One of the things that ns love around summer composing workshops is the I have the right to experiment with brand-new workshop concepts to use as soon as I visit schools and libraries throughout the institution year.

You are watching: What is a two voice poem

I recently had actually an opportunity to do simply that in ~ the Charlotte Hobbs Library in center Lovell, Maine.

Librarians there had actually the good idea to include pizza, most likely to entice kids away indigenous swimming, exploring, and also playing external on a perfect summer’s day instead of going come the library to write poetry…

I’d found Two Voice Poetry numerous years earlier from the work-related of Newbury award winning poet and author Paul Fleishman.

I’ve written numerous on my own however had never ever used them for a workshop.

What is two Voice Poetry? Two Voice Poems are poems created from two different points of watch on the same topic. They’re additionally meant to be check out aloud, which renders them specifically fun for youngsters to write and also perform.

The poetry usually has actually two columns—one for each person who is analysis the poem. One human being reads indigenous the left-hand column, the various other from the right. If the poet desires the 2 readers to say something at the very same time, the words have the right to be written in both columns ~ above the exact same line, or a 3rd column can be added.

Here’s an instance from Honeybees by Paul Fleishman:

Click Honeybees to download the rest of the poem.

Fleischman’s work motivated me to create my very own poems for 2 voices. For example, My Tree.

Okay, back to Charlotte Hobbs. I’ll recognize it—I freely experimented ~ above my small group of 12 kids, periods 7-11. Ns didn’t have actually much that a plan, but I’ve concerned trust myself, children, and also the happiness of playing through words. (and countless years that “winging it” together a teacher…)

The Workshop (times room approximate)

Step One: (10 minutes)

I introduced the principle of city for 2 voices through asking children to check out some poems I’d published out.

Honestly, in ~ first, they no really get it. The lines on the page, skipping earlier and forth, occasionally reading alone, sometimes together. It to be confusing, and the type was brand-new to them.

But it was summer! No pressure!

Luckily I had actually my fancy pencils. I easily color-coded and drew arrows and also we were earlier in business.


Step Two: (10 minutes)

I suggested we write two Voice poems organized approximately the seasons. I asked each boy to wrinkles a piece of paper in four and fill every square (okay rectangle, i was corrected!) v what they love to see, do, smell, hear for each season. It to be quiet then, other than for the lovely, rhythmic sound of pencils clicking paper, which, together a poet, the course, I had to point out to them.


Step Three: (10 minutes)

When they ran the end of ideas, i asked them to pair increase (or triple up) and circle all the things they had actually in common for every season.

Then, because this is what I constantly do in mine poetry workshops since I always do myself as soon as I’m writing, ns asked castle to push themselves and each various other to increase on their ideas. “What do you mean, soccer? What carry out you mean about trees changing color? What trees? What colors? What perform you typical hot cacao in winter? how does it smell? Taste? give me some more words!!!!”

Step Four: (20 minutes)

With their partners, or trios, it to be time to compose the poems. If they to be stuck or didn’t recognize where come start, I suggested they introduce themselves in the poems and also start v spring.

Here’s an example from the start of rising 2nd graders Ezra and also Eliot’s poem:


I to be Ezra

I to be Eliot

In feather In spring

I favor I like

when the birds come back

playing baseball

We both favor We both like


The youngsters then spread themselves about the library—some composing in a corner on the floor, a group of three in a small meeting room, others at tables. Even though it was really hard because that me, I made decision to trust the process, not indicate or interrupt, and also Leave. Them. Alone.

Even as soon as the pizza arrived, they retained writing!

Step Five: (20 minutes)

Pizza and also Poetry!

Apparently, composing made this group really hungry. Twelve children devoured 3 pizzas when taking turns to share your poems. We also went overtime!

This is just the first page of five that three girls wrote and also performed:


Final Thoughts

I made that a allude not come Google two Voice Poetry prior to the workshop. Whenever I do writing and poetry workshops with children of every ages, I want to it is in authentic. Ns feel we carry out our finest work, at the very least initially, once we every come native a location of that we space without using external influences. Ns trust and honor the an imaginative process. Comes from my very own authentic place, ns connect much more deeply and honestly v others.

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That said, I later Googled away and also found loads of details on the Internet. If this type is brand-new to you as a teacher and you want to shot it in her classroom, you can start through getting ideas off the Internet, however it’s better to immerse yourself by reading and writing on your own. Here’s a poem floating around on the net that might get you started.