Hang up Bridge to Terabithia text for us to skim/scavenge; hang up literary model, Mary Ruefle’s A Little White Shadow; set up the different types of sources in the back into easy-to-grab piles.
Introduction One: Words Are All Around Us (5 minutes)
I will ask the students to think of all the things they did that morning before arriving at school: maybe they got up for a glass of water, then ate breakfast, etcetera. I will ask them to think about their process of getting ready in the morning and ask if at any point in that process they remember reading any words. I will remind them that this might include words we forget about: the words on a tube of toothpaste, a cereal box, on street signs. This will be an important preliminary brainstorm session.
Introduction Two: Skimming and Scavenging (5-10 minutes)
We will discuss that poets are word scavengers and search for words everywhere they go: in the grocery store, on TV, etcetera. Poets scavenge their words from several kinds of sources: from books, overheard conversations, the directions of how to lather your hair on a shampoo bottle, and more.
Literary Model Part One (5 minutes)
I will present two literary models. The first will be Noa Nguyen’s poem, “Autumn 2012 Poem” that includes a grocery list towards the end of the poem. I won’t tell them that it is a grocery list but instead ask them first from what source they think this poet scavenged.
Erasure Exercise (5 minutes)
To introduce Mary Ruefle’s erasure practice we will scavenge words from a Bridge to Terabithia excerpt—one of our sources. My directions will be to “roam your eyes over the text and tell me the first word your eyes land on.” I will do this for about four volunteers so that we have a number of words circled. The rest of the words will be erased!
Literary Model Part Two (5 minutes)
I will take down Mary Ruefle’s erasure poem and read it aloud. I will have the students pass the text around and after a few minutes I will be sure to ask them what they notice. Then we will discuss what her source is.
Individual Writing (20 minutes)
Prompt: Skim your source for words that jump out at you and circle them. Then black-out/erase the rest. The remaining words make your poem.
There will be several sources to choose from: random pages from Bridge to Terabithia, recipes, scientific articles, comics. Students can select their sources from the piles in the back of the classroom.