Whitespace vs. Line breaks in Poems? Help A Student Teacher

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by TeacherJ4life, Apr 6, 2008.

  1. TeacherJ4life

    TeacherJ4life Companion

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    Apr 6, 2008

    Hey everyone,
    My cooperating teacher wants me to teach both lessons this week. Whitespace will come first and then we will learn about line breaks. However, what is the easiest way to get this across to 6 & 7 year olds? I have the poems I am going to use, but my friend whose been teaching forever says that most children think line breaks and white space are the same thing= long pause. However, white space does make the reader pause, but line breaks change the appearance of a poem.
    Any help is appreciated:help:
     
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  3. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Apr 6, 2008

    I wish I could help you but I've never heard of teaching whitespace vs. line breaks to 6 and 7 year olds.

    The only thing I can say is stick to the basics -- a line break does not lead to a pause (some say it leads to a tiny pause, others disagree.) White space is a pause (some say, a more pronounced pause.)

    Wish I could be more help.
     
  4. TeacherJ4life

    TeacherJ4life Companion

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    Apr 6, 2008

    Yeah I either did I but it has to be done so can someone help?
     
  5. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    Apr 7, 2008

    Regie Routman has a cute little series I have used a number of times.

    The books are called "Teaching __ Graders to Love Writing Poetry" I think there is a book for 1st, 2nd and a 3rd/4th book.

    http://www.amazon.com/Kids-Poems-Grades-Regie-Routman/dp/0590227343


    In her book (at least the 3/4 one which is what I use) she does talk about white space. This is done in the revising process. Even third and fourth graders tend to write their free verse poems all in a paragraph. (Or you get the kids who want to rhyme and then the poem has some form, but is really not very good.) I do a lesson on white space, but still there are some who don't do it. You teach them to write a slash in between words you want to see a space a line break or white space...

    She talks about it as the author's choice of when to want to stop the line and start a new one. I'm not sure how into specifics she goes about the differences. Be prepared to really "help" the kids do this, because they will probably just write the whole things smooshed together and you will have to edit with them. You will have to show them a ton of poems before they get it, and may alternate that with a book that has the lines running margin to margin.

    To young kids, my guess is a story on paper is a story, and a poem is just a shorter story. I think it's a hard concept to grasp.
     
  6. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    Apr 7, 2008

    You might consider using "shape" poetry to emphasize the visual effect. It will make sense immediately to that age group, and you can introduce the idea that whitespace can be used for other effects than obvious shapes.

    What can I do with
    __________a car that doesn't go
    _______Can I find some way to fix it
    ___How long will it be before I can go again
    __Can the car even be fixed I'm so helpless
    I can't take a bus to work they aren't around
    _____I'm lost____________I'm scared
    _____Please_____________help me--ee

    edit: Postings, apparently, do not use whitespace...
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2008

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