Michelle Gunderson: Poetry As Subversive Activity

Diane Ravitch's blog

Michelle Gunderson teaches first grade in Chicago. She teaches poetry to her students. They love it. They read poems and they write poems.

We read tons of poems, made lists of what we noticed, tried different techniques, and learned the mechanics of poetry. But at the end of the unit we read Whitman, Hughes, Dickinson, and Rosetti. We decided to add to our list of poetry features that poems can be about something important.

Writing a poem when you are six, and experiencing yourself as a poet is extraordinary.

Poetry is the natural language of childhood – we hear it in nursery rhymes, playground games, and jump rope songs. Yet, writing poetry is not part of the Common Core standards in the early grades. There are several reasons to be troubled by this. First of all, when we eliminate a genre of literature that is natural to children, we also…

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