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Pearls of Grade 3 Wisdom

Posted on December 8th, 2016

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I teach a group of Grade 3 French Immersion students English for 40 minutes a week. They are mostly a very sweet and funny group. We’ve been working on poetry, including a poem with a template called “I Am.” The first two words of each line are given, and then they fill in the rest. The results are sometimes predictable, sometimes decidedly un-poetic, sometimes surprisingly insightful.

Here’s an example of one whole “I Am” poem, written by a (very bright) Grade 3 student:

I am brave and curious.

I wonder if I will ever change the world.

I hear babies crying.

I see my friends walking by.

I want to live and hope.

I am brave and curious.

***

I pretend I am my sister.

I feel sad sometimes.

I touch the air that we breathe.

I worry about my family.

I cry because of war.

I am brave and curious.

***

I understand the world we live in.

I say do not change.

I dream about life.

I try to change the world.

I hope for world peace.

I am brave and curious.

Pretty straightforward, but interesting and optimistic, no? I liked it. And here are some other lines that cropped up in various other kids’ poems:

I wonder if Santa is real.

I wonder if I will ever be an artist.

I wonder if I will ever be a mom.

I wonder if the pandas will be OK in China.

I wonder how wonderful my dog drawings are.

I wonder if I am as cute as a baby.

I wonder why Donald Trump won the election.

I hear the phoenix song.

I hear Santa breaking my house and sitting on my house.

I hear Hogwarts.

I hear a tiger roaring in the desert.

I see a leopard catching its prey in the tundra.

I see a kitten fly on my shoulder.

I want people to stop buying palm oil.

I want a credit card.

I pretend to have the cheese touch.

I pretend to ride on a black bear.

I feel proud to be Canadian.

I touch every cat that I have had in my life.

I touch the world flooding.

I touch a glass sphere with memories in it.

I worry that my stuffies will go away.

I worry about Donald Trump.

I worry that Donald Trump will kill me.

I worry about my parents being taken.

I worry I will touch a spider.

I worry about the sun exploding.

I worry that in a few years there will be no orangutans.

I cry because Santa didn’t bring me a present.

I cry about every cat that has passed away.

I understand how to make paper.

I understand bravery and love.

I understand that my iPad makes myself mad.

I understand that paper is made of trees.

I say I believe in Santa.

I say that Santa is real.

I say I believe in God.

I say I can do the armpit fart.

I dream I would meet God.

I dream that my cats will wear little elf costumes on Christmas.

I try to be the best that I can be.

I try not to eat tomatoes.

I hope for hot chocolate at Christmas.

I hope that I will stay young forever.

I hope I will meet Prince William.

I hope I get a red hockey puck.

I am… generous, brave, a youtuber, a lover of soccer-baseball, humorous, lovable, curious, funny, smart, creative, intelligent, part Dutch, super, cool, awesome, helpful, respectful, a cat lover, a small kitten and I can fly, active, nice, happy, and I like bubbles.

***

I felt privileged to read these. They are so honest, and so much more interesting than their “About Me” paragraphs in September. And there’s imagery there that amazes me. Some of their worries seem really deep and scary for Grade 3 – but I remember having similar grand worries at that age. (Some of them still apply.)

And it made me happy that the characteristics they named about themselves in the first and last line were, without exception, full of self-confidence.

Teaching in English is fun.

***


 

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6 Responses to “Pearls of Grade 3 Wisdom”

  1. 8 December, 2016 at 9:41 pm

    I completely love this! As a poet, a mum, and a political activist, I’m amazed and delighted. I adore these kids!

    • dilovelyadmin
      14 December, 2016 at 9:12 pm

      They are pretty great, indeed!

  2. Auntie CL
    8 December, 2016 at 11:03 pm

    “I hear the phoenix song.” My favourite.
    But also
    “I understand bravery and love.”
    “I touch the world flooding.”
    “I worry that in a few years there will be no orangutans.”
    “I say I can do the armpit fart.”
    Like you, i love that the “I am” sentences are full of confidence. Some of the quotes are deep, some astonishingly mature-viewpoint, some so poignant as to prick tears.
    Thanks for sharing wisdom from one of the smaller ages!

    • dilovelyadmin
      14 December, 2016 at 9:13 pm

      I love those same ones – I can’t help wondering what they’re thinking when they write certain things (“I touch the world flooding”), but that’s how I feel about most of my favourite poetry!

  3. emily
    9 December, 2016 at 9:45 pm

    OMG. Thank you! I laughed so hard I couldn’t breathe. I’m still laughing.

    I think this must be the same I Am page I had for my LINC class back at Naylor; I’m not sure we ever used it but I was given it by another teacher who had had good results. It’s cool to see that it’s used all over!

    Actually, I somehow missed the part where you said that this was a selection of lines from many tests, so I started reading that long list as if it was one poem, like the first one, and I was thinking, WHOA, this kid has some ECLECTIC brain stuff going on! But then I realized, wait a second, why are there so many of I wonder…

    But you did a great thing putting them all together like that. It makes some wonderful juxtapositions. I wonder how wonderful my dog drawings are. (I wonder that too.)

    My favourites are: I hear Santa breaking my house and sitting on my house. I pretend to have the cheese touch. I see a kitten fly on my shoulder. (Is this the same flying kitten as appears further down? Or are flying kittens the new trend?) I say I can do the armpit fart. I hear Hogwarts.

    Of course the Donald Trump ones break my heart. 🙁 And who is this kid who already wants a credit card?? Can he not just want flying kittens and Santa and chocolate like a normal small person? This kid and the palm oil kid sound like polar opposites. (But you never know.)

    • dilovelyadmin
      14 December, 2016 at 9:16 pm

      Yes, I guess this is widely used – another teacher passed it along to me. It does help for making poetry-writing more accessible to the kids. I laughed out loud at a lot of those things too – the cheese touch!! And the dog drawings!! and I really loved the one about cats in elf costumes, because that child’s poem was the sad one mostly about orangutans. And yes, the flying kittens were all from one li’l mind.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, December 8th, 2016 at 9:26 pm and is filed under Miscelliterature, School Snippets. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

 
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