Best Practice

qualities - communities – literacy

Best Practices in English Lit., Poetry Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Some little brown birds
are flying around
the wind is blowing all
the green leaves around
there are white clouds
up in the sky
the light blue sky

 "I was a meanie," she said with a wide smile.
"I made them cry."
"My group. I took my poems to that group. And they read them, and it made them cry."
Well, I thought, that was easy.

She wanted to learn to write poems. We read some poems (lyrics, really). We wrote some poems - me scaffolding less and less each time. She learned to write poems. She wrote and shared her poetry. She got a positive response.

Now she's a poet.

Back story here. (

More interesting, for me, is that I used a different approach than the one I describe in this 2007 post

Why? Have I gotten smarter?

No. It was just that the 2007 technique wasn't working - much to my alarm - and so I had to think up something else.

Okay. Good. Now I have two tactics for teaching poetry.

But if there's a take-away for me in this, it's that the next time I'm likely to have to create a third or fourth or fifth way to help an adult learn to read and write poetry.

Never mind your successes, Wendell. Never mind all the successes in the world. Each time we start anew, and "best practice" means what works best for that learner in that moment.