Slice of Life: So How Are You?

Today’s post comes as part of Two Writing Teachers’ Slice of Life Tuesday. Give them a peek!

How are you doing,
I asked my writers to say
(Only in haiku)

So of course you know
The questions rolled right on in
How much, and can I,

Is it okay if,
Am I maybe allowed to,
Do you think it’s right?

And what is so great
About taking these loveys
Under teacher-wing

Is the chance to say,
Eye to eye and heart to heart:
I trust your judgement.

Just write the stanzas
The paper’s asking of you
Just let the ink flow.

Satisfy yourself
And write something you just love
Or not. It’s all fine.

And sure enough, the
Magic began to happen
Once they discovered

How five-seven-five
Is really just our thinking,
However it comes

And five-seven-five
Is not a stumbling-block
But a stepping-stool

For thoughts, ideas. For
Frustrations, excitements. For
Silly strains of words.

All of it gathered,
Displayed for each other to
Read and just enjoy –

And enjoy we did,
Connecting our lives and our
Feelings, poem to poem

And leaving, I hope,
With a better sense of how
It feels to be seen.

Published by Lainie Levin

Mom of two, full-time teacher, wife, daughter, sister, friend, and holder of a very full plate

19 thoughts on “Slice of Life: So How Are You?

  1. I LOVE this! I did a vlog with novels in verse for my eighth graders where I promoted each book with a haiku…and look what you did here with a series of them! “Being seen,” connecting with our creative selves, finding joy with word play (the boundary of 5-7-5 invites the kids to stretch every great thinking muscle!), poetry needs to find a central place more often, as it has here with your “loveys.”

    1. Oooh…doing a book response in haiku sounds cool – ESPECIALLY when it’s a novel in verse. I’m going to have to steal that one!

      And, as someone who lives in metaphor, YES. We need more poetry. EVERYWHERE.

  2. I love this piece! For me, the “what is so great/about taking these lovers/under teacher wing” stanza really shifted the piece to a different trajectory, full of heart. I LOVE the value you share, of telling them “I trust your judgement.” And your photos show how you allow individuality and are rewarded with focused effort. your final verse the greatest teaching value of all…

    1. Thank you, Fran! The “teacher-wing” part is something that I feel deeply. I get protective over my students, and consider them to be mine (as in part of my heart) in all the ways.

      And you know, some of the students find themselves rolling their eyes when I give them the “trust your judgement” line, but somehow miraculously they move on to find their way despite the resistance. Go figure =))

  3. This appeals so sweetly to my Haiku-loving heart. The pictures of students engaged in writing, thinking, and practicing counting syllables – wow! It is so heartwarming to see the love of writing in students – and a teacher who sparks the love and writes alongside them. How positively inspiring!

    1. Thank you! I went home that day feeling energized and proud of the work they did. It’s a feeling I try for every day, even if sometimes I fall short.

      And yes, that feeling of watching kids when they enjoy what they’re doing? PRICELESS.

    1. Right? And we need to say it more often, and we need to MEAN it more often. Then again, I think it’s something my colleagues need to hear more often, but THAT is another soapbox for another day…

  4. I love this post and the pictures of those students so focused and intent on finding their way as they write and on valuing the writing of their classmates. You also chose the perfect structure for it! Well done!

    1. Thank you! It was one of those things that I was planning for, and the kids took it and ran. Those are some of my favorite lessons, when the kids really connect. On days like that, where I just get to wind them up and let them go, I find teaching to be the most fulfulling.

  5. What a great post! It seems the questions posed are the same ones asked about any writing assignment. I think once students realize the freedom haiku gives, even with its syllable count, they amaze themselves with the thoughts and ideas that run through their minds.

    1. You’re absolutely right. I get those questions across the board, across the curriculum. You also mention the freedom of haiku. It’s interesting to me that sometimes structure can be more liberating than complete freedom. Like, if I had just asked the kids to write about their day, I don’t think I would have gotten the quantity OR the quality they had given when pushed into some boundaries.

      Let’s just call it “academic swaddling.” (can I trademark that one?)

    1. Yes! Yes! I find the same to be true as a writer. Sometimes there is freedom within constraints, and it never fails to amaze me how well that works.

      1. Right? It seems like it is a lie when people say it — but it’s so true. I have learned a lot about that with Angela Stockman’s work, and I find it so interesting.

  6. Oh, you know how I love poetry forms! I simply ADORE how you linked your haikus into a cohesive poems! Haikus are so easy and yet so wonderfully complicated – perfect for kids. I know they loved it.

  7. As someone who struggles with writing poetry, I really related to the the questions at the beginning:

    So of course you know
    The questions rolled right on in
    How much, and can I,

    Is it okay if,
    Am I maybe allowed to,
    Do you think it’s right?

    But this piece was inspiring.

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