Here’s a great metacognitive lesson that integrates poetry. Or is it a poetry lesson that is metacognitive? (Shrug) I believe that good writing and great structure can be taught through mimicking great authors. Using this philosophy as my guide, my 8th graders mimicked the poetic style of Jay Leeming in “Man Writes Poem,” a piece first introduced to me at the UCI Writing Project this summer.
If you don’t know the poem, it’s great. It’s written as if improvised, but clearly quite purposeful. It tracks the thought process of a procrastinator as he searches for a poem to write, all in the voice of a news anchor and field reporter.
So, taking a cue from Leeming, I had the kids write their own mimic of his poem. The assignment was deceptively simple: be aware of what’s going on in your head, of the turning of your gears, as you write a poem. Your poem must mimic his style, use the opening line “This just in…,” must be at least 8 stanzas in length, and incorporate what you know about poetic structure and figurative language to show-off your knowledge to your reader.
The results were outstanding. Here are just a few excerpts to share. Some are from my honors students. Some are from my struggling students. But clearly something about this assignment, became a great assessment that brought out the best in all.
I hope you enjoy reading these as much as I did.