Archive for May 4th, 2014

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Tweet with #k6diglit.

I have had some struggles with using Haiku Deck in my classroom due to the network blocks on our server. I’m sure this is an issue for others as we use new apps in our classrooms. I found a way this week to make it work. The server blocks the images, but not the app. I taught my students about fair use of photos from the Internet. We search images on Google, click on Search Tools, and click on Labeled for reuse. This limits greatly the number of images we can choose from. However, when using a web-based app, I feel it is important to use the images rightly.

The poetry writing exercise included a discussion of imagery and how scientific poems can use imagery to help your reader understand a concept. We looked through poetry books and found model poems that used imagery. We read together the poem Helianthus from Seeds, Bees, Butterflies, and More! by Carole Gerber.
“If saying ‘helianthus’ makes you cower…
use our common name–
Vannisa chose to write a haiku about sunflowers. She actually wrote three haikus, so I told her that a long poem using the haiku syllable count is called a Choka.

Vannisa Choka Sunflower

To see the full poem on Haiku Deck, click here.


Inspired by Carole Gerber’s big name poem, Matthew wrote about Charcharodon Carcharias or Great White Sharks. Matthew managed to work in a line he lifted from the book he is reading.

Matthew shark poem

Matthew’s full poem is here:


Read Full Post »

I believe that it is every artist’s right to determine what they create and not have that dictated to them.
Lisa Yee in A Rambling Rant on Race

I have been watching the Twitter frenzy on #WeNeedDiverseBooks closely because I wrote a diverse book. Blessen is a young bi-racial girl growing up in St. Martinville, Louisiana. She lives with her white mother and grandfather and discovers that her father is a black man. She builds a relationship with her black grandmother. One of my favorite scenes is when Mae Mae braids Blessen’s hair. Blessen’s white mother has never been able to fix her hair. My research on this scene happened when my friend who is black let me do her daughter’s hair. There were oils and conditioners and little barrettes. I loved learning about this scene with first hand experience.

For as long as I can remember, no one has ever done my hair. I’ve always just wrapped it up in a rubber band. Ella Mae works with her fingers, rubbing my scalp with oil that smells like the sweet olive tree. I breathe in and feel my shoulders relax as she massages my head and braids my hair into fine braids. She ties off each braid with a tiny rubber band…At this moment I forget that my daddy is gone and my momma is full of anger. At this moment, I am a blessing to Ella Mae. I am a blessing to my grandmother.

How can anyone say that a white woman cannot write with empathy about a black child? It never occurred to me that I couldn’t. Blessen came to me in a student. I see her again and again walking the halls of the schools where I teach. Like every child, she has her heartaches. She learns to love through the tragedies and losses she faces. I feel more than justified to have created her. She is part of me.

As Lisa Yee says, “We need diverse books because this generation of minority will grow up to be the majority.” Girls like Blessen will strengthen and enlighten our world, as she shows the world that it doesn’t matter what race you are on the inside. What matters is the strength of your character on the inside.

Blessen proof
Blessen can be found on Amazon.

Read Full Post »