Saturday, August 19, 2017

List Poems

Things that are Dusty. Karli, 6th grade


I think either you are a list person, or you are not. My husband loves lists. He wakes up, makes a list of things he is going to do that day, and then happily crosses off each task as he accomplishes them. He loves lists so much that I have even seen him do something which was not on the list, like mowing the lawn, and then go back to his list, write the task on the list, and then cross it off. If that sounds as weird to you as it does to me, then you are probably not a list person. I have spoken to other list makers and most admitted to doing the same thing as my husband. I guess it's the thrill of crossing something off of the list that excites them. It's the written proof of what one has accomplished during the day.

I am not a list person. My husband tried to make me a list person when we were first married. My problem with lists is that I don't ever think about making them, I lose them, and according to my husband I don't make logical lists. Yes, he has rewritten my grocery lists because I usually list things that we need in each separate recipe. He makes grocery lists by the department in the grocery store. All dairy products will be found in the same part of my husband's list, all the produce items in another. Needless to say after having a few of my lists rewritten, I stopped making lists altogether.

In poetry, however, I do like making lists. Maybe it's because I get to take something, which for me personally is rather boring, and try to rework it into something creative and interesting. Maybe it's because poem lists can be totally imaginary, humorous, or just notice tiny details in life and make them beautiful in their accounting. Whatever the reason, whenever I plan a poetry unit List Poems are at the top of my list.
Things That Are Squishy C:\Documents and Settings\KiffeS\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files\Content.IE5\7WZNDXLT\MCj04345690000[1].wmf

The top of a jellyfish where you don’t get zapped
A latex ball when it’s in your hands
A piece of gum when it’s already been chewed
A sponge when you feel it
A marshmallow over the fire on a cold day
The comforter on a chair
Stuffed animals when you hold them
A puddle of mud when you step in it

Makayla, 6th grade

When we talk about List Poems in class, we first discuss the different reasons people usually make lists: groceries, chores, things to do, bucket lists. We list ingredients in recipes, we list the directions of a science experiment, we list homework assignments, dates we want to remember, and celebrations. Some of my students are natural list makers, but even those who are not usually like writing List Poems.

In poetry it is fun to make lists that account for little details in our lives like: Things that are Beautiful, or Things that Make Me Happy. Students have come up with incredibly creative lists that I never would have thought of like: Things that are Dusty, or Things that are Sharp. Little brothers and sisters usually get quite a bit of focus on lists like, Things that are Annoying, or Things that Make Me Mad.

Things That Are Round C:\Documents and Settings\KiffeS\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files\Content.IE5\WFCAEE5E\MCj04363170000[1].png

Bubble of soap flying right out of the bathtub
Sumo wrestlers, pale, round orbs
The blazing sun burning our skin
The world turning, twisting, and whirling
A sombrero on Cinco de Mayo
A squished piece of gum on the sidewalk
A tropical coconut hanging from a tree
The rings to your binder pinching your fingers

Carl, 6th grade


My only requirements for students on List Poems is that they do not write an ordinary list for groceries, or chores, and that the lists have at least five items included in them. I always encourage thinking about the images and messages we create when we write, and last for the students to be creative and have fun. Whether you are a list person or not, give a List Poem a try. You might be surprised by how creative and interesting a list can be.


Meteor - Free images on Pixabay


Things that are Destructive
Chance, 6th Grade

A rifle locked and ready to fire
A group of scientists producing the next state-of-the-art weapon
A ticking sound next to your feet
The next World War
A meteor crashing at high velocity into an innocent planet
A black hole sucking all light out of space
A fist, angry and full of hate
A hurricane destroying entire cities

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