There are so many wonderful inspiring authors out there to learn from. In these last couple of years, I am glad to say that authors like Todd Parr, Doreen Croneen, Sharon Creech, Margaret Wise Brown, Mo Willems, Kate DiCamillo, have inspired my students and I, and the results were brilliant writing pieces straight from the heart. When you have any of these amazing authors' books to guide you along the way, the journey is quite delightful actually.
For example when we read Love That Dog by Sharon Creech with one of my classes during Literature Circles, the invitation to write concrete poems was right there staring at us. After exploring the transformation that Jack (the main character in this book) went through with poetry, my students and I decided to "grow" along with Jack. First, he thinks that Poetry is just for girls, not boys. Then as his teacher introduces him to some great writers like Walter Dean Myers, his opinion about poetry changes. Even better yet, he is writing poetry and he doesn't even know it yet. My students kept their thoughts and notes about this story in their journals, some of them decided to respond to the book writing in free verse, like this example right here:
Her response to the book written in free verse (just like the book) is just beautiful.
Jack also experiments with concrete poems which is always fun to try. My students did. Next thing I know there were concrete poems everywhere!
So next time you read a great book with your students, put on your writer's lenses and see what you can discover about the craft, the language, the words, the style. After all, it is safe to say we are all language teachers, and therefore, we should all be language observers!