Tomorrow, I teach 130(ish) 8th graders a lesson on poetry, and will focus on tanka, a Japanese form similar to, but longer than, haiku. I will also review rhymed verse, and free verse. Students will be asked to write two poems, of which one will be tanka, and the other may be anything they choose. They will have only one class period to work, and I am not sure how engaged they will be.

Last month, I managed to write a single poem each day. Not all were great, but one a day. That seemed reasonable. I am going to use that experience to help me talk to the students about why to write poetry, and when — and encourage them that not all attempts will be great, but that over time it gets easier.

Last week, I taught a short lesson on descriptive writing (I called it a micro lesson, less than 5 minutes) and asked them to write a 3-paragraph description about a place they have lived. Most were successful, a few were deliberate in not turning anything in, a very few were “silly” for lack of a better word, turning in something that was clearly not what was asked for! I hope that their willingness to at least make an attempt will carry through for me tomorrow.

We’ll see how it goes!