Saturday, March 8, 2014

The Dr. Seuss Challenge

I started a poetry workshop this week in my Creative Writing class and decided to combine the start of the unit with recognition of Dr. Seuss' birthday. To begin writing poetry, I reminded my students that, for many of them, their first exposure to poetry was through Dr. Seuss. With that in mind, we started our poetry unit with the Dr. Seuss challenge.

If you don't know the story, The Cat in the Hat was written using a vocabulary list for young readers. Dr. Seuss thought early reader books like Dick and Jane were boring, so he decided to address that problem by writing something simple to read yet engaging to young readers (and to the parents that read to them).

I challenged my students to write a poem using a word list for 2-4 graders. They had to use as many words as possible, but the poem had the freedom to be as wild and weird as they desired. In the end, the poems were as varied as you'd expect (one of my favorites noting the typo on the 3rd grade word list; it was about the land of Oot). I ended up getting more into it than I expected, and I wanted to share my piece.

"Everyone Heard Nothing"

I ran through the snow just as fast as I can’t.
And everyone saw me, even ten ants.
I ran to the sea so I that I couldn't see
Nothing across everything that wasn't me.

I had an old pair of animal dreams,
But I passed them instead outside just between
A paper and brother above the good street,
In the great city that loves lots of feet.

I’d hold a job as a teacher and teach all the fish
About money and hand holds, that is my wish.
Below the clean winter I love to work,
And help all the anythings that together I took.

It’s true I long listen to lives that are lived,
But few fell free from the fire that baby done did.
I catch cat children and carry them off
To a land left life-less by the list of the lost.

Among them one asked me what he has became,
An idea inside him that knew not a name.
You are a house, now hide up a hill!
I say to the home that can’t jump and can’t kill.

My past plan at the park saved me real rest
Save for the room the boat body buys best.
Being a circle adds air all along;
Check on the class that died dark in cold song.

Watch me wall walk and wait for a week.
View me under the top; write of your first peek.
Dad does dark dinner down with the dog
Throw on those thinks; draw an early log.

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