5th Grade “List Poetry” Project

Explanation of “List Poetry”

The list poem (also called “catalog poem” ) is a very old form of poetry. It consists of an itemization of things or events. List poems can be of any length, rhymed or unrhymed. The original purpose of this descriptive, repetitive verse was often functional For instance, Polynesian list poems formed an inventory of all the islands in Plynesia. List poems have also been used as a hybrid of history and entertainment, as in Book II of Homer’s Iliad, in which the poet lists all the major Greek heroes come to fight in the Trojan War. In the Bible, the book of Genesis can be seen as a list poem that traces the lineage of Adam’s family.

List Poetry Writing Project

At PS124 we will be creating our own List Poem as a response to the poem, There was a Child went Forth , by Walt Whitman.

Classes will read the poem, and discuss the meaning of the poem, who Whitman was, and why he wrote this poem. Working with our literacy coach, students will analyze Whitman’s style, and emulate it during directed free writing sessions.

The poem will be divided into to 4 themes: Nature, People in the Community, Family, and Landscapes. Students will respond to each theme in a 5 minute directed “free write”, then with their teachers and literacy coach select the best lines from their writing to add to the “List Poem”.

Building the List Poem on the Blog

Each of the 4 sections of the Whitman poem corresponding to the themes will be published to our blog as “Posts”.

Students, once you have selected a line from your directed free write, you will:

  1. log in to the ps124fifth.wordpress.com blog as the user “ps124student” by scrolling down and clicking the “log in” link in the right side of the page, then enter the username: ps124student, and the password that your teacher gives you
  2. click on the title of the blog Post that goes with to the section of the poem that has the theme you wrote about (for example: Nature).
  3. scroll to the bottom of the screen and type in one line of your writing in the box under “Leave a Comment”
  4. sign your post with your first name and class number like this: Mr. Rhys, 5-303
  5. click the “Submit Comment” button.

NOTE: each line a student writes should be submitted as a separate “Comment”

Look for the first lines of our List Poem here starting the week of 10.9!


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