Friday, March 23, 2012

SOLS #23 Perception

My first graders made me laugh today as they left school today, sad to be missing a week of learning with their friends.  I'm sure my husband won't experience the same sadness from his eighth graders when spring break arrives.  "In poems we're moved to catch the moment or place inside or outside ourselves where something is different and we know we're about to be led somewhere new."  Susan Goldsmith Woodridge, Poemcrazy: Freeing Your Life with Words

In addition to the Slice of Life Challenge at Two Writing Teachers, I'm finally joining the Poetry Roundup hosted at A Year of Reading.  

*If you're reading this poem from a mobile device turn it sideways.  
                                            After a day
                                            Of anticipation
                                            The bell rings
                                            Doors swing open.

The first graders leave
Heads hanging down.
"It's spring break,"
The teachers say.

                                                                The eighth graders
                                                                Grab their cellphones
                                                                Shove books into their lockers
                                                                "Finally," they shout!

The children know they should be happy
But a week without school?
"How will we do it?"
They ask.

                                                               "A week without school,"
                                                               The tweens think with glee.
                                                               This day has taken

"We will be right here
When you return,"
The teachers assure.
The children smile.

                                                               The teens race out the door
                                                               The sound of happiness rumbles.
                                                               Teachers try to slow them down
                                                               But the students do not look back.

The young learners
Say their goodbyes
And exit
Waving to their teachers.

                                          Students push through
                                          The doors
                                          A strange quiet settles
                                          In empty halls.


  1. That is great Cathy! I love how you compared the two. Oh so true!

  2. Nice side by side...really like the style. Very much a poem in two voices. I wonder at what age students lose their love of school--or at least when do they lose that feeling of wanting to be there?

  3. Cathy,
    This reminds me of the last day of school. I'm always thinking my first graders will be excited about summer vacation and all they talk about is missing me and each other. (I love first graders) It's always interesting to look at things from different perspectives, which is difficult for first graders to do. So important to be able to look beyond ourselves. Lots of take-aways from your poem.

  4. Love the two voices. Isn't it the truth? Wonder how we can change the perception of the tweens? Maybe they need to hang out with those first graders, let a little bit of their enthusiasm rub off. Happy spring break!

    BTW, I giggled when I read your note about turning the mobile device. Ah, smart phones!

  5. So true - and at fifth we are somewhere in the middle. They were ready to go but when I've seen them around town they are beyond excited and ready to talk to me. Love the format you used here.

  6. Reminded me of the You Read To Me, I'll Read To You books. Today was our last day before spring break. I received many hugs from primary students as they left for the day. I really liked your poem.

  7. Loved this poem. It reminds me of poems for two voices. They say perception is everything and you have the essence of different perceptions here. You provided a further connection for me with your lead quote- I have the same book

  8. Great poem, Cathy! Our littlest learners at school thrive in a routine, and my teens at home yearn for free time. You totally captured the feelings of both.

  9. It is a "strange quietness" isn't it. Your poem reminds me of the last day of school too. I always feel it's a little anti-climactic. I so relate to the first graders - I'm sad too. I never understand those teachers who count down to spring break or summer vacation with such ferve. Yes, I love the break, but it is bitter sweet, especially those first moments.

  10. I'd love to "hear" this one as a podcast of two voices ...

  11. Ooo... I agree with Kevin. I'd love to hear this read in tandem with a younger and older voice.

    I love the structure of it!

  12. Love this - you and Michelle both wrote poems in 2 voices today. Something to which I aspire. :). But within your poem are so many truths - I have to say this year most 5th graders were ready to say just walk out the doors as well. We were planning for our spring break reading, and one student turned to me completely baffled. "they call it BREAK for a reason.". Guessing he probably didn't get much read over break. :)

  13. When I shared the news of spring break with my first graders many showed their disapproval with thumbs down and pouty lips! This is why I teach first grade!


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