Reading

With special thanks to Kim Johnson, who invited participants to write around “second grade pain” on Ethical ELA this week. She modeled with a form of poetry, the pantoum.

I knew right away what my poem would be about…

2nd Grade Trouble Pantoum

I’m in trouble for reading
My little heart bleeding
For I hid during math with a book
When Teacher came to look

My little heart bleeding
To numbers, conceding
When Teacher came to look
In my cloakroom nook

To numbers, conceding
Warrior Teacher, succeeding
In my cloakroom nook
Oh, treasured book, that the pillager took!

Warrior Teacher, succeeding
For I hid during math with a book
Oh, treasured book, that the pillager took!
I’m in trouble for reading.

*******

Note: A pantoum doesn’t have to rhyme, although mine does. It is a form comprised of repeating lines in this pattern:

  1. Begin by writing four original lines.
    1 2 3 4
  2. REPEAT lines 2 and 4 and expand ideas in lines 5 and 6:
    2 5 4 6
  3. REPEAT lines 5 and 6, expand ideas in lines 7 and 8:
    5 7 6 8
  4. FINALLY, repeat lines 1, 3, 7 and 8 in the following order:
    7 3 8 1

The annual Slice of Life Story Challenge with Two Writing Teachers is underway, meaning that I am posting every day in the month of March. This marks my fifth consecutive year and I’m experimenting with an abecedarian approach: On Day 18, I am writing around a word beginning with letter r.

Also shared for Poetry Friday this week; many thanks to Linda at TeacherDance for hosting the Roundup!

46 thoughts on “Reading

  1. Fran, i have been remiss in catching up with your slices due to our life move. Your pantoum had an extra surprise-rhyme. I have not tried this format and like how you created yours. I also like that it is told through the eyes of a child who loves to read.

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    • Dear Carol – I so understand, and keeping up has been challenging in this Challege! I am living for spring break, the week before Easter. I hope all is going well with your move. I shall visit Beyond Literacy Link and do some catching up. So glad you enjoyed my rhyming pantoum – I kind of heard the sound of it, before all the words came.

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  2. This may be your shortest slice this month, but something tells me it may have taken more minutes to write than some of your others. Of course, R would be a salute to reading:
    “Oh, treasured book, that the pillager took!”
    I’m in awe of how you manged to salute reading, answer Ethical ELA’s invite, and write a pantoum!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ramona, let me just give you my heartfelt thanks for highlighting line “8” (according to the pattern). That was the single hardest line and took me longer than the rest of it together. The whole spark was the prompt, 2nd grade trouble… yeah that was my big trouble that year. I wrote this pantoum earlier in the week and saved it for my “r” day – I hadn’t planned to write to “reading,” believe it or not, but I do know this: Never say No when the Muse hands you a thing…

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  3. Okay, this is more than my little mind can handle. I have trouble rhyming. I have trouble saying a lot in a few words, but this pantoum thing seems like it would take me most of the month just to master the pattern. The 7,3,8,1 finishing stanza would finish me off. The fact that it rhymed and also made sense and also created an image. Kudos to the stealth reader who turned into a poet who could follow a mathematical pattern. I really like “to numbers conceding.”

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    • Lol, it wasn’t as hard as it seems until around lines 6-7. Line 8 kicked my…er, mind. I wrestled with that one line longer than it took to write the others put together. But you have pointed out something SO OBVIOUS that I never even considered… mastery of a mathematical pattern in the pantoum. Poetry is indeed wedded to math with lines, beats, meter, etc. Like music. Literacy conquers all! I turned out ok despite skipping math in 2nd grade, wonder of wonders! Many thanks for this.

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  4. I love this format and am using this as a mentor text to try for my own. It brought up my own memories of getting in trouble….for doing a word search puzzle when I should have been doing something else. Oh, such rebels. =)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Delighted that you will use the pantoum as a mentor text! I had written of this experience a few times in a modeled narrative for students, but this is the first time I tried to capture it in poetry. Went really well until line 8 which was incredibly hard but then again, rhyme is why, and the pantoum doesn’t have to rhyme. As to being rebels… can we help it if we were little literati?! What a gift, really!

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  5. I would never have thought of you as one to break the rules – except I know you love to read so… But I hear the pain that you carry from so long ago with the pillager and warrior teacher, and treasured book. Lovely poem with an interesting format. Yes a mentor text indeed!

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    • I didn’t even think I was breaking the rules, really, but I clearly knew I was supposed to be doing math! I always loved to read. That cloakroom shelf by the rain boots was perfect, lol. Many thanks, Christine.

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  6. Loved this slice! I can picture you, planning and plotting ways to circumvent math with a good book. For me, that happened in kindergarten, when I discovered the “time out” space was also the classroom library. Score!

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    • Wasn’t exactly trying to be a rebel, honest (not at that age, anyway!). Once a week or so the “math cart” would come to our room and we were to work out problems on laminated worksheets with black grease pencils, which didn’t write well, and then we had to erase our work with paper towels. I basically hated all of this. While other kids were up milling to the cart and back, it was easy to slip off to the cloakroom with my book. I sat there on the shelf where rain boots usually sit. Wasn’t even thinking that I was being disobedient; I just wanted to read. But it DID clearly take a bit of plotting… oh, was Mrs. D. infuriated. Like, absurdly. I’d have just said, Kid, trust me, you need to work on your math skills; if you do a great job, you can have some reading time… I mean, it could have made me love math by association, right?

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      • It very well could have. And other than my younger son, I’m not sure I’ve met many (if any) kids who set out to be rebels. How do I know that he is? He earned his first time-out at day care before he was a year old. And it was actually deserved. The teacher told him not to do something. He smiled a big ole grin, looked her in the eye and DID IT. What a precocious youth I had! As for the math by association, I fervently believe there IS poetry in numbers…

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  7. I’m still in awe of your ability to remember…my second grade year is very, very fuzzy! I do remember that reading was always a chosen escape, however, so my heart connects with your second grade self. And now I must add the directions for a pantoum to my next post, to attempt the same tomorrow–though most likely without the same charm as your rhyming lines.

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    • I remember that classroom, the cloakroom, having trouble spelling “friend” (i/e issue), my good friend Robert who remained my good friend through high school, a light bulb that exploded and smelled horrific, all from that year. Plus Mrs. D, a fierce (seriously!) older lady with cat’s-eye glasses. Once a week or so the “math cart” would come to our room and we were to work out problems on laminated worksheets with black grease pencils, which didn’t write well, and then we had to erase our work with paper towels. I basically hated all of this. While other kids were up milling to the cart and back, it was easy to slip off to the cloakroom with my book. I sat there on the shelf where rain boots usually sit. Wasn’t even thinking of being disobedient; I just wanted to read. The moment she found me – etched forever! Do try the pantoum! Would love to see what you come up with.

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  8. I love pantoums, and this one resonated with me. I was always in trouble for reading! Can’t imagine it now. My teacher, too, was a pillager. Fortunately, for me, all of the books she pillaged were from the school library! Loved reading this.

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    • Many thanks, Diane. I’d written a narrative version of this several times as a modeled mentor text in second grade classes (the teacher called … guess who, kids? -Your mom! -No… my DAD. -GASP!-). This is my first time giving it a go with poetry and the pantoum seemed to be the perfect vehicle. So happy you enjoyed, kindred spirit!

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  9. OMG! You are brilliant! I loved your pantoum and marvel at the talent you have stringing just the right words together. My heart breaks for that little second grade you. Reading was the best thing ever. Besides, now we have calculators to do the heavy lifting of math. 🙂

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    • It’s rather burned into my memory, Elsie! I can see Mrs. D. this very moment, her icy blue eyes behind those cat’s-eye glasses… I’ve written this experience several times over as a modeled narrative mentor text for students, but this is the first time I’ve tried it in poetry. Your words mean so much, Elsie ❤ thank you!

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  10. You had fun with this and what a great topic to write about. 2nd grade troubles! I have seen this form before but have not tried it. I may have to try it at some point during this challenge. Thanks for sharing this!

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  11. I’ve always been a bookworm but oddly enough I had never had this happened to me. I would’ve been crushed. I still choose books over math. And much like you yesterday I busted one of my students for this very reason.

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    • I am chuckling at you busting a student for reading during math, Anna Maria – sorry that it was necessary, of course, but I cannot imagine you to be as terrifying as Mrs. D. She seemed a hundred years old, with no warmth whatsoever, and possessed of a pure dislike of children. Those things may or may not be true – who can say now? – but she sure embodied it all standing there, looming over me in my nook, when I was busted!

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  12. Fran, there is so much to like here, but my favorite phrases are in the third stanza with “Warrior Teacher, succeeding” and “that the pillager took!” In the eyes of a second grader determined to have her way, that’s exactly how a teacher would look. The good news, I’m sure, is that you learned your lesson and never tried that little bit of subterfuge again! (Man, I crack myself up.)

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    • Here’s the great irony: now I AM Teacher! You can bet I didn’t pull that stunt again! It’s made for great modeled writing lessons in lower grade classes, though; Warrior Teacher called my DAD. The kids always gasp at this. Too fun…from the vantage point of now, anyway!

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  13. I got in trouble for reading in school, and the same thing happened to my daughter. I remember once a teacher took my book away in class, and then later I saw her approaching my parents to talk to them, and I thought she was going to tell of my crime! Instead she said, “I really appreciate parents who know how to buy their children really GOOD BOOKS.” ❤ Ruth, thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com

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    • Lovely that your parents were praised for good taste in books! – my teacher called my Dad and so I really WAS in trouble. I really couldn’t afford to miss math, for sure, but as an interventionist a child sneaking off to read would be a dream come true. Matters of perspective!

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  14. I do wonder how many classrooms have those cloakrooms anymore? The only place my class had was the bathrooms. I did have one student who could not stop reading no matter the lesson. I never took his book away but I was tempted. So your poem has taken me to a teacher place instead of the students’. For a brief & wonderful pantoum, you’ve brought so much to ponder, Fran. Like Ramona, I love “Oh, treasured book, that the pillager took!” Terrific!

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  15. I can relate to your poem. It was second grade (or maybe first) when I got in trouble for reading. I’d claim I needed to take our book home to finish reading the story for the week. THen I’d lock myself in the bathroom at home and read the entire basal reader.

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    • This is hilarious! Also sad, that we got in trouble for reading when it is such a GIFT, that should be encouraged and never limited. Except for maybe when it intrudes on learning math – but still!

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