Dare to Care

construct, create, communicate, collaborate, and think critically

by Denise Krebs

“I Am” Metaphor Poems

In the summer I read the blog of Sara Kiffe, with the lovely name of Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast (Teaching Under the Big Sky).  On July 2, she wrote this post, “First Day I Am Poems.” Sara didn’t stop there. Check out Sara’s super summer posts for lessons on Fibonacci PoetryColor Poems and Saving Things Poetry.

I decided to try writing metaphors the first day of school too. I teach English to native Arabic speakers, and I had them only 45 minutes a day the first two days of school. After a mini lesson on metaphors and figurative language, each student wrote one metaphor using one of their senses, a metaphor about themselves. Most of them were able to understand and created their own metaphors.

We hung their first metaphors on a bulletin board in the hallway.

We are learners!

A post shared by arsgrade5 (@arsgrade5) on

The next day they wrote a whole poem about themselves using metaphors of all kinds. The images were so sweet and some were just beautiful.

I don’t know much about the Arabic language, but from what others tell me and what I’ve experienced, it is rich in figurative language. In previous years, I’ve noticed my students have always been good at similes and metaphors, and they use them spontaneously in their writing and speaking.

Thanks, Sara, for the inspiration.

First day of school metaphor slides
Student Samples
Templates – Students chose from these to help scaffold their writing

by Denise Krebs

I Am Denise and Other Poems

I am open and questioning

I wonder why I’m so tired

I hear Inshallah and Shukran

I see the turquoise glittering buildings in Manama

I want to know the Truth

I am open and questioning

I pretend to know too much

I feel like screaming into my pillow

I touch my badge and shine it up

I worry that I can’t communicate with my students

I cry at night when I think too much

I am open and questioning

I understand that God is gracious to me anyway

I say God is love

I dream of a world of peace

I try to love

I hope for a bright future

I am open and questioning

I am Denise


I’m working on a variety of poetry formats with my class these days, so I’m making sample poems. The one I wrote today, I notice is a bit dark, but ‘I hope for a bright future,’ at least.

The “I Am” poem is an old form I used to use that was published by the ETTC (Educational Technology Training Center) of New Jersey. Does anyone know what happened to these great online poetry forms? Here is the BROKEN link that doesn’t work any longer. (And thanks to the tweeter at @RWTnow, here is a link to the archived list of the poems. They are even better than I remembered! However, beware–if you create a poem on one of the forms, it won’t be able to show it to you. You’ll have to screenshot it. Or just use the ideas for each poem.)

I typed up the “I Am” form for anyone to use. for their class. Click here for my Google Doc–just go to File > Make a Copy.

Found Poetry by Read, Write, Think, using the Word Mover Student Interactive.

You can choose one of the Japanese images that they provide. Or…

You can even add your own image. This is a picture I took from the Bahrain Bay.

Another poetry writing resource–writing a haiku on Read, Write, Think’s interactive Haiku form.

One last poem. Prepositional Phrase Poem

Beside my dying mom

During her last days

In her rock house living room

Next to the rented hospital bed

Because of my great love for her

With sadness in my heart

Without fear, but with God’s peace

Good-bye, Mama


by Denise Krebs

In Memory

Today would have been my mom’s 90th birthday. I have been thinking about her so much lately. I miss her a lot. She was loving, fun, and selfless.

Clockwise from upper left, 1988, 1949, 2006, today

My daughter wrote two sonnets about her grandma after we saw her for the last time:

jalapeño sweats
I’d never seen my Grandma grey and worn.
This shrunken woman in the hospice bed
cannot be my grandma. My grandma lives alone
in Yucca Valley, hiking on the dirt

roads with muddy furrows that sink like
the laugh lines on her cheeks. She conceals
wispy hair under immaculate wigs. Despite
sore hammer toes she works her sky-high heels.

That day I hiked the furrowed roads alone,
adrift amidst waxy Creosote.
Stringy jackrabbits, baby quail gambol,
flitting through dry gulches like rowboats.

Somehow I didn’t want to be inside
Spring Break two thousand ten, when Grandma died.

Spring Break two thousand ten, when Grandma died,
I arrived in time for bon voyage,
the convalescent odors scattered by
tamales, Spanish rice, tortillas, guac,

and Grandma, a bit tipsy on boxed wine.
One last boisterous fiesta while the Reeds
were still a family, whole and feeling fine.
The jalapeño sweat displaced the needs

that lay beneath the cornered hospice sheets.
The jalapeños were what got to me,
the smiles against those hospice whites.
The laugh of one you love is therapy

with nebulizer and glass of sweet rosé.
I’d never seen my grandma worn and grey.

By Maria Krebs

And one I wrote after she died.
Screen shot 2010-04-25 at 8.51.03 PM

Close to Me

by Denise Krebs
1 Comment

Title Poems

Everyone is entitled to write great poetry! And my students did, using titles as their form. You may recognize some of the titles they used by looking at the first word in each line. That’s not the important thing though. The poems stand alone–they put pictures in my head or feelings into my heart as a reader and that’s why I like these poems. (Some students chose to use their netnyms to publish.)

Check out the links on the left for individual’s student literary magazines. They make me proud to be their teacher!

Two shoes on your feet

Are better than having none

Better than you’ll ever know

If then you’re not satisfied,

Someone else would appreciate them

One good deed can lead to many.

By Professor Chuckles

Against a bull in a fight

The rodeo clown is knocked into the air while

Grain wagons are pulled into the arena

By Tiko

You’re a really bad guy.

Love is like a game to you.

Is my love too strong for you?

My heart is missing a beat

Drugs are the only thing to

Your life

By Blondie

Don’t try to fly

Stop right where you are

Believing in yourself won’t help a bit

By Fity Five

Back in the alley

In a burning cardboard box

Black smoke is in the air

By Mr. Dr. Professor Pigskin

Biggest concert hall

Baddest bands are there

And instruments beware

Loudest music in the air

By Kid Top Rod

Run across the earth

To a rainbow to find a pot of gold

You have been waiting for

By Lena Snowman

Paper ripped from books make

Planes that fly around for fun

Holy priests say that plane is a

Diver, maybe we shouldn’t play in church

By Dr. Jekyl

House of pencils

Of wooden number 2

The lead is soft

Rising up through the door

Sun is the color of its outside

By Aaron McDerbay

I hear the wind blow

Will the snow ever stop?

Not today

Bow and pray for it to end.

By Miss Baurice Giggles

Breaking records everywhere

The dirt bike hit the ramp

Law of gravity doesn’t apply to Travis Pastrana

By Norman Finkleman

Listen to your dreams

To become who you want to be

Your life is whatever you make it

Your heart will lead the way

By Rosie McDonald

Every mother loves flowers

Time to buy them

She would love them to be pink so it

Goes with her dress that way

Away to the ball with daddy she will go

By D.T. Lion

School’s the place we go to “learn”

Out in the middle of nowhere

For no reason at all

The thing we all have to do

Summer fever is taking hold of us

By Abby Rumpelstiltskin

I wonder about outer space

Thinking how the world keeps spinning

I’ll try to keep our earth clean

Try to get others to as well

Defining what stars make up constellations

Gravity will always be pulling us down

By Randolph McMan

Breaking down without you

Apart from you is so lonely

Her heart is crying

Hearts will never be the same

By NoJo JoJo

All I can think about is you

I am crazy for you

Wanna be yours

Do not want anything other than you

By Lydia Lee

One day a week

Of a whole twelve hours

These days grow longer now

Nights are spent, it is worth it

By Florian

Somewhere in idyllic Iowa

Over in the field of rich darkness

The farmer prepares the soil

Rainbows bring hope for a golden harvest

By Mrs. Krebs

Bless all

The people with a

Broken heart on a

Road to a new start

By Nicole

We are unstoppable

Are we going to win?

The other team is shaking

World is at my feet

By Abby

I went fishing

Got a fish

A long fish

Feeling happy

By Morgan

Here right now

We look up at the stars that

Go away in the light and

Again come back at night

By Crystal

You are the one that should

Belong with me through it all

With faith, hope and love you shall live in

Me forever with peace

By Shaina

Boy: “Why can’t we be together?”

Girl: “Don’t you see? It’s all wrong!”

Boy: “We can fix this. I promise.”

Girl: “Just go. Please?”

Boy: “Dance with me first. For me?”

By Becca

You are sitting on the purple stars

Belonging to the blue sky

With the striped planets

And me spinning around you.

By Brittany

Life isn’t an easy trip

Is there any doubt?

A truck drives on the road,

A highway to nowhere.

By Matt

Fishing in the pond

In the sand

The wind blowing

Dark in the night

By Lucas

If the world was gray

You would be the grayest

Only I could help you

You knew I was the one to come to

By Ryan

Teardrops on my pillow

On my bed and on

My very own purple

Guitar and pick.

By Ashley

Ain’t any time to stop and sit

No one can slow down and

Rest at all

For we are on a journey

The people are waiting

Wicked ones aren’t coming with

By Allie

You were sitting over there

Belonging to her instead of me

With her you sat

But with me you are supposed to be

By Melissa

History takes place every day

In the kitchen

The loving grandma

Making apple pie

By Leah

For you and me


And forever. Love

Always finds its way in

By Carli

Youth have power

Of the schoolyard.

The President controls a

Nation of people.

By Carter

Life is a rocky road

Life is a windy alley

A person going through life

The highway of life

By Aaron

Living in the past time

On that future day

A second chance for life

Prayer for a lifetime

By Molly

We sat around the table in silence

Are we going to do anything?

The thoughts were still coming. What has the

World come to, if not this?

By Kim

Big are the buildings

Girls so pretty

Don’t worry, I’m here. Don’t

Cry, I’ll be here for you.

By Jarod

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