Saturday, May 7, 2016

an animals poems workshop in mrs. coutts' second grade class at new hanover elementary school.

the first monday of may became a great celebration of foxes, deer, squirrels, hippos, and other creatures of the outside world in the second grade classroom of mrs. coutts at new hanover elementary school in the boyertown area school district.

photography credits: deborah coutts

we read sample poems which i wrote from real life stories and memories from my own days, to help the students understand how to stir reminders of their own animal-knowing to inspire their own poems. i read each poem first, and then a student would eagerly volunteer to read it again to practice vocalizing poetry. 

we also talked about what everyone liked about certain animals, like foxes. they're so fast, often red, and known to be clever. plus, watching them move with such speed is always a great attention-grabber. and you don't see them much, so when you do catch sight of one, it's something special. but when we notice them noticing us and telling others about it through their own forms of communication, and we know because we see one and suddenly none and then two staring at us, it indicates that they've been giving each other information in their own animal-way, separate from direct speaking.

the students recalled very good details for their own poems, like about leaving food out for deer at a cabin while on vacation with family and watching them nibble it from the hidden view behind a window.

once a lot of stories were shared and we had read all of the sample poems, everyone took time to write their own poems about all sorts of animals. then students read them to classmates, and i read the poems again for them to ensure that their carefully crafted words would be heard well, since there is often so much going on in a poem that it's nice to hear it twice.

we shared what we like most about poetry and writing it, too. rhyming served as a big winner. so did the fact that you can create new ideas with your imagination through poetry.

here are a few sample poems from the workshop by these witty, strongly observant second graders. and it was very hard to pick just a few to post, please know. there were a lot of great pieces of writing from these kids, and easily felt like a privilege to work with their wonderful little spirited selves.


By Evan D.

They’re like ninjas
They disappear in darkness
They jump like kangaroos
They can hear like a devil
And can sneak on you


By Logan W.

Me and my brother and my sister’s friend
were going to a farm 
we were going to the ducks
a mallard was chasing us
we just ran and went back
he still chased us.
He was now a brave mallard.


The Squirrels
By Ava M. 

I was with my dad
we live by the woods
so we find a lot of animals.

we saw a fox running so fast
when you flinch, she is gone!

I was with my sister and mom
we were on a walk

we saw a squirrel
that went so fast in a
tiny, tiny hole in our old house

and I was a baby so of course
I was going to run after it.
It stold some of our peanuts
and I was so sad cuz that was my
favorite food for lunch 

So I had a little fit.
So I tried to kill it.


What Cats Wish
By Lilly H. L.

I wish I could fly
To catch those sly birds.

Birds always swoop down
When we’re inside.

Tommycat listen
And repeat my pledge:
I shall live
Outside and catch 
A lot of 


My Dog and the Storm
By Carly S.

Me and my family 
Went to dinner and 
There was a storm

When we came back
We couldn’t find my dog.

When we found her 
She was in the basement
Hiding from the


By Landen H.

When I saw a deer
In my woods
It was eating corn
In the woods
We looked at one
Once we saw a deer
In my woods
He walked away
Back in his home.                                         

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