Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Lonely On The Playground

    When I have recess duty, I've often looked for children who are alone on the playground.  Some like the pretend time of recess and don't need a playmate, while others need friends and fumble when trying to make them.  It's not easy to get them to reach out, so sometimes I ask others to help if I know a trusted child that is willing to help.  On the other hand, that lonely child needs to learn to respond, too.  I wrote this poem after observing a scene recently.  The poem seems truthful, but I really am not sure.  It's just the story I thought I observed.






New girl, pretty girl
shy girl - 
Where?
Over by the slide,


over there.
Let's go over and
discover 
her name.
Let's go over


Nah...


Instead we'll
play a game.


New girl, pretty girl
shy girl -
alone,
can't find a friend
to call 
her own.


Finding friends is
very hard
to do.
If life isn't happy,
it depends 
on you.


New girl, pretty girl
shy girl -
with friends.
Finally she smiled
at us.
It made
a happy end.


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    Also, be sure to check on the Poetry Tag Group shown at the right!  And check on Jama Rattigan's blog post at Jama's Alphabet Soup  to discover so many Poetry sites in the kidlitosphere doing wonderful things!  Cathy, at Merely Day By Day, is joining Mary Lee, at A Year of Reading in a poem a day this month. Other daily poem writers include Amy at The Poem Farm, and Donna at Mainely Write.




20 comments:

  1. An interesting thought of how some don't need playmates and others fumble around. I like the way you find the trusted child to help. Also, I like how you teach the child that they have to reach out, too. Simple yt powerful words in your poem...and, of course, this doesn't change with age--only the playground changes.

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    1. Thanks Maya. You are right about the age; everyone needs a boost, some more than others.

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  2. I like your poem a lot, Linda! The rhythm of it is just right for the subject matter.

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    1. Thank you Tabatha, It just rather spattered out. I think I was thinking to the swing.

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  3. As I read your words, I can imagine the children, some whispering, wondering, should we go over there and talk? Another child, alone with her thoughts, will anyone want to play with me? Recess can be such a rich time, full of teachable moments and opportunities to learn the stories that come to school with our children. Lovely.

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    1. I learned quite a lot about my students, and others of course, by having recess duty. I only have it occasionally now, subbing for someone, but if watching, there are those little vignettes that appear, like in my poem.

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  4. Loved this observation in poetic form. The repetition is flows nicely. Kids at recess show you so much about friendships and interaction that is no initiated by teachers. We can learn a lot out there on the field!

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    1. Thanks Donna, I totally agree. Just must watch!

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  5. Love this. So many times I see those kids on the playground that just have no one to fit in with. I hate that and try so hard to find friends for them to "click" with.

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    1. I'm glad you try to get those lonely ones interacting. They need a 'jump start'!

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  6. Love how you captured this moment! I hope this is what really happened . . . I was worried that the new girl, pretty girl, shy girl was going to be left out! So I love a happy ending! The photo is powerful too! Love the image.

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    1. And because I only saw it once, I hope it did continue. Must keep checking when possible. Thanks Michelle.

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  7. Linda,
    I loved the ending of the poem. My classroom has a new habit in writer's workshop share circle to clap when someone has a story with a good ending and sing in unison, "Happy ending." I'm sure this poem would have gotten their applause and cheers of joy. It is interesting to watch students at recess. I have cafeteria duty this year so I see a whole different side. It is interesting how some children so naturally become part of a group and others are much more hesitant. Your line, "If life isn't happy, it depends on you," is so true.

    Cathy

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    1. I continue to wonder why some are naturals at friendships & others are not. There is research about their interactions even as babies, what experiences have happened, etc. It's an interesting challenge for teachers to push (or nudge) but respect the personal choices, too. thanks Cathy! And I read your comment on Franki's blog about the Kindle. My daughter also loves her Kindle because of the light!

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  8. In high school, it works similarly, except there is no playground. Those who struggle to find friends have a really hard time. High schools really should have systems for helping new kids, shy kids, and others who need social help.

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    1. I wonder what they-in high school-could do to help, other than talk in staff groups about certain students who are especially noticed? I read a story a long time ago, titled the 'cypher', about a boy whom no one noticed, who ended up dying on the school bus. It has influenced me my whole life, looking for those who are hiding out, hidden, unnoticed. Teachers need to watch so carefully. Thanks Gary!

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  9. I really enjoyed your poem. The rhythm keeps a good pace and actually made it very powerful. The best thing about your poem is it reminds me to be a better teacher when I am out on playground duty and look out for those who are alone.

    Thank you :)
    Mandy @ The Chockboard

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    1. Thank you Mandy. I agree that it's good to be aware that some on the playground need help from us teachers.

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  10. This struck a little chord in me as I recalled my daughter's initial struggles three years ago when we first moved here. And how happy she is now with her chosen set of friends and how her school feels like 'home' to her. It's great to know that there are teachers like you who are on the lookout for kids like my daughter in their 'fumbling' moments. :)

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  11. It takes two to build a friendship, doesn't it?

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Having a conversation is a good thing!