PS/IS 686 | Brooklyn, NY

Choose Your Own Poem!

The ELA and Math Tests are Done!

I would like to extend a hearty thanks to all of the parents who were able to come out to Seth Low Park to make our end-of-the-test celebratory playground romp a big success: Hayley’s mom, Pia’s mom, Leo T’s mom, Arlo’s mom, Nick J’s dad and Amber’s dad, Soha’s dad and Connor’s mom.  (Let me know if I forgot anyone!!!)  It was lovely to let off steam and enjoy two servings of ice cream together after such a grueling week.

Choose-Your-Own-Poem Recitation

Some parents requested a digital copy of my poetry recitation selection criteria.  I think I may have asked for too short of a poem.  If you think your child is picking a poem just because it is short, please encourage them to challenge themselves.

Here’s the information on my expectations for choosing a poem to recite.  Also, below, I have included once again, “The Red Wheelbarrow” by William Carlos Williams.

For the next poetry recitation, which will take place on Friday, May 12, students will memorize two poems.  The first one, which is short, sweet and well-known, is “The Red Wheelbarrow” by William Carlos Williams.  Everyone will recite this poem on Friday. The second poem will be a poem of each student’s choice.  We will have a few students share their chosen poems each day after that.

DUE 5/11

Criteria for Poem Choice:

  1. It cannot be a poem I already gave the class to memorize.
  2. It cannot be a poem that you wrote yourself.
  3. It must be published in a book or magazine.
  4. It must be six lines or longer, and at least 20 words.  You will submit it to me.  If I don’t approve, I will let you know quickly, so you can choose a new poem.
  5. It is ok to have the same poem as someone else.
  6. You need to explain why you chose it and what you think it means.
  7. It can’t be song lyrics.


How to get your poem approved:

  1. Type it or write it very neatly.  Please use the same line and stanza breaks that the poet used! Attach it to this sheet when you hand it in.
  2. Write why you chose this poem below.






  1. What do you think this poem means?





We will begin to share on May 12, but I will make a schedule of other days when shares will take place and post it to the blog.  I will decide which dates children will recite based on when they want to share.  

Simple Machines

While we are on the topic of red wheel barrows, 302 and I had a very interesting discussion about wheelbarrows.  The children are studying simple machines in science class, so we figured out the three simple machines involved in a wheelbarrow that help it make work easier.  Try to figure out which simple machines are involved before you ask your child for the answer!  I hope to have a similar conversation with 301 soon.

The Red Wheelbarrow

so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white

William Carlos Williams, 1883 – 1963

Writing Notebook Ideas

We have been writing entries all year, so by May, I’m noticing some kids are running out of entry ideas.  I had an idea to share ideas of types of entries other kids in the class have been doing.

The first two ideas are borrowed from Leela’s notebook in 301:

  1. Make up a game (like hide-and-seek or tag, an active game, not board or video).  Write an entry that teaches the reader how to play it.
  2. Make up a new kind of animal or a monster.  Describe that animal or monster’s characteristics.  (Actually, come to think of it, I think I gave this idea to Leela!)
  3. This idea is from Igor in 301: Write a song that will help people remember something academic.  Igor wrote a song about homophones.

Enjoy the weekend together.


Ms. Mallery

PS I am very picky about respecting poets’ choices about how words should look on a page, especially when re-writing the poem.  It is to my chagrin that I cannot figure out why “The Red Wheelbarrow” is right-justified on the blog post, or how to fix it.  Please, in your mind, imagine that it is left-justified, as William Carlos Williams intended.  Thanks.