Poetry Contest for Grades 9 and 10

A while back I received the following invitation:

A Panacea of Poetry East Central is having a poetry contest! It will be positively poetic and panoptic!

The first phase we undertook in Grades 9 and 10 was to explore Ladders to the Dark. The first poem was published, April 21, 2009. And today 38 students have written over 350 poems, fragments, and musings.

Links to all published poems can be found at our Queneau blog, aka Random Poetry, in the comments section following each exercise.

Now, here’s what I would like to see from students, today:

  1. Write a post that contains links to three of your best poems and/or links to three of the best poems written by your classmates
  2. Submit a comment below with a link to that post.
  3. Return to this blog later today to find out who I’ve seleted to advance to the next phase

Today, three poems in Grade 9 and three poems from Grade 10 will be entered in the next phase of the contest.

Winners(and prizes???) of A Panacea of Poetry will be announced June 15, 2009.

Good luck.

UPDATE: 3:30PM May 6, 2009
The Finalists:
Grade 9
My Mind Is High
In the Midst of the Fire
Grade 10
Turning Back

Pupils Produce Political Propaganda

How tough is it to create the slick political attack ads that flood the airwaves during an election?

Well, not so tough.

I stumbled onto a site that generates attack ads as fast as refrigerator magnetic poetry.


I’m sure ten minutes is all you’ll need to create an ad that rivals any real attack ad.

Post a link to your “Attack Ad” here.
Attack Add Demo

Suggestions for Approaching Poetry

  1. Assume that it will be necessary to read a poem more than once. Give yourself a chance to become familiar with what the poem has to offer. Like a peace of music, a poem becomes more pleasurable with each encounter.
  2. Do pay attention to the title; it will often provide a helpful context for the poem and serve as an introduction to it.
  3. As you read the poem for the first time, avoid becoming entangled in words or lines that you don’t understand. Instead give yourself a chance to take in the entire poem before attempting to resolve problems encountered along the way.
  4. On a second reading, identify any words or passages that you don’t understand. Look up words or passages that you don’t know; these might include names, places, historical and mythical references, or anything else that is unfamiliar to you.
  5. Read the poem aloud (or perhaps have a friend read it to you). You’ll probably discover that some puzzling passages suddenly fall into place when you hear them. You’ll find that nothing helps, though, if the poem is read in an artificial, exaggerated manner. Read in as natural a voice as possible, with slight pauses at line breaks. Silent reading is preferable to imposing a “te-tumpty-te-tum” reading of the poem.
  6. Read the punctuation. Poems use punctuation marks – in addition to the space on the page – as signals for readers. Be especially careful not to assume that the end of a line marks the end of a sentence, unless it is concluded by punctuation.
  7. Paraphrase the poem to determine whether you understand what happens in it. As you work through each line of the poem, a paraphrase will help you to see which words or passages need further attention.
  8. Try to get a sense of who is speaking and what the setting or situation is. Don’t assume that the speaker is the author; often it is a created character.
  9. Assume that each element in the poem has a purpose. Try to explain how the elements of the poem work together.
  10. Be generous. Be willing to entertain perspectives, values, experiences, and subjects that you might not agree with or approve.
  11. Try developing a coherent approach to the poem that helps you to shape a discussion of the text.
  12. Don’t expect to produce a definitive reading. Many poems do not resolve all the ideas, issues, or tensions in them, and so it is not always possible to drive their meaning into an absolute corner. Your reading will explore rather than define the poem. Poems are not trophies to be studied and mounted. They’re usually ore elusive. And don’t be afraid that a close reading will damage the poem. Poems aren’t hurt when we analyze them; instead, they come alive as we experience them and put into words what we discover through them.

Anti-Bullying Song Research Assignment

Blog an online research about a song that relates to Heather’s workshop(s) about:

  • Bullying
  • Domestic Violence
  • Peace
  • Getting Along


  1. Lyrics, portions cut’pasted with hyperlink to source.
  2. 250-words:
  • What is going on in the song?
  • What is the message the artist is trying to send?
  • How do you feel about this message?
  • How does it focus on the workshop topics?

3. Composer, performer, dates, album art, awards.

4. History, background, items/ideas of interest

5. Hyperlink all sources.

6. Add to Assessment Data Spreadsheet and apply Critical Thinking rubric (1-4)

7. Moderate three comments on your own. Leave plenty of comments, at least three, on other iblog.stjschool.org blogs.

Translations: Idea to Image

Write as quickly as you can and as much as you can using the following list of 4 words in addition to a few spontaneously selected words.

Then remove the listed words from your writing and leave a set of () behind.

Next to each listed word add an “==>”


Shut your eyes, think about a word from the list, let the mind “translate” the idea into an image. Write down an image corresponding to each word.

Reinsert these translated images into your ().

Restructure the piece into poetry. Remove words, add line breaks and spacing.

Do not add rhyme.

Ten Minute Spill

Write a ten-line poem. Find a proverb, adage, familiar phrase, or brainy quote that you have changed in some way as well as five of the following words: cliff, blackberry, needle, cloud, voice, mother, whir, lick.

You have ten minutes.

No rhyming.

We will be practising poetry posting permanently. Please create categories in your sidebars to begin sorting it all into manageable hierarchies. (Dashboard=>Manage=> Links=>Link Categories).

First Lines

Turn off moderation from your Dashboard==>Options ==>Discussion.

Begin your post with the first line of a poem. Now you go to someone else’s blog and comment the next line. (Meanwhile your post will collect lines for your poem.)
Try to post one line on everyone’s blog.

When you commented on all posts go back to your post and cut and paste as much as you like into a new poem.

Post your finished poem.