Sunday, April 21, 2013 favorite strategy...Let it out!

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When I was in the classroom, poetry was the main vehicle I used at the beginning of the year.  I used it to steer the reluctant writer, to squash perceptions that longer is better, and it put the sound of language and word choice at the forefront.  This focus always provided a solid foundation for examining words, phrases, and moods in reading and writing all year.

As the year begins to wind down (7 more Sunday nights!...I count Sunday nights instead of days :), I always found poetry at the forefront again.  It was that time to use the community we had built to dig deep into our messages as a writer, our words, our phrases, and our moods.  Time to share more of ourselves as the journey in our classroom began to come to an end.

My favorite strategy in poetry writing is one I call...Let it out.  I was reminded of this strategy today as I struggled with memories of my father.  Seemed he was everywhere today. So I decided to ...let it out!  This strategy has three steps.

1.  Let the ideas out.  Write without punctuation and just let the ideas or feelings flow.

I think of him all day  he consumes my thoughts I see him at soccer games  I feel him on the golf course I hear him as I seek advice and comfort it is the memories that provide the warmth to the void I feel today

2.  Insert line breaks.  Insert pauses as you feel, think, wonder, or remember as you read it again.

I think of him
All day
He consumes my thoughts
I hear him at soccer games
I feel him on the golf course
I hear him on the phones
As I seek advice
And comfort
It is the memories that provide
Warmth to the void
I feel today

3.  Let the words out...Change words, delete words, play with tenses.  And my third attempt would be...

I think of him
All day
Consuming my thoughts
At soccer games
On the golf course
On the phone
Seeking advice
Seeking comfort
The memories
Warmth to the void

This sequence also helps students with seeing writing as a process and revising with immediate changes in a short sample.  Try it...let it out! :)


  1. Thank you for sharing your poem about your father. What a beautiful way to place all those feelings onto paper. Your last two lines are strong with me.

  2. Lovely poem - and great strategy.

  3. Thank you for sharing. What a powerful piece and a student friendly strategy.