Student-Inspired Poetry Creations

Sep 7, 2017

Carol Varsalona

Are you delighted by the feel of sand between your toes, the smell of salt air, and the warmth of a summer day?


I am and wanted to share the experience with my grandbaby while in Cape May this summer. I filled a pail of sand so my granddaughter could touch it and then I waited for her response.


When she's a toddler, I will tell her the story of her first day at the beach.

To extend my memories of summer while in the the process of designing my summer global gallery, Sunkissed Summer, I turned to Wonderopolis for a text on sand. I found Wonder of the Day #727, What Can You Create with Sand? to use for a writing lesson that blends art, technology, and poetry. The lesson culminates with a series of digital summer inspirations. These are created at literacy creation stations, places where students collaborate with others as young writers, artists, and memory makers.

This lesson is geared for upper elementary students and centered on English Language Arts learning standards of reading, writing, speaking and listening.

Pre-Creation Station Steps:

  • Watch the video from Animal Planet that is provided at the beginning of WOD #727.
  • Share take aways.
  • Discuss responses to the following questions with a partner. Why do the producers use bold color in this short movie? What can be created using real sand or a virtual representation?
  • Read the wonder of the day independently or with a partner.
  • Add new knowledge gathered from the text to a collaborative wonder bank repository using Google Docs or record it in a wonder journal?
  • Read the highlighted words from the text and use them to create a found poem.
  • Reflect on the WOD article and different artistic mediums, such as, photography, digital media, and poetry, that can be used to create a final culminating experience related to summer or sand.


Let's try this move using the following words from WOD #727: creativity - painting - dramatic - canvas - temporary - experience - mesmerizing - animation - performance.

Brilliant summertime colors inspire me.

I am mesmerized by swirling thoughts and images

Compelling me to paint a canvas of dramatic, sunkissed moments.

I move from a temporary feeling of animated exuberance to wonder. ©CVarsalona, 2017

Creation Station Steps:

  • Use the found poem above as a model to independently or in pairs create a student-inspired poem.
  • Sketch a beach scene or use watercolors to accompany the found poem.
  • Digitize the sketch or watercolor painting for an addition artistic creation. Blending art, photography, and technology can bring a beach scene to life using the app, Waterlogue, and inspire young writers.

Below is the digitized version of a beach scene where I superimposed other layers using the app, PicMonkey. I added a poem, #digipoetry, and then took a screenshot of the artwork and poem to create a digital inspiration, #imagepoem.


Post Creation Station Steps:

  • Pairs share their pieces of artistic literary work.
  • Share glow and grow statements during the critique phase.
  • Revise work based on grow statements.
  • Share and discuss partner work with another pair. The quad shares and discusses work with another quad. (Snowball Protocol)
  • Display work at a Wonder Gallery in the classroom or in the hallway.
  • Celebrate the gallery of artistic expressions.

Creation station steps move from speaking => reading => writing => creating => celebrating with constant interaction between students and the teacher facilitator. The notice-wonder-create process leads students to become more inspired and engaged learners. If interested, in trying out these steps, please share digitals of some of your student-inspired poetry for my upcoming galleries.


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