Poetry Friday: Of missing out on daring playgrounds and chocolate milk

POETRY FRIDAY is hosted by Tabatha Yeatts at The Opposite of Indifference

A beautiful afternoon, and my sixth graders were gazing out of our classroom window yesterday, taking it all in and (I could tell) clearly yearning for those summer days when they where able to enjoy beautiful days outdoors, any time they so desired.  We set aside our social studies project (decoding the Declaration of Independence…hmmm) to mull over this change in fortunes.  Bit by bit, they began sharing things they missed about the summer…which turned into a conversations about things that (they feel) they are being forced to miss.  Among their grievances, non-plastic playgrounds that made playing exciting, daring even, playgrounds with equipment like:

And school lunches that included this:

My kids were feeling very put upon…very “they are taking away the joys of childhood….NOOOOO!!!!” – which brought to mind this poem:

They’re Taking Chocolate Milk Off the Menu,

<!– (from Slice of Moon) –>

and that’s only the beginning.
I hear other junk food is at risk:
brownies, pastries, name it,
they’re removing it, the only chance
fifth graders have at happiness.
The only thing I looked forward to
was chocolate milk, especially after
getting yelled at by Miss Paniotoo.
I once poured a carton over her “in”
box, watched the ink bleed down
the equation-filled pages, blurring
the names of my classmates,
never told anyone, not even Donna Nagy,
and now they’re taking it off the menu.
What will our kids be forced to do?

(You can read the rest of the poem  here).


6 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Of missing out on daring playgrounds and chocolate milk

  1. I love how they share their thoughts with you with such candour, they must love talking to you, dear Teacher Tara. I am sure most children here from Singapore would also love this poem you just shared. Whenever I ask them why they don't visit museums or read books or simply relax and have fun outdoors, they would often reply "No Time!" 🙂

  2. Can't agree more about the generic plastic playgrounds! My kids would still have access to lowfat chocolate milk in cafeteria lunches (should they choose to partake)… but unfortuately, that WOULD be the only thing they'd have… the rest of the food, too miserable to contemplate! Thanks for introducing me to this fun poem.

  3. Like Myra, I think it's fortunate that you can have heart-to-heart discussions with your students. My younger daughter has been complaining about the bell the school is using this year to mark the beginning and end of class. Sometimes it is the little things that get under our skin!

  4. Sounds like a great conversation. I thought you were going to say it led to your students writing about what they were missing, but I love the poem you shared. We are in the middle of the cupcake wars at my school. Just before school began, the administration decided to ban children bringing cupcakes and other treats to school for birthday celebrations because of the number of food allergies. I understand their point and certainly don't want any children to be hurt, but it is sad that the kids can't have a treat now and then!

  5. Oh, this is fabulous! We have no more sugary drinks at lunch in our cafeteria. The kids can buy them, but water is served with the meal. The outrage! I'll have to share this poem with my students.

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