Harder Than It Looks

There is nothing quite like those wonderful invitations to join the learning ~ whether in person or during our current online learning world.  This morning, I looked forward to 10:00 am, as I had been invited to join Mrs. Tyler’s grade five class. As a former grade five teacher, I’m constantly drawn to the creativity of this age group.  Today, they wanted to showcase their latest writing samples. Our students are such gifted writers.  The students had been mastering the art of the reverse poem ~ a genre that has the reader start at the top of the poem and read from top to bottom.  In most instances the first reading, from top to bottom, is written with a negative or sad voice.  Then as you reread from bottom to top, the perspective quickly changes to a positive tone/voice.  I was so impressed with their use of transition words, beautifully selected vocabulary, and the collaborative group opportunity that many of them chose as they tackled this assignment.  I was also so proud of how many of them had the courage to share their screen and read their poems.  One student even took the task to another level and sung her composition.

I shared with the students that over the years, a number of these reverse poems had been shared in various contexts, including social media texts. This one, entitled, Refugees by Brian Bilston is one that I’ve used in various settings.


They have no need of our help
So do not tell me
These haggard faces could belong to you or me
Should life have dealt a different hand
We need to see them for who they really are
Chancers and scroungers
Layabouts and loungers
With bombs up their sleeves
Cut-throats and thieves
They are not
Welcome here
We should make them
Go back to where they came from
They cannot
Share our food
Share our homes
Share our countries
Instead let us
Build a wall to keep them out
It is not okay to say
These are people just like us
A place should only belong to those who are born there
Do not be so stupid to think that
The world can be looked at another way


As they finished sharing their creations, I revealed my current writing journey of a post a day in the month of May and how their writing and courage had inspired my next post. I promised to try my hand at a reverse poem and share it with them by the end of the day.

They were quick to give me some advice:

  • Use descriptive words
  • Don’t stress about it
  • Read it backwards so it makes sense
  • write about something meaningful

And they were so gracious as to share their examples so I could refer to them as a template.

As I sat down to craft mine, I did some research, looked at some templates and of course took all their advice to heart. The examples that they shared were incredibly helpful.  As they had warned me, the task was harder than it looked.

As promised, I was able to create one (although much less detailed than any of theirs) and post it to their Google Classroom stream, so they can see it in the morning.

Our school is not very great

People will try to convince me that

Our students are very kind

And yet when you look closely

We do not welcome others

People never say that

Life at SAC is amazing

As I continue  to share throughout my journey as an amateur writer/blogger, one never knows where/when inspiration will make an appearance.  Today it was in a wonderfully creative, courageous, and clever class of grade 5 learners with an educator who knows how to spark the flame of engagement.

Where does your inspiration come from?

Come write with me….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *