A Path to Our Future: Artful Thinking, Learning, Teaching, and Research
Chapter Five: Writing From the Heart: Fourth-Grade Students Write Poetry
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My students have confidence about writing they didn’t have before so they do it. Everyone has feelings and imagination and writing is sharing that.
(L. N., ELEMENTARY TEACHER)
Poetry is a form in which children can quite easily describe and expand their feelings and perceptions in the context of sharing their own stories. Georgia Heard (1998) described “the transformational power of poetry” as “the power to feed the heart and senses” (p. xvi). Imagery in poetry not only invites sensual responses, but it also evokes emotions and connections with personal experiences. Imagery is integral to interpreting with our whole beings; paying attention to imagery can help people exercise their powers of imagination and can encourage more focused observations in life. “It is through image making that we participate in a feeling relationship with the world around us” (Rummel, 1995, p. 93). Reading and interpreting imagery in a poem is akin to perceiving and making sense of the world. Metaphor is the core and soul of poetry, bringing thought and emotion to the reader in a way that can be visualized, touched, heard, tasted, smelled. The abstract thought and concrete connections to experience that metaphors can nurture and evoke have the potential to help students honor their prior knowledge and extend their sociocultural perceptions. Through metaphor, our social context can widen because metaphor is key to voice (Rummel, 1995, p. 89). As George Lakoff and Mark Johnson (2003) stated in Metaphors We Live By, “A...
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