Autumn’s Beauty. The streets are lined with a parade of color.
Many times over the past few weeks I have stopped in my tracks to admire the beautiful fall colors. I find an even deeper appreciation for nature’s beauty when finding the balance, tree. This week I challenge you to get outside with your students for writer’s workshop. You’ll be amazed by the inspired poems that will emerge. To get started, download Tree from our Move Mindfully® Card Deck.
While cuing tree, talk about grounding. How trees are rooted to the Earth and how we can find that same grounding. Talk about strength. How trees weather rain, wind and snow and how we weather the physical, mental and emotional seasons of life. Talk about stillness. How trees can stand still in the eye of a storm and how we can find stillness within chaos. Talk about community. In tree pose- we can hold each other up.
My students were so moved that our movements inspired a mini poetry unit. During morning meeting throughout the week, we compared our bodies to a tree. I prompted the students with a series of questions and recorded their responses.
How are your…
- spine like a trunk?
- hands like leaves?
- feet like roots?
- arms like branches?
After our mind was full of comparisons, we embarked on a leaf hunt. Students carefully inspected leaves and finally chose one to bring back into the classroom.
We traced the leaf with pencil carefully adding in all of the lines and intricate details…. the bug holes, the lobes, the veins. Then, we traced our hand. Again, carefully adding in the details… the hang nails, scars and veins. Next, we used water color to represent the various hues… crimson, gold, brown, leaves- peach, tan, ebnony skin.
Finally, we put it all together by revisiting our mind maps. Taking in all of these similarities, we wrote poems- “I am like a tree”. This inspired talks of similes (I am like a tree) and metaphors (My feet are roots). Once students have physically experienced the sensations, the poetic comparisons are no longer abstract.
We transferred these beautiful poems onto our work of art watercolors to create a masterpiece, worthy a permanent frame.
The students not only experienced the ELA poetry standards, but also practiced holding a challenging balance. More importantly, we created an intentional opportunity to connect with nature and themselves.
How have you integrated mindfulness into writing lessons? Leave a comment!