A Picture Book Poetry Lesson from WritingFix

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What If... Poems

developing imaginative stanzas for an original poem inspired by well-worded what if questions

The writing of author Regina J. Williams is currently inspiring student writers to try new techniques with the traits of word choice and idea development.Join us in teaching (and adapting) this on-line lesson and sharing your students' work.

You can publish up to three of your students' edited and finished poems at this page.

Use these samples to inspire your student writers! Discussing the strengths of published student samples before, while, and after using this on-line assignment is important. If your students are engaged in trait- or skill-inspired discussions about any of the samples we've posted here, they will produce better writing, especially if you help them take their writing all the way through the writing process.

Thank you, those who share their students' writing with us.


Additional Student Samples Being Sought:
Grades 2, 7, 9, 11, 12

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WritingFix is currently seeking additional student samples from this writing assignment that can be featured in this space. Submitted student work must show evidence of revision, editing, and the final draft must be typed and sent through e-mail.

To have us consider your students' writing for inclusion on this page, you must post the writing to our Ning page dedicated to this lesson. Click here to access that page. You must first be a member of the Writing Lesson of the Month Network in order to post.

Student Samples: Elementary

What if Bikes Could Fly…?
by Kellyn, third grade poet  

What if bikes could fly to Hawaii,
Then landed on a landing zone at the airport
And as they pedaled into the airport,
A nice Hawaiian lady put a lei on their handlebars?

What if bikes could get a suntan and
While they got a suntan their nice blue paint
Turned into a beating red?
And what if bikes could splash in the rapid waves?

What if bikes could go to a fancy rainforest dinner in Hawaii?
Then they would put their beautiful tassels on.
What if I got a bike and could ride it to Hawaii?
That would be very special.

(Click here to open/print Kellyn and a classmate's poems to share with your own third grade students.)

by Hunter, fourth grade poet

What if rabbits quickly danced while having a wine party,
And jumped from the sound of my pen,
As soon as they chugged wine?

What if horses ate mayonnaise soufflé,
Quickly meeting the rabbits,
Until the horses chugged wine?

What if pigs, scared by the mayonnaise and wine,
Happily ate ice cream
While the rabbits loudly menaced.

What if geese, amazed by the strangeness,
Asked the writer to change it,
Even if the geese were wrong about the decision,
And the writer said, “NO!”

And what if the writer never put imagination,
Creativity, or freedom into this poem...
And if the geese won the fortune of others...
What if, oh, what if?

(Click here to open/print Hunter and a classmate's poems to share with your own fourth grade students.)

by Jayson, fifth grade poet

What if dogs ran the world and they held the
Leashes that held us
And dogs were the first to drive to Mars
And dogs put us in crates at night?

What if my Chihuahua, Harley, drove our orange
Car to New York City,
Where he munched on Hannah Montana,
And what if he drove a Harley motorcycle back home
And acted all innocent?

What if my Dachshund, Poppit, tried to run away
When he saw his best friend, Harley, dressed like a girl.
And Poppit was too fat so his short little legs couldn’t
Carry him to the other part of the world?

But most importantly, what if my dogs were never born?
Suppose their friendship was never known.
All the days we ran and played
Never existed until today.

(Click here to open/print Jayson and another classmate's poems to share with your own fifth grade students.)

The World’s Song
by Elise, sixth grade poet

What if the world was music and everything could sing,
And flowers were microphones,
And bees were notes, and the flowing river was the song.
The world would be so wonderful.

What if trickling rain was the rhythm,
And the rumbling thunder was the drum?
The lyrics were made from the dreams of sleeping
Children who let their imaginations run?
The world would be so free.

What if all the songs were happy songs and everyone sang together?
The dolphins sang in the water, the birds sang in the sky,
The dogs on the land, and they all helped harmonize.
The world would be so exciting.

What if music brought us together and the world was one big song?
The lyrics would mention love, crying, dying, fighting,
And most of all peace.
The world would be so peaceful.

(Click here to open/print Elise and one of her classmate's poems to share with your own sixth grade students.)

Student Samples: Middle School

Our Secret Place…
by Diana, eighth grade poet

What if my hair could tap you on the shoulder
Each time you walked by?
My eye would wink a hi
And my nose twitch a good bye.

What if clouds
Became the playground
Where students could chill and think
While they wrote a poem for you and me?

What if summer was every day
And winter once a month?
I could go outside and hope you will too,
Then maybe hang around and smile shyly at you.

And what if vacations were nine months
And school was three?
We could peek around secret corners
Hoping no one will see.

But most importantly,
What if fairies came to life
Every time I was down and upset?
They were watching over me just because you left,
Waiting on the playground, they whispered it will be ok.

(Click here to open/print this sample to share with your own eighth grade students.)

Student Samples: High School

by Keon, tenth grade poet

What if our noses really did grow when we lied
and the rain was God’s tears when he cried
and our thoughts and dreams became clouds in the sky?

What if Jesus and Santa were best friends
and any boy that believed could grow up to be Superman
and the Beatles were just bugs in a band?

What if invisible kisses tasted sour
and school only lasted for half an hour
and a whole new world existed in a flower?

What if I answer all these questions today
before my innocence gets further away?

(Click here to open/print Keon and two classmates' poems to share with your own high school students.)

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