The Power of Pattern: Pantoums
(6th grade)




In the winter of 2011, I worked with 6th graders at Martin Luther King School in Evanston, courtesy of Columbia College's Project AIM. The students classroom were studying cycles (in civilization, science, nature, etc), and I worked with a great team of teachers to invest the students in exploring this materia through poetry. These students also learned key collaborative skills as they wrote pantoums in groups of 4 and 2.

The pantoums posted below were written solo and allowed students to select subject matter with cyclical themes, including snowballs, ferris wheels, friendship, calendars and moving! The last example on this page provides an example of how arts integration gives students exciting chances to apply knowledge learned in one subject to another--as seen in Danielle's poem, which references info learned earlier that week about the bombing of Hiroshima. Thanks to Gary Cipinko, L.A. teacher, for welcoming me into his classroom.

The pantoum is an old Malaysian poetic form, also used by French poets including Victor Hugo in the 19th century. Every line in a pantoum appears twice, in a tight pattern, coming full circle, as you'll see below.



Phases of the Moon by John   Flashing Circle, by Olivia  
A Calendar Named Pointless by Kadyn   Friendship by Coco  
Moving, by Shama   Will It Ever Stop? by Danielle  


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