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Learning Activity

Singing-In Spring

 

Art Form
Poetry
Multi-Disciplines
Science, Art, Language Arts
You will need
writing materials, draw/paint suupplies
Time
One hour

Overview

This activity asks students to celebrate Spring in a poem. The emphasis is on celebration—no complaining or whining allowed. The goal is to discover what moments and images are personally important to each student, and to avoid tired or “automatic” season images, such as robins in spring. The poem is made by speaking directly to the season, as in “Yo, Spring!” or "Spring, …" (see examples below)

The Activity

Remind students that human life, like all life on Earth, is deeply tied to the turning of the Seasons. Some places alternate wet and dry, other places alternate warm and cold. Remind them that the seasons are reversed in the Northern and Southern hemispheres. (Demonstrate this sequence of seasons with a globe and a flashlight 'sun' in an open space, a student carrying the globe around a circle. Be sure, of course, that your globe is inclined on its axis. Use the gym or lunchroom)

Ask them to think about what happens on Earth, the planet, to make Spring take place. In your own location, ask students what kinds of action words (verbs) describe what happens as Spring stirs and begins.

• think rebirth, awake, return, stir, sprout, open


Invent as a group some alternative names for Spring.

To show the word Spring's origin in metaphor, ask them why we call Autumn "Fall." Then ask how Spring must have earned its name.

Think about season rhythms:

• What are the rhythms of winter?
• What are the changes in rhythm that mark the beginning of Spring?
• What are the local sounds of late Winter?
• What are the local sounds of Spring?

Students should now inventory their memories for personal Spring images and experience--What are some things you like to see in Spring?

Caution: Here it is absolutely important that students focus on their own direct personal experience of Spring, and do not rely on our culturally shared media images

Think both in terms of where and when: What is happening in Spring?

• in the sky ?
• in daytime ?
• in the water ?
• in darkness ?
• in the air ?
• at daybreak ?
• underground, under the soil ?
• at twilight ?

Important: Do not exclude the human images and experiences of Spring, for example puddle-stamping or popping wheelies, or the sounds of plastic tires on driveways. To insist solely on nature images here only divides us from nature, and will exclude much personal experiences of Spring, which is the source of poetry.

Students begin by each brainstorming lists of images or just words that personally evoke the season. Do some group examples on the board.

Flesh the words out into specific sensory images.

Example, if the word is “baseball”, the image might be “the smack of the ball in the catcher’s glove.”

Tell students there are many ways to write a Spring poem. One that is interesting and unusual is to Speak directly to Spring, as if in a note or conversation.


When you speak to the season, think of action (verb) ways to talk:

Wake up, Spring! / come back/ sprout your seeds/

The poem can be done as a list of images with a ‘frame’, such as


Spring, “Let me see mud puddles or show me…
Spring, “Let me hear “frogs ringing in the ponds
let me taste “a warm raindrop on my tongue”
let me touch “let me curl my toes through mud”
let me “offer my hair to the wind”
let me smell “ air right after rain”

OR, use a personal ceremonial refrain/ invocation sort of line, such as
Spring, sing to me of…
Spring, dance me the…


Encourage writers to include human-life images,
“the crack of bat on ball, hunting Easter eggs"

Student Source Sheet
SOMETIMES IN ME

Spring, O Spring
is gentle in the wind
Spring is taking a step across the harsh Winter

When my heart cries out
And I myself am there

I come together
I begin again

I take a tousle in the rippling grass
I lie in the shade of a tree in the sun

My heart is together
I am finding it again

Spring is tearing across an open field
Spring is running down a long meadow

Spring, O Spring
is gentle in the wind
I am finding it again
I begin again

— Stefanie Weintz, gr 6

SONG FOR SPRING

Spring, sing to me the birth
of sitting on a fence,
a blue jay’s calls,
the soft touch of a rose petal
quietly the croak of a frog,
the excitement of life,
the glow of growing

Spring, sing to me of
the energy of life,
the noticing of bright-colored clothing,
the birth of rain and puddles,
the wonderful moisture in the air,

the urge to hunt.

—Chelsea Prax, gr. 2

Yo Spring!
I want rain, just rain
so I can open my mouth
and drink rain!
And some more things I want are:
Red hot sunburns on my nose
so I can tell the sun,
“You’re doing a good job keeping us warm.”
And bluebirds and red birds.
And picking a flower and
throwing it up, up
way in the sky.

— Brent Kettlekamp, gr. 2

Spring is tap-dancing on my heart,
and the clovers look up.
Loons sing to me,
and antlers stretch to the sun.
Spring is frogs croaking at my feet
and the wind carrying what is left of the leaves.

— Craig Blattner, gr. 4


SPRING PASSES QUICKLY

Green grass
comes up from
brown grass under
gone snow.

trees budded, soon
leaves will pop out

Old Tippy will pant
and move slow to shade

alfalfa up in the fields
green life

Dad
plowing faded soil
to rich black new.

— Kate Fogarty, gr 4

pring, sing to me,
Spring, play with me,
Spring, spring, have some fun!

Sing green grass, sing!
Sing blue bird.
Play with me, birds.

Baby birds,
come down and play with me.
The first little thousands
of eggs are hatching
and becoming pestering,
singing creatures.
And pretty soon
you will be thinking
that you are music.

—Anaca Ramirez, gr. 2

SPRING SHOW ME

Spring, show me puddles
just right for stomping,
Sing to me of birds chirping
as they wait for their lunch,
Show me Easter eggs
that have just been painted,
Show me a baseball
that has just been caught.

—Molly Busch, gr 2


SPEAK TO ME SPRING

Spring, show me the birth of
a family of ducklings
paddling a pond,
show me a tiny newborn frog
swimming its hardest,
show me the bright red cardinal
feeding its mate,
Spring, show me the birth
of Guess Who?
You!

— Zach Schmoll, gr.2