourself, accept your identity.

To love your family, accept your culture.

To be free, find the key.

Fight for your freedom.


by Gabe, 12th grade

Ode to Stars

Posted September 30, 2010 & filed under Notebook.


As I look up at the stars,

I see the moon, Venus and Mars.

The stars start to cover the land,

I want to hold one in my hand.

As they lift me off the ground

They spin me up down and around.

As they return me to my house

They’re as quiet as a mouse.

But as I stop in shock and fright,

I think that tonight was the best night.

By Jaklyn, 4th Grade

The Moon and Stars

Posted March 5, 2010 & filed under Notebook.

I am a little girl
who lives in the sky.
My mom has a lot of children.
I am one of them.
I have many sisters and brothers.
My mom is the moon,
and we are the stars.
My dad died
so my mom has to watch
2,586,259 children.
My mom has to have
a big tub
for all of us to take a bath
one by one.
She has to read to all of us
and recites the words
over and over.
She gets tired.

By Precious, 3rd grade
[photo by Hikuchera via flickr]

Tiger and Star

Posted May 21, 2009 & filed under Notebook.

The Tiger said to the Star,
What is it like up in the clouds?

It is like you are floating, said the Star.

I like floating, dreams the Tiger.

So do I. I love floating.

Oh, Star, can you show me how to fly?

No, no, my Tiger, I can’t show you how to fly.

But why, said the Tiger to the Star.

Because, silly Tiger, you are not a Star,
And you never will be.


By Keyla, 3rd grade
[photo by Daniel Jerome via flcikr]

Stars in the Sky

Posted July 28, 2008 & filed under Notebook.

bright shiny
glittery in the
(sky) we come and
go on the ground
rest in the grass
tired, lazy, we go up down
up down all over again

Some other ones
come along play with me
going up down rest for
a little but then fly around

Look in the sky with
me in the sky looking around
the homes, looking bright
in the sky flying looking
for new things to do
then in the morning go sleep
then in the evening we do it

by Erika, 3rd grade
[photo by IHP via flickr]

New Teachers, New Perspectives

Posted January 22, 2008 & filed under Notebook.

Teachers work carefully to cultivate their classroom spaces, establishing small communities that each have a unique culture, personality, rules and consequences. Experienced teachers have tried and true methods for working with their students, and I have picked up many new skills just by watching the teachers with whom I’ve worked.

When I enter a new classroom, I try to be conscious that I am in another teacher’s territory. I want to be respectful of their space and of the way things work in the particular community that has emerged in their classroom. Even though I may approach the subject of writing in different ways than they do, ideally, we find ways to work together so that the students can get the most benefit from my presence.

Oddly enough, the novelty of my presence alone seems to make a great deal of difference to some students; hearing old information from a new person makes a bigger impact. A new face can provide a surprisingly new perspective, helping students make a firm connection where they’d struggled before, or helping firm connections become even stronger. I’m sure you can imagine how a classroom teacher’s voice might gradually turn into the infamous “woh-woh-woh” white noise of Charlie Brown’s teacher. There’s not necessarily anything that the teacher is doing wrong–it’s just that it’s human nature to tune out the familiar.

Sometimes, I get to experience the phenomenon of how a new face or a new space makes a difference for my students as well. Recently, one of my elementary schools visited the Menil Collection Museum to take a writing tour of the collection with several other WITS writers. I was delighted when WITS writer Yolanda showed me a poem that one of my students had written on her tour. Cole has always been an imaginative writer, but with Yolanda’s new perspective, he had taken his work to the next level: stars in motion

Tick tock goes the clock.
It strikes twelve. “Bum bum
bum,” goes the man with
the stars. He lets them go–up up
up they sail. I can hear
the man in the moon crying “Here
come the stars!” I can see
Pluto turning into a duck. I can
sense all people sound asleep.
I can feel the wind wipe
my feet. I feel so graceful as
the night goes by. When day
rises, I go home with a sigh.

by Cole, 3rd Grade, Briargrove Elementary

(Photo by Fort Photo via Flickr)

To me, this is part of what WITS does so well: we bring new faces, new perspectives, and new ways of approaching writing to young writers. In Cole’s case, I think the results are absolutely breathtaking!

posted by Tria Wood, Writers in the Schools