Friday, June 30, 2017

Walking on the Boundaries of Change ~ #PoetryFriday

It's Poetry Friday, and  Diane has the round-up at Random Noodling.

One of my goals when I return to school this fall (or in less than five weeks!) is for students to read, write, and talk every day.  In order to reach that goal, I have been searching for poems and other short texts to read for quick writes.  

In my search I came across Walking on the Boundaries of Change by Sara Holbrook. This is a perfect collection of poems for middle school students who are trying to figure out who they are, who and what is important, and where they are headed.

Because I live in the midwest, many of the poems are not applicable to my students, but they open the world to them and help them to realize other kids are going through the same problems and experience the same emotions.

I have already marked several poems for quick writes, but this will be my first one.  

Walking on the Boundaries of Change

Day by day
a tightrope,
walking on the boundaries
of change.
One step--
firm, familiar,
the next step--
shaky, strange.

Some friends
will dare danger,
mock or push each step.
Some friends 
knock your confidence.

Real friends
form a net.

~ Sara Holbrook

My 6th graders come in trying on new friendships.  Some times each day brings a new friend, a new enemy.  But in time, they will figure it all out, and I will be there listening, drying tears, sharing smiles and catching them when they fall from the tightrope.  

That's the beauty of teaching middle schoolers.


  1. The book looks fabulous, Leigh Anne, and I know I would use this poem if still teaching. I'm sure the students will react to it. Ralph Fletcher's book Mentor Author, Mentor Texts is also a wonderful source!

  2. I'm sure the book will make for some interesting response poems! Good luck with the project!

  3. I love this poem! Perfect for middle school! I want to use it too! And this book seems like one I have to have!

  4. Thanks for this resource. I will have a few sixth graders this year. Ours are at the top of the chain in elementary school but still deal with many social and emotional issues.

  5. I love this, Leigh Anne. Your students are lucky to have you opening the world up to them. Great poem by Sara!

  6. Sounds like a treasure of a book, Leigh Anne. You are no doubt a treasure to each one of your students! Thanks for sharing this poem. I will have a fifth grader this year, and this is a poem I will share with him.

  7. This book looks fabulous. I loved my years of teaching middle school (mostly those 8th graders). I would have loved sharing this poem with them.

  8. I'm kind of holding my hands over my ears and going, "lalalalalala" so that I don't have to listen to thinking about planning for the upcoming new school year (even though if I'm honest, I am, too!). I have yet to see my first back to school ad on TV or see displays in Target. (I might be avoiding Target...) But I'm also liking the way you're thinking and planning. I'm going to try poetry notebooks a la Tara Smith, so I better get cracking at finding just the right poems for my 5th graders!!

  9. OOOOH, I love this poem. Thanks for the rec of this title. I'm firmly into middle school and am always looking for great reads and avenues toward reading. This is perfect! Best of luck on making your goals. I was so not a "maker-space" person....until we tried a couple out in the library. One thing that was really cool was the "talk" that came out of card playing. I want to see if I can get students to work with the language of an Uno Game.

  10. What a great poem, Leigh Anne. I am adding it to my collection of poems for teachers to try ou.

  11. Love the work of Sara Holbrook. this is a terrific poem and am copying for later use.