Archive for April, 2021

Poetry Friday round-up is with Matt at Radio, Rhythm, and Rhyme.

This week I was humbled and surprised to have one of Sylvia Vardell’s students create an amazing poem video of Zen Tree from Hop to It: Poems to Get You Moving. Garrett’s soothing voice, the calm music, and the amazing images all came together to show something beautiful. I am honored by this creative expression of my words. Thanks to Sylvia for organizing the project with her students. See more at Poetry for Children.

Michelle Schaub has been posting poetry videos all month on her blog Poetry Boost. My video of “Peep Eye” was featured this week.

Michelle Kogan finished up the Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem with a final line as well as a delightful illustration. The poem will be archived here.

I’ve been writing poems each day in response to prompts on Ethical ELA. I share these prompts with my students. On Wednesday, I struggled over the prompt. I shared the struggle with Chloe. She started writing me notes with topic suggestions. One of these notes said, “Me.” Then the pen flowed.

Fifth Grade

She comes in the room
with an attitude
that testy mood
of preteen silliness
and suggests I write a poem
about her. 

As if I know her well enough
to write her down in words.

What I know is she grins loudly in braces.
She writes notes on paper
and crumples them like the crunch
of a chip bag in the trash–
Schwoop! Perfect shot! 

But this poem will not be a perfect shot. 
There are no shots left on her page
of excuses–the “not my fault”
dissolves into “I just can’t.”

I wonder aloud “When will you believe in yourself?”
When did I believe in myself?
Have I ever?

This poem can’t end like this.
I must write something encouraging
to make all this white space worth it.

This I know…she’s worth it! 

Margaret Simon, all rights reserved

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Spring is in full swing and many of my phone photos are flowers, but last night was a marvelous super pink moon. The phone camera didn’t really capture what I saw, so I took the photo through the Waterlogue app just to see what I would see. The negative space shows up, the sky that is blue with the nightlight of the moon and the white spaces in the trees. Makes me think about negative spaces and chiaroscuro, the light we don’t see until the perspective is changed.

Chiaroscuro, in art, is the use of strong contrasts between light and dark, usually bold contrasts affecting a whole composition.

Silent light
Curves through darkness
Under a full moon
Revealing the sky’s
Open door

Margaret Simon, draft

Please leave a small poem in the comments. Write a comment for other writers.

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Catherine at Reading to the Core.

On Ethical ELA this month, teachers and authors are offering intriguing poetry writing prompts. Padma Venkatraman wrote on April 14th that she has created a team of authors dedicated to diverse verse: “Diverse Verse is a website and a resource for educators and diverse poets and verse novelists.” This week they launched using the hashtags #DiverseVerse and #AuthorsTakeAction.

Padma invited teacher/writers to write a 4 lined rhymed stanza beginning with “Hope is.” I thought of how I made origami cranes last summer and organized a gathering of cranes to hang downtown. My first draft of this poem was this:

Hope is an origami crane
hanging in a tree
twisting with the wind
longing to be free.

Draft #1

In the comments, someone pointed out the words hanging, twisting, longing. “There is beauty but also struggle with “hanging”, “twisting”, “longing”. Much truth here.” A positive comment, I know, but I wanted to revisit the verse and see if I could make more of a connection from the hands creating the crane to the idea of peace. This is my next attempt with a line from Chloe, “Is perfection too much?” We’ve tried origami together. She pointed out how our attempts are imperfect at best, but we keep trying. Like hope. Like peace. It’s in the attempts, not the perfection.

Chloe wrote a verse, too. She received a comment from Padma herself and was thrilled.

Would you like to try to weave a metaphor about hope? Share one in the comments.

Photo by Prashant Gautam on Pexels.com

Hope is space between the clouds

the light shining through

the sun’s smiling face

who knew?

Chloe, 5th grade

Our Kidlit Progressive poem is rolling along nicely. Check out the next line choices today with Janice at Salt City Verse.

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I love to place flowers in a vase on my kitchen table. Last Sunday the rain finally stopped and the sun came out revealing new colors. Flowers were so happy about the rain. They were blooming like crazy. So I cut some and put them in a simple vase, a knock-out rose, yellow gerbera daisies, and blue flag iris. There they sat when I found an email with a link to a YouTube video on contour drawing. I drew this still life and I wasn’t disappointed in the results. I usually hate my drawing and often give up on any exercise that involves drawing skills. But to live creatively, you can’t give up. You shouldn’t deny the things you love. And you should always, always place flowers in a vase on your kitchen table.

Still life with flowers, photo by Margaret Simon enhanced by Waterlogue app

Buds today
will be blossoms tomorrow
Don’t forget to water
the seeds you plant.
They are yours
for only a moment.

Margaret Simon, draft

Use these photos to prompt a small verse and leave it in the comments. Encourage other writers with comment replies. Thanks for being here today.

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Jama at Jama’s Alphabet Soup

I hope you are having a fun-filled poetry month. This week I played with equation poems à la Laura Purdie Salas. Laura released a book of equation poems titled Snowman – Sun = Puddle (published by Charlesbridge and with art by Micha Archer). This is a great book to read with budding second and third grade writers as they learn about figurative language. This month Laura is posting an equation poem on her blog daily. My students and I enjoyed creating image equation poems using Canva.

by Rylee, on a stormy day when her teacher had a hard time getting home because the streets were flooded.
by Mrs. Simon on the same rainy day when no one could go out for recess.
by Adelyn, who in second grade is learning about the Civil Rights Movement.
by Chloe with a nod to Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo.
by Mrs. Simon

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This is National Poetry Month, so there are many poetry prompts floating around. I appreciate you coming by today to exercise the muse.

I was in New Orleans for Easter and had the privilege of taking my 19 month old grandson to City Park. Close to Cafe du Monde where you can get amazing coffee and beignets, there is a playground set among old oaks. One of the oaks has grown huge branches draped over the ground. This oak is a favorite uncle that kids climb all over. Here is a link to more information about the Live Oaks in City Park.

New Orleans City Park Oak, photo created in Waterlogue

Please leave a small poem in the comments. You have permission to use this photo on your blog or social media. Be sure to support other writers with your comments.

You drape and dip
hands free
for daily dance–
happily holding
mother’s gold.

Margaret Simon, draft

A little lagniappe (Creole French for a little something extra): Thomas and the tree.

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Thanks to Margaret Simon for hosting the Progressive Poem started by Irene Latham. And a big thank you for allowing blog-less me to appear on her blog once again. If you don’t know me I comment on Poetry Friday as Janet F. or Janet Clare F. and I love this poetry community! As a former teacher and poet I feel at home with my poetry friends. 

Following last year’s procedure established by Donna at Mainely Write, we are choosing between two lines offered by the person before us and then writing two for the next poet.  Our poem about kindness and friendship is now traveling a new path so off we go. 

Thanks to Buffy for two great options, which did not surprise me at all, but I am off to the woods.  I hear the bees buzzing, the quiet and the birdsong. I remember how I loved to explore the woods behind my house while playing as a child. And on hikes when my family camped in summers. Fresh air, imagination and wholesome times! 

I’m a case of kindness – come and catch me if you can!
Easily contagious – sharing smiles is my plan.

I’ll spread my joy both far and wide,
As a force of Nature I’ll be undenied.

Words like, “how can I help?” will bloom in the street.
A new girl alone on the playground – let’s meet, let’s meet!

We can jump-skip together in a double-dutch round.
Over, under, jump and wonder, touch the ground.

Friends can be found when you open a door.
Side by side, let’s walk through, there’s a world to explore.

Buffy’s lines for me were:

  1. We’ll hike through a forest of towering trees 


  1. Should we follow the stream as it eddies and flows?

Not surprisingly I selected #1! It sounds like a wonderful way to enjoy special time with a new (or old) friend.

We’ll hike through a forest of towering trees

And now for Jone, I offer:

Option 1: Look for flowers, enjoy birdsong as long as we please.


Option 2:  Find a stream we can follow while we bask in the breeze.

(You can tell I was torn by that lovely idea of following the stream!)

Jone you may choose one of these OR feel free to choose one of your own as Kat Apel describes in the first day’s post!  Happy poeting!

P.S. As I was contemplating the idea of walking for health, poetry and friendship for the Progressive Poem, it reminded me of the one I saw today at Poetry Boost with Michelle Schaub. I recalled Thoreau espousing the benefits of walking about 4 hours a day. I googled and found this interesting link. I am going to make a goal of doing more contemplative walking! With and without my friends, but friends are always good to have around!

(You can find me on FB at Janet Clare. If we haven’t yet connected, I look forward to doing so.)

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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This year’s progressive poem started out recognizing kindness and is currently bouncing off to the playground where we have met a new character. Here’s the progress so far:

I’m a case of kindness – come and catch me if you can!
Easily contagious – sharing smiles is my plan.

I’ll spread my joy both far and wide,
As a force of Nature I’ll be undenied.

Words like, “how can I help?” will bloom in the street.
A new girl alone on the playground – let’s meet, let’s meet!

We can jump-skip together in a double-dutch round.

Denise at Dare to Care offered these line choices:

Over, under, jump and wonder, touch the ground


But she was shy when greeted; she didn’t make a sound.

I am attracted to the action in the first line, so I have selected it.

I’m a case of kindness – come and catch me if you can!
Easily contagious – sharing smiles is my plan.

I’ll spread my joy both far and wide,
As a force of Nature I’ll be undenied.

Words like, “how can I help?” will bloom in the street.
A new girl alone on the playground – let’s meet, let’s meet!

We can jump-skip together in a double-dutch round.
Over, under, jump and wonder, touch the ground.

2021 Kidlit Progressive Poem Day 9

I am happy that I get to begin a new stanza, but since this poem has become a rhyming poem, I don’t want to burden it with a difficult word to rhyme. I also need to consider the theme thus far, kindness and friendship.

I love the idea of a friendship blooming. Chloe was around when I was trying to create the line choices, so I let her write one of them. I won’t tell you which one, though. My friend and critique partner, Molly Hogan, gets to choose from these two lines:

Friends can be found when you open a door.


A never-ending sign connects hand to hand.

For a full list of participants, check out the sidebar.

Photo by Jill Wellington on Pexels.com
Poetry Friday round-up is with Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference.

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This week I am traveling with my sister. She lives in Texas, I in Louisiana, and our parents and brother live in Mississippi. We’ve had a quick visit after more than a year of separation. Yesterday, Beth and I wanted to take a walk. It was a gorgeous spring morning, so we found Friendship Park near our hotel. Both of us were taken by the scenery. Huge old azaleas were in bloom. There was a winding soft asphalt path to walk. The trees jutting up to the sky were fresh with new green. Each of us snapped multiple pictures.

Friendship Park, by Margaret Simon

New green reaches
for a heavenly lit sign
all is well

Margaret Simon, draft

Please consider writing your own small poem response in the comments. Give encouraging feedback to other writers.

Today the Kidlit Progressive Poem is with Rose at Imagine the Possibilities.

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Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for creating an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write and share.

I’m inviting you to find inspiration today at Ethical ELA. I wrote the guest prompt of the day for National Poetry Month. My inspiration came from a National Geographic email that I subscribe to. In the newsletter, there were selected photographs chronicling the pandemic across the world. I chose to write about a photograph of undocumented workers making masks.

Writing to photographs is inspirational as there are so many ways to approach the task. With students you can ask questions that lead them to wonder and response. Who do you see? What do you think you know? What can you discover?

Building a sense of empathy is vital in our world today. Finding a world view can open up empathy. Consider joining the community at Ethical ELA and writing a poem in response to a photograph.


“How can you say we don’t belong here
when we are working so hard
to heal this country’s communities right now?” Veronica Velasquez

I think of the mask makers,
side-by-side on an assembly line
cutting, threading, sewing
white cloth
To keep us safe
while they live
in the shadow
in plain sight,
essential now.

or don’t belong?
Our survival
depends on
their survival.

Margaret Simon
Photo by SKYTONER on Pexels.com

The Progressive Poem is moving along. Check on it today with Jan at Book Seed Studio.

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