Marty suggested the children reflect on all the work we had done and find some way to communicate their reflections -- that is to say express the reflections using one or more of the hundred languages. At first, RAS, LM, SS, JF, and TE were resistant to this idea. And then RAS asked, "Can we do a reflection using poetry?"
I was silent, thinking, poetry and science? Can one reflect on science using poetry? Being a poet myself, it was hard to see any problem with that. But doubt gnawed at a corner of my brain. My thought process: Poetry is poetry and science is well, science. Perhaps poetry wasn't the best form for reflection. But it is one of the hundred languages and we do want to encourage all forms of expression.
Thankfully, before I could say anything, SS broke into my thoughts, asking, "What is poetry?"
And without thinking, I said, "Listen."
I took that moment to do a dramatic recitation of Lewis Carroll's "Jabberwocky". I know the poem by heart, it is one of my all time favorites.
When I started, the children fell silent and listened with eyes wide. The hush made me feel like we had stepped into another dimension.
Me: "Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun/The frumious Bandersnatch!"
RAS: "Jubjub bird? What's a Jubjub bird?"
I didn't stop. The children loved the strange sound of the unfamiliar words. I heard them echoing the words as I spoke them.
When I was done, I waited for the children to absorb what they'd heard. They looked enchanted. I wished I could see that expression every day. And then I realised, I do, but usually on only one face at a time. This was powerful because it was five of them and me -- we were all enchanted!
The children asked me, "But how can we write a poem?" I said, "By writing."
We then set about writing a poem together on the whiteboard. A poem about the animals we had been studying. Each of them contributed some lines. At the end of it we had two lovely poems, reflections that came from collaborative learning and collaborative expression. Poetry, it turns out, is an excellent tool for reflection on science learning.
Here are the poems (look below photographs for proper text sequence):
Horses have 4 legs
They can run fast
They come in many colours
Dapple gray, strawberry roan
Although they can't have ice cream cones.
Light types, riding types, carriage types,
Oh there are a lot of types!
The first horse was 14 inches tall.
Oh I wish I could hug them all!
Horses, horses, I love them so
Although they don't wear pantyhose.
I wish you would love them too
But they ain't no unicorns for you.
Turtles are so
slow but to own
one you can't
Have you ever heard a rocky talky turtle?
they're very swell.
A rocky talky turtle, they might
Nibble a bit but they're sweet
and nice to eat!
Snappy, snappy, snap!
Have you heard of the snappy turtle?
It's my favourite!
With turtle tummies in the belly
All tucked up
Too bad sea turtles
can't grow into their shells
The leatherback turtle has
a unicorn on its back.
Have you ever heard of the rocky talky turtle?
They are extinct now
because all the dinosaurs
ate them and then burped
them back up.
With tummies tucked up in
their shell, box turtles are
so fat and swell!