Monday, March 15, 2010
a popcorn poem
This child's task was to practice writing the classroom "popcorn words" on her white board. "Popcorn words" are sight words, or words that the children are encouraged to memorize and know on sight, without needing to decode them--as quickly and effortlessly as popping a kernel of popcorn. It's a pretty good task--it's empowering to know those popcorn words, and everybody likes writing on (and erasing) the white boards.
She did this at first, and then she was struck with the idea of trying to make sentences with them. I think she went beyond even writing sentences, and wrote a poem.
I was assisting at that literacy center, and I'm pretty sure that technically, my given task was to discourage the fancy outlining of the letters, and encourage her to carry on practicing writing the popcorn words instead.
But I pretended I didn't notice. When she finished, I took a photo and told her I felt she had written a poem. She gazed at the white board for a while, then carried it around to share with her friends. She created learning for herself and others that was far beyond the original task.
Everyone read it, even children who are struggling to read the popcorn words. We all understood it.