Poetry Friday December 20th, 2019

The Almost Solstice Edition of Poetry Friday is hosted today by Buffy Silverman. She is sharing a gorgeous picture book with images and verse you won't want to miss.

Holy Carumba! Life has gotten very very busy. It's the season isn't it? My partner and I went away for a week to rest up and gird our loins psychologically in preparation. While I was away, I read poetry, graphic novels, novels and picture books. I got my Christmas shopping under control.

I have been rereading the poetry of Avis Harley because I'm going to be interviewing her in January and wanted to reacquaint myself with her work. It has been a long long time since I used her work with students.  I read African Acrostics and Fly with Poetry: An ABC of Poetry. The first introduced me to new kinds of acrostic poetry. The latter is an alphabetically listed collection of different poetic forms. I had forgotten how brilliant Avis is.

I had been thinking of the list of seasonal words for haiku created by one of the Poetry Friday Contributors. I am sorry that I didn't write down who it was. If you read this, let me know and I will give you credit! Using those words, I began messing around with acrostic poetry.  I came up with a few drafts and ended up with one I felt was shareable.

Then a friend of mine had asked me to sub for her in her grade 3/4/5 classroom. She told me to do whatever I wanted, suggesting I have the children create art to decorate the walls.

I planned to have the students write acrostic poetry which they would then illustrate with cut out construction paper. I put a chart paper in the middle of the meeting place and as students arrived, they added words. We took a few minutes to brainstorm more words to add to the list. at different times of the day I read poems from Avis Harley and shared some of my own. We wrote a couple of acrostics as a group. Luckily I had a spare period to combine and print the lists, gather supplies, and produce a demo. We started poetry drafts before lunch. Following silent reading after lunch I showed them how I came up with my process for deciding on what to do. Then they edited their poems and worked on their pictures. Some worked in pairs and others wrote independently. A few managed to finish everything before 3:00, but mostly, we ran out of time. Their teacher gave them time this week to complete them. I still haven't seen them, but hope to sneak in tomorrow.

I began by showing them my sketch for how I wanted my finished product to look. Next I showed how I screwed up (what not to do.) Then I showed them my finished piece. I should have spent more time talking about simple images.

The sketch:

The screw up:  (tree colour didn't work with the light blue.) You would think that as a quilter, I would have figured this out right away.

The finished product. I wish I had had a white pen to write with, but it is good enough. 

My poem was actually two words, but for my example I only used the word Tree. Here is the whole thing.

Fir Tree

Forest once held you
in its embrace. Will it
remember your pristine symmetry?

Trussed out in bright bobbles, you
remind us that
even though the light is waning,
eventually, it comes back

Here's another I came up with


soft as feathers, winter
nestles in
owning the landscape
white on white quiet

Happy solstice and happy holidays to everyone. 


  1. Cherrie, thanks for sharing your art process and poetry project. I am sure that the children benefitted from your modeling. Acrostic poems are doable for children and yours came out quite nicely. I love the message at the end of the snow poem. Happy Holidays to you.

  2. Cheriee, I love your acrostics and the activity you did with students! Wishing you a happy, healthy holiday season.

  3. Your acrostic poems are lots of fun--and I love the cut-paper collage that accompanies one. Sounds like a successful class!

  4. Thank you for sharing these lovely ideas for a poetry/art lesson. These could be adapted for use in many situations, and I think would always "work." Valuable plan! My best to you for a lovely holiday.

  5. Sounds like the students had an inspiring day with your focus on acrostic poems and art–what a treat! So nice to have that bobbled light come back in your poem, lovely poems, thanks Cheriee, Happy Holidays!

  6. I love that you worked with students to produce acrostics that SAY SOMETHING! I can't tell you how irritated it makes me to see "lists of random words that start with the letters that spell something" celebrated as acrostic poetry!!!

  7. How wonderful! I'm sure you have made a lasting memory with these students with poetry. And, what a lovely poem for Solstice. I hope you get to work with kids again. Have a wonderful holiday!

  8. Here's something I've never said before (a la Mary Lee's comment) -- gorgeous acrostics! Love those so very much. They are perfect mentor texts for what acrostics can be. Lovely. Cheers! -- Christie

    1. Almost like a reverse-ish Golden Shovel, using letters and not entire words.

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