West Side News

Darby Woods second-graders learn power of words via poetry

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Second-grade students at Darby Woods Elementary School are exploring the world of poetry.

In Peggy Zeuschner's class, students participate every Friday in a poetry workshop.

"We talk about poetry, read some poems and the students also get a chance to write some poems of their own," Zeuschner said.

The students are compiling a poetry notebook, she said, copying their favorites among the poems they've read as well as their own work.

Zeuschner has laid out a small library of poetry books for students to peruse.

"We started out the year with the students picking out a poem they read that spoke to them," she said. "It was interesting to see the choices they made. They often picked poems that they felt related to what's happening in their own lives."

The class has read and written poems relating to the various holidays that occurred during the first half of the year, including Halloween, Christmas and Veterans Day, Zeuschner said.

"We're going through some of the different forms of poems," she said. "We spent time talking about cinquain poetry and the students wrote their own poem in that five-line form."

Most recently, the class has focused on haiku, the Japanese form that features three lines of five, seven and five syllables, respectively. They wrote poems about nature.

"I think the students especially enjoy haiku," Zeuschner said. "They can convey their meaning in a short burst of writing and that is appealing to kids."

For her haiku, Jillian Paskvan wrote about her favorite bird: "Bright, red, beautiful/It stays when white fills the sky/soaring through the air."

"I just love cardinals because they are so beautiful," Jillian said. "They look so beautiful when there's snow."

Almost as much as redbirds, she said, she likes writing poems. "I kind of like music, and poetry, to me, is like music with words," she said.

Jenny Cruz wrote a haiku about a familiar winter sight: "Sharp as a pencil/Dripping slowly to the ground/frozen like beauty."

"I wanted to write about icicles because I think they look so nice hanging off of trees or buildings," she said. Writing poetry is fun, "because you get to express your feelings about things."

Zeuschner said with their study of poetry, her students are beginning to explore the power of using words to express emotions, thoughts and ideas.

"I've seen how reading and writing poems are helping them in all aspects of what we study in class," she said.

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