Something happened today that was one of those snapshot moments. You know the kind you know is special so you take a mental picture to remember it?
It was in our Zoom “Open Hour” meeting. This time is like office hours for my fifth graders during emergency remote learning. Students can come and share the draft they are working on, ask a question about the assignment, or just say hi and see their friends.
Zainab had a question on our assignment, which was to write a poem about ourselves using figurative language. She said she wanted to write an Etheree poem, which is a ten-line poem starting with one syllable and then each subsequent line adds another syllable. She explained that she had written 8 metaphors and similes and she wanted to use them all, but they were each 7-10 syllables. So what was she to do? What a great writer question! The ensuing conversation between us was one of those writerly moments that makes me love my job as a teacher. I shared alternative form ideas, but also an example of how I had to shorten some of my ideas, like my metaphor–“I am a sunrise of hope”–became “rise of hope” for line 3. During this encounter, I began contemplating the question, do we write for ourselves or our audience?
Anyway, we were into this sweet writing conference, and at one moment I looked around the Zoom gallery and saw the 13 attentive faces of the others in our meeting, listening to our conference. For a few moments I had forgotten about them.
I’m sure it was the first time in my entire teaching life that I was having a conference where 13 others sat in on the conversation.
We had lots more of these mini conferences during the rest of the meeting. Sometimes other students would chime in to help. By the way, each time I asked the students if they wanted to share and receive feedback in front of their peers. All of them said yes.
An Etheree Poem about Me
Rise of hope
Map of my heart
Daughter of the King
As old as a grandma
Talkative as a parrot
Delighted as a young puppy
Friend of caring, hope, and honesty
Trying to be a better ancestor
I AM POEM
I am Zainab.
I am the taste of pancakes and sweet maple syrup.
I am the smell of daisies starting to grow.
I am the sight of a birthday cake full of delights.
I am the sound of babies whining and their sweet laughter.
And the cheers of a crowd.
I am the taste of freshly baked pizza with a sight of delight for dessert.
I am a collector of my memories.
I am the sound of classical music playing.
I am the touch of guitar strings and fluffy marshmallows.
I am the taste of a fresh salad with a dressing that is made of magic.
I am the smell of the sea on an early summer morning.
I am the sight of knowledge walking on a runway
And books humming their words.
I am a girl with hair like a flowing river.
I am a princess with cheeks as red as roses.
The Queen of Poems,
Zainab Aref Almukhtar (5A)