Monday, February 23, 2015

Stretch With a Jigsaw Poem

By Janie Reinart

It's time to “work out” your writing muscles. Take a deep cleansing breath and stretch
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This idea is a bit like magnetic poetry, except we are using whole lines of poetry instead of single words to create something new. You can do this activity alone or with your writing group. You are putting the pieces of this puzzle back together in your own way.

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Find three to six poems with a similar theme. My themes were dreams and nature. I printed each poem on a different color paper and cut them line by line with a paper cutter.You can also use scissors.

The poems are color coded. Click the poet to see the poem:

1. Hope is the Thing With Feathers by Emily Dickinson, 

2. Dreams by Langston Hughes

3. Dream Dust by Langston Hughes
4. Excerpt - (On white paper)
 Little Word, Little White Bird 
by Carl Sandburg

Love is a little white bird

And the flight of it so fast

You can't see it
And you know it's there  
Only by the faint whirr of its wings

And the hush song coming so low to your ears

You fear it might be silence

And you listen keen and you listen long

And you know it's more than silence

For you get the hush song so lovely

It hurts and cuts into your heart

And what you want is to give more than you can get

And you'd like to write it 
but it can't be written

And you'd like to sing it 
but you don't dare try
Because the little white bird sings it better than you can


5. Summer Grass by Carl Sandburg


6. Dream Variations  

by Langston Hughes 




Next, supply your writing group with glue sticks, the poetry line strips, and a plain piece of paper. Work together as a team. Everyone draws two to three strips of poetry from the pile without looking at the words. 

Each person reads their poetry line strips silently, then takes turns reading the lines they selected to each other. One person starts the puzzle poem by putting down a line.



Continue until everyone uses a line or two and the lines make sense with the poem you are creating.You can hand write in lines or words to complete your poem. Title your poem and your jigsaw poem is finished. It's fun to read the poems by the famous poets to see where the lines were originally used.

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For more writing inspiration share your jigsaw poem with us. 


  1. Replies
    1. Posting for Janie: I hope they will help inspire your writing!

  2. This is awesome! I am going to use this activity with my students in April as we celebrate National Poetry Month! Thanks for the great idea and I can't wait to make my own.



  3. Hope you don't mind, I went ahead and put these all into a document so that I will have it ready when I need it in April. Here is the folder with all of the poems as a Google Document. Feel free to use it if you want:


  4. Posting for Janie: Great idea--thanks! Glad it will come in handy for your students as well as yourself.

  5. That sounds like oodles of fun. You get to use your noodle in a fun way. Taking Lyrical Language now, and this could jumpstart something cool.

    1. Posting for Janie: Wouldn't that be perfect timing! Hope it helps.

    2. What a great idea for kids and adults to spawn new ideas and force us to think outside of the poetry box! Thanks for sharing!

    3. Posting for Janie: Wouldn't that be perfect timing! Hope it helps.

  6. Your students are fortunate Janie. I can see they had fun with this prompt. Inventive & creative, plus great images for the article.

    1. I'm back. Thanks Jan. It is the best warm up for instantly surrounding yourself in wonderful language!

  7. Janie: This is such an outstanding activity to create lyrical language. Poetry by Carl Sandburg is the best. My junior high school in Minnesota was name in honor of this wonderful poet.

    1. Garden Girl I agree. I was able to visit the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site in North Carolina. Fabulous!