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Archive for September, 2013

Join the Chalk-a-bration over at Teaching Young Writers

Join the Chalk-a-bration over at Teaching Young Writers

Join the Tuesday Slice of Life!

Join the Tuesday Slice of Life!

My students love the last day of the month because it is time for Chalkabration. Monday was a cloudy day, but I was prepared. I had bought a roll of chalkboard contact paper. Each student got a 10 inch piece. We read aloud from the new book, Seeds, Bees, Butterflies, and More!: Poems for Two Voices by Carole Gerber. So they composed poems for two voices.

Kendall wrote a poem inviting you to enjoy the chalkabration.

Kendall wrote a poem inviting you to enjoy the chalkabration.

In the Ocean by Matthew, read aloud by Matthew and Tyler

In the Ocean by Matthew, read aloud by Matthew and Tyler

Brooke writes a poem about waves. Read aloud by Brooke and Matthew.

Brooke writes a poem about waves. Read aloud by Brooke and Matthew.

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sugarcane 1

Today is Sugarcane Festival Farmer’s Day in New Iberia. I have watched the cane grow all summer. It is over 8 feet tall. Should be a good year!

Sugarcane stalks standing tall,
side by side,
guarding, swaying
swish, swish!

sugarcane 4

Hear the sweetness?
Smell the burning field?
Anticipate the haul-
Slow, slow.

Moving to the mill,
Grind, Grind
Just in time
for Christmas candy canes.
–Margaret Simon

Poetry Friday is being hosted today by Amy at The Poem Farm.

Poetry Friday is being hosted today by Amy at The Poem Farm.

happiness is

Happiness is a new poetry book. Announcing the release of Illuminate, a book of my poems with my father’s drawings. Here’s what others are saying:

Illuminate

“John Gibson, the father and artist, and Margaret Simon, the daughter and poet, have teamed up to communicate the beauty and mystery of the manifestation of God in the world in this small volume. Finely honed lines by both artist and writer will cause readers to ask for more, as the creators of Illuminate have, with light and deft strokes, captured the gift of the Incarnation.” Diane Moore

“In the imaginative, graceful and grace-filled poems of Margaret Simon, we are taken into her experience of faith through a vision that is clear and a voice that is authentic. Each poem, lovingly crafted, is homage to her father’s art and to her God, and resonates with her love of and enchantment with words.” Clare L. Martin, poet and author of Eating the Heart First (Press 53, 2012)

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Join the Tuesday Slice of Life!

Join the Tuesday Slice of Life!

For today’s Slice of Life, I want to express my gratitude for the Wonders in my life.

I. I am part of a Wonderful group of women called The Berry Queens. At the 6th annual ball on Friday night, I was honored to be named Head Diva.

2012-13 Head Diva, Susan and me, 2013-14 Head Diva.

2012-13 Head Diva, Susan and me, 2013-14 Head Diva.

II. My Wonderful baby girl was home for two weeks. We enjoyed some fun times together. Her boyfriend, Jeff, came in for the weekend. Here they are posing at the Grandmother Oak.

Daughter Martha with boyfriend, Jeff and Grandmother Oak.

Daughter Martha with boyfriend, Jeff with Grandmother Oak.

III. Reading FREADOM: This is National Banned Books week. My students are discussing their favorite books. I am grateful that they are Wonder-filled readers. Some of them made Animoto videos about their books.

IV. International Dot Day celebration continues: My younger students (2nd-4th grade) discovered the Wonder of creating their own mark using Paint.

Emily's Dot created on Paint.

Emily’s Dot created on Paint.

Emily’s Acrostic Dot Day poem

Decorating Dots
Oh,what a nice day
Today, today dots we make.

Dabbing on dots
All day I say
Yay! oh what a nice day!

V. The proof is here! The book of my poems with my Dad’s art, Illuminate, will be coming soon. Here I am with the Proof! Wonders never cease!

It may be small, but it is oh, so precious.  My book of poems with my father's art.

It may be small, but it is oh, so precious. My book of poems with my father’s art.

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dot_sec

My students continue to celebrate International Dot Day. A group of 2nd-4th graders presented Peter Reynolds’ book The Dot to a kindergarten class. We gave each of them a coffee filter. They placed the filter on a sheet of art paper. They colored the filter with markers. Then my students sprayed the filters. (2-3 squirts only! We learned quickly that too many squirts made a very soggy dot.) Another thing we learned was that most kindergarten kids can sign their own name and are very proud to do so.

Back in class with some of my older students, we wrote a collaborative poem around the line, “Make a mark and see where it takes you.” Combining the efforts of all of my various groups of children, I created this Animoto video.

Another book in Peter Reynolds’ Creatrilogy is Ish. Third grader Tobie read Dot and Ish and drew this dot on the board. I thought it was really clever.

Invisiblish dot by Tobie

Invisiblish dot by Tobie

Tabatha has the Poetry Friday Roundup today. Hop on over to her site: The Opposite of Indifference.

poetry friday button

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dot_sec

I discovered Peter Reynolds and his delightful collection of creative books a few years ago. I made International Dot Day a part of my classroom lore. Teaching gifted students allows me the luxury of having the same students each year, with some additions along the way. All I said last week was “Dot Day is coming,” and my students cheered. I gave them 3 choices for celebrating: 1. Create your own dot. 2. Present the book to a kindergarten class; or 3. Both. Guess what they chose? You got it, option 3. So our Dot Day celebration is only just beginning. I love that Peter Reynolds says Dot Day is Sept. 15-ish because we plan to celebrate all week.

You’ll have to stay tuned for more posts about our week. The first thing we did was, of course, read THE DOT. Vashti thinks she is no good at art. Her very wonderful caring art teacher thinks otherwise and honors her most miniscule attempt to draw by framing her small dot in gold. Vashti then becomes determined to make more and more dots, various sizes and colors. She even paints a dot without painting a dot. The most important thing is to sign your name.

Sixth grader, Brooklyn, read the story.

Dot day1

Each of my students led a small group of kindergartners to create their own individual dot.

dot day 4
dot day 5

dot day 6

My students had a great time with the little ones and want to make this a monthly activity. Their teacher was happy to have us, too.

Join the Tuesday Slice of Life

Join the Tuesday Slice of Life

Some Dot Day links:

International Dot Day Website: Free Posters!

Facebook Page for International Dot Day: Share how you are celebrating.

The Dot Club

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Over at Teaching Young Writers, Betsy has a monthly chalk-a-bration, chalking poetry. My students had a great time with this activity on August 30. The principal saw all our beautiful chalketry and drawings, so she asked us to do it again for Grandparents’ Day. Since grandparents were expected to visit school on Monday, we chalked our poetry last Friday. Today, I am posting some pictures of my students and their chalketry. I’m sure they will ask again this morning if we are going to chalk poetry. I hope Betsy keeps it up during the school year, but even if she doesn’t post a round-up, my students are hooked and will be wanting to chalk poems year round. (If you click on the pictures, the image is bigger and you can read the poem.)

Grandparents were greeted by a colorful path.

Grandparents were greeted by a colorful path.

Soft grandma, warm grandma has a cat with fur. Happy grandma, sleepy grandma, (snore) "Yeah, sure." by Matthew

Soft grandma,
warm grandma
has a cat with fur.
Happy grandma, sleepy grandma,
(snore)
“Yeah, sure.”
by Matthew

Kendall's poem fills the sidewalk.

Kendall’s poem fills the sidewalk.

Grandparents are great. Grandparents are sweet. Grandparents are here to greet you. Grandparents we hope you have a lot of fun. Grandparents are the best.

Grandparents are great.
Grandparents are sweet.
Grandparents are here to greet you.
Grandparents we hope you have a lot of fun.
Grandparents are the best.


Vannisa's poem

Vannisa’s poem

Poetry Friday is hosted today by Jen at Teach Mentor Texts

Poetry Friday is hosted today by Jen at Teach Mentor Texts

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Join the Tuesday Slice of Life

Join the Tuesday Slice of Life

Margaret Gibson Simon and father,  John Gibson

Margaret Gibson Simon and father, John Gibson

I am visiting my parents in Mississippi. My father and I are working on the final touches of our book project. Yes, you heard me…book project. I am excited to announce the publication of Illuminate, a book of poetry and art.

I started writing poems to my father’s Christmas cards in December of 2012. I’ve posted some of the drafts on this blog. My friend Victoria Sullivan at Border Press will be publishing it. The book will be small, about 25 pages. The drawings to me are striking, done in pen and ink pointillism. I hope the book will be ready mid-October in time for Christmas.

In 2008, I wrote my first poem about my father’s art. There is a drawing framed in my bedroom of an American Indian woman with her child, wrapped together in a blanket as though she is shielding her child from all danger. The writing connected me to his art work in a spiritual way. I share this first poem in the preface of Illuminate. Check back in October to order your own copy.

My Father’s Drawing
Dots of ink and graphite rise in tension with paper
to form a likeness of mother and child.
The wild contrast of darks to light plays
in harmony creating a vision of love.

In the meantime, I grew up,
became a woman with children
living away from my father.
His letters come to me in thank you notes.

Yet everyday, I look at this drawing—
the dots of pointillism reach out from the wall
and grant me an audience
with his graceful praise.
–Margaret Simon, all rights reserved

Mother Earth by John Gibson

Mother Earth by John Gibson

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