Thursday, February 23, 2012

Life For Me Ain't Been No Crystal Stair....

One of my all-time favorite poems is Langston Hughes' "Mother to Son":

Well, son, I'll tell you:
Life for me ain't been no crystal stair.
It's had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor --
But all the time
I'se been a-climbin' on,
And reachin' landin's,
And turnin' corners,
And sometimes goin' in the dark
Where there ain't been no light.
So boy, don't you turn back.
Don't you set down on the steps
'Cause you finds it's kinder hard.
Don't you fall now --
For I'se still goin', honey,
I'se still climbin',
And life for me ain't been no crystal stair.

We discuss the meaning of it, new vocab-thank goodness for Google and I can actually show them what a crystal staircase looks like. We talk about the way Hughes writes more informally the way people talk, why he might do that. It makes this poem great practice for fluency, since I'm always telling them they should read more the way they talk than like robots :).

Then I ask the kiddos to write their own version of the metaphor based on what they value-Life for me ain't been no.....?

Life for me ain't been no glass house.

Hawaiian Luau

Charity of Statue of Liberty

Flower blocks

Lots of pretty things

Crystal house, couch and light

cozy dress

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