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Archive for the ‘Celebration Saturday’ Category

National Poetry Month 2018

Railway Station

This week my students and I read an article in the Scope Scholastic magazine about the Kindertransport.  Jewish families paid for their children to board a train to Great Britain where a group of people welcomed and fostered these children escaping the dangers in Germany in 1939. The article focused on the story of one girl, Lore. For some of my students, this was their first exposure to the horrors of the Holocaust.  They became fascinated and touched by the terror these children had to go through.

Amy VanDerwater is writing a poem everyday on her blog and featuring one of the methods in her book Poems are Teachers.  I am using this prompt daily.  Added bonus: my students are learning about Orion because Amy is writing about one topic, Orion, 30 ways.

On day 2, she used story structure.  I thought this prompt paired well as a response to the Scope article.  As a follow up, my students created videos in Animoto with their poems.

Today, I am sharing my poem as well as a powerful video from my student, Erin.

Kindertransport

Alone with a suitcase,
a photograph,
an accordion,
Lore waited at the station
to be saved.

Hitler fanned the flames of hatred.
Terror washed over her.
Why did her parents send her away?
To be saved.

The only way they knew how,
they sent her away
to live with strangers
to learn a new language,
to find new friends,

to be saved.

–Margaret Simon (c) 2018

 

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Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life March Challenge

Find more celebration posts at Ruth’s blog.

 

Holy Week always brings up for me a mixture of feelings.  I feel a call to silent contemplation.  Years ago I offered a Good Friday meditation.  It originally came out of a prayer vigil from Maundy Thursday to Easter Sunday.  I had signed up for the 6 AM time slot and was moved by the rising of the sun as I sat alone in the quiet church.  We don’t have a vigil anymore, but the idea of sitting in quiet meditation early in the morning of Good Friday is still something I want to experience and share.

With four of us in the sanctuary, I read aloud Mary Oliver’s poem “I Happened to be Standing.”  Mary Oliver is a favorite poet of mine.  I love how simple and profound her poems are.  I searched for this one.  I remembered how it looked on the page, but I didn’t remember the title or which book it was published in.  I located five of her books around my home, none of them placed together.  Finally, A Thousand Mornings sang to me from the living room shelf, and there it was in all its humble glory.

I Happened to Be Standing

I don't know where prayers go,
     or what they do.
Do cats pray, while they sleep
     half-asleep in the sun?
Does the opossum pray as it
     crosses the street?
The sunflowers? The old black oak
     growing older every year?
I know I can walk through the world,
     along the shore or under the trees,
with my mind filled with things
     of little importance, in full
self-attendance. A condition I can't really
     call being alive
Is a prayer a gift, or a petition,
     or does it matter?
(Read and listen to the complete poem here.)

 

As I sat, I recalled Psalm 22 from the Maundy Thursday stripping of the altar. I wanted to respond to this psalm with my own psalm. I wrote:

Deus, Deus meus

My God, my God, why have you forgiven me?
The toll of the cardinal song
echoes You are my child.

Long ago, I carried a child in my own womb
felt her heart beat with mine,
felt the soft body roll inside.

Is this how you love me, God?

I held the hand of his father
as he passed into your light.
I let go of his quiet strength.

Is this how you love me, God?

When I think on these things,
I can know kindness.
I can hear stillness in the noise.
I can feel love in the bird’s song.

When you are near me, God,
My soul lives for you.

–Margaret Simon (c) 2018

Happy, Happy Easter! May you find joy in the quiet and love in the sounds of the birds!

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Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life March Challenge

 

Find more celebration posts at Ruth’s blog.

Ruth Ayres hosts a round-up on her blog each week of Celebration posts.  Again, I haven’t been participating each week, but the fact that she’s there is a gentle reminder to celebrate even the little things.

My #Teachwrite colleagues Leigh Anne and Michelle recently wrote slices about things that they prefer.  Leigh Anne titled her post “I’d rather”.  Michelle’s post was Early Mornings. I’m in the early morning camp.

Today, I celebrate the things I love

I love…an early morning walk.

I love… the sound of birds echoing through the trees.

I love... Charlie bouncing near me, his tags tinkling like bells.

I love...the scents of wisteria, sweet olive, satsuma blossoms filling the morning air.

I love…cut flowers in a vase on the kitchen table.

I love…frothed milk with coffee, Starbucks French Roast.

I love…writing in the morning.

I love…the quiet of students writing.

I love…the noise of student engagement.

I love…a glass of wine at the end of the day.

Spring on the bayou

 

 

 

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Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life March Challenge

 

Find more celebration posts at Ruth’s blog.

 

Librarian Melissa Armentor as Cat in the Hat and Coach Regan as Sam I am. Fun picture day!

This week was Dr. Seuss week at two of my three schools.  Each day had a theme.  The walls were covered in Seuss-inspired art and quotes.  At one school, the librarian was in costume each day.

Fun dressing up as Dr. Seuss characters.

On Friday, I sat next to Chloe, a 2nd grader, to help her write her second post for the March Slice of Life Challenge.  She wanted to write about Dr. Seuss week.  She is a huge fan.  As I looked at blue feathers circling her head, I knew this was going to be a fun slice to help her with.  She told me that her favorite book is “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.”  Using some of the ideas from this book, I suggested she write a poem.

We collaborated on this poem but most of the words came from Chloe.  I just typed them into a poetic looking form.

Dr. Seuss books are lots of fun.
You can read them in the sun.

Dr. Seuss books are the best thing ever.
They can trick you. They are clever.

Dr. Seuss books are kind of silly.
Like the one with crazy Billy.

Don’t know that book? Have some fun
And write one!

See Chloe’s complete post here.  Please leave a comment.

 

 

 

 

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Find more celebration posts at Ruth’s blog.

Thursday, Feb. 1st was World Read Aloud Day.  Back in November, Kate Messner posted a long list of authors willing to do free Skype visits.  I selected and contacted Sarah Albee, author of Bugged, Poop Happened, and Poison, amazing and engaging nonfiction books.

Each of my students in my morning class composed a question and were promised a chance to personally ask their question.

Argh!  Tech problems!

A quick call to the tech director, and he took over the computer and was able to solve the problem just in the nick of time.  My students were able to ask their questions, and Sarah expertly answered each one.

Even Erin’s question, “Do you know what a narwhal is?” did not stump this nonfiction research expert.  Sarah pointed Erin to a page in Poison in which she refers to the practice of using narwhal horns to simulate unicorn horns.

My students marveled in the length of time it takes to research, write, and publish a book.  Dawson, who is reading Bugged, asked what her favorite insect is.  Would you be surprised to know it’s an ant?!

Dawson later announced that it was the first time he had ever met anyone famous.  In a more perfect world where technology was flawless, I would Skype more often with “famous” people.  Authors are my heroes, and they are becoming my students’ heroes as well.

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Find more celebration posts at Ruth’s blog.

 

Early morning on Friday, I read Poetry Friday blog posts.  I read Irene Latham’s post here.  Her prompt suggestion came from a book that I have on my shelf, PoemCrazy by Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge, Chapter 31 “bring me magic.”

Inspired, I grabbed some packs of microwave popcorn and headed to school for Popcorn Poetry Friday!

Even a juice spill couldn’t dampen our poetry spirits.  The prompt calls for a walk outside, but we passed around the object inspiration box I had in the closet.  Each student picked an object to write about.

The instructions: 1. Choose an object; give it a name. 2. What does it look like? 3. Ask the object for a quality or deeper wisdom.

I believe this was the first prompt I’ve used this year that was successful for each student.  I typed each poem into a Google doc and on a whim, sent it to Irene.  Within our two hour class time, she responded.   She wrote a comment of encouragement on each student’s poem.  What a gift! They were thrilled.  Their teacher was thrilled.  Thanks, Irene, for your generosity and kindness.

Austin

Colorful butterfly
inspires the caterpillar
to rise up and fly.
Bring me your inspirational, stress-free life.

Lynzee

Black crayola paintbrush
dark as velvet,
give me your way of bringing color
to any situation
no matter how grey.

Mason

Bald eagle
white and burgundy,
bring me the ability
to soar faster than anyone
even if I mess up.

Andrew

Colorful feather
like the paintings of an artist,
give me a creative mind
like Pablo Picasso.

Trace

A turtle
that swims through the water
as wind does through the air,
bring me hope and peace
in ways as the water flows
through the currents of life.

Dawson

Dear little angel,
give me hope in time of anger and war.
Dear little angel,
enlighten me
with your sparkles and light
that shine so bright
every day and night.

Faith

Discarded flower necklace
connected by the same chain,
bring me your connection.

Like my family
all connected,
bring me gratitude.

Deep inside
a core of happiness,
bring me
your joyfulness.

Erin

Sandy hope
washed up on the shore
of value,
bring me confidence.

Erin extended the writing project and wrote a poem for each of us in the class.  Another amazing gift!  Poetry builds community.

 

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Find more celebration posts at Ruth’s blog.

 

Not much happened this week.
A layer of ice.
Schools closed.

I stoked the fire.
Carefully added a log or two.
Then let it go out.

Crochet needle looped and looped
a neck warmer for a friend,
prayers for an injured boy.

Ukulele picking.
Hallelujah
From G to E-minor
cramped and challenged
this weak left hand.

Read a book
about Love,
And the face staring back
in the bathroom mirror–
this, too, is love.*

A book about a Fall,
I didn’t look up
I didn’t look down
I just kept on climbing
one step at a time.*

Cooked and cared for
my mother-in-law
recovering from surgery.
“I’m fine,” she insisted.
She’s fine, I know.

Wrote a poem
with only a few words,
lifted it up like a paper airplane,
and sent it out into the world.

* Matt de la Peña Love

* Dan Santat After the Fall

 

 

 

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