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Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

Poetry Friday posts are over at The Poem Farm with Amy.

Thursday, Sept. 21st was International Peace Day.  I don’t think I would have known this without the intentional movement by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater.  Her efforts to promote Peace Day resulted in this padlet of wonderful resources.

I wish I could’ve taught Peace Day all week, but I reserved it for Thursday.  My students explored peace poems, made peace heart maps, and wrote poems of their own.  We had a wonderful celebration of peace.

Peace Heart Map by Jacob

Peace and Harmony
by Jacob

I am a seed
spreading across the world
filling the world
with peace and harmony.
Leaves shaped of hearts
making everyone
feel happiness.  

Peace Heart Map by Madison

On the Wings of a Butterfly
By Madison

Peace to come
on the wings
of a butterfly.

Peace to come
to silent wars
with melodies of peace.

Peace to come
in the purr
of a cat.

Peace to come
in your heart.
Let it spread.

Over at Today’s Little Ditty, Carole Boston Weatherford created a challenge to write an abecedarian poem.  I wrote one for peace and added it to Michelle’s padlet here.

Abecedarian Peace Poem

A peaceful world can
Be–
Caring will make it so.

Dance with
Each other
Face to face; Don’t
Give in to
Hate

Inch by inch we
Join our
Kindred hearts with
Love
Made
Noticeable
Only when
Peace is our
Quest

Resist a hateful
Stance
Tap-tap
Unified
Variations
With
X-steps–
Your own
Zydeco two-step of Peace!

–Margaret Simon, 2017, all rights reserved.

 

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#DWhabit The habit of writing daily with Jennifer Laffin. Click to connect to her site.

Today’s daily writing word is Unite.  For me, this word connects some dots in the world.  The first dot was the sermon at my church today.  Our priest talked about Quantum Entanglement and how it works with prayer; the idea that the life and death of each of us has influence over the other.  When we hold another person in our hearts, as in prayer, we are connected.

The second dot is the International Peace Day, which is this Thursday, Sept. 21st.  Amy Ludwig VanDerwater is collecting resources on this padlet.  I want to work with my students on peace poems.  My plan is to pass out a variety of poems about peace and have groups of students discuss them, then turn to their own writing.

The third dot is an acrostic poem I wrote this morning in response to the word Unite.

 

Another dot in this united maze is a story I heard from a friend about Constitution Day at a local university.  She said a Muslim woman was naturalized at the ceremony; however, when asked if she would pose with her family for a photograph, she said she was afraid.  My friend cried telling this story.  How can we offer freedom and citizenship along with fear?  I hope the energy of kindness and support surrounding this special day planted a seed of peace. May we all be seeds of peace.

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Find more celebration posts at Ruth’s blog.

Recently I have connected with Jennifer Laffin of Teach Write.  She invited me to be a part of a team encouraging teachers to write.  Our monthly Twitter chats occur on the first Monday at 7:30 PM EST with the hashtag #TeachWrite. (Our next chat is Oct. 2, 2017.) I subscribed to her personal blog as well as her professional one at Sweet Writing Life.  She wanted to commit herself to a more disciplined daily writing routine, so she started a daily word prompt.  She tweets the word at #DWHabit.  This was today’s tweet:

 

I am not sure I will have the time to respond every day, but today, I took the word explain for a walk.  My students teach me over and over again that sometimes I need to stop, take a breath, and backtrack before moving on.  Sometimes more words just muddy the waters. This is a first draft poem.

Explanation

I don’t want to explain again
and again.  Words hit the air,
make waves that dissipate,
fall
before your ears
catch them.

I’d rather you look
into my eyes
to understand,
feel in your heart
a knowing.

My breath is tired
of moving
so fast, so I stop.
Pause.
Fingers to my lips
forbid me to move on.

When I hit the reset button,
I can hear your confusion.
I am the one
who needs to retrace my steps,
start over,

and listen.

Thanks for this prompt, Jennifer.

If you choose to join Jennifer and me practicing our daily writing muscles, tune in to #DWHabit or follow Jennifer on Facebook.

 

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Poetry Friday posts are with Michelle at Today’s Little Ditty.

 

dots

One of my favorite days of the school year is Dot Day.  My students love it, too.  Today we will be making creative dots in class.  I’ll post them next week.

In preparation for our Friday celebration, I shared Laura Purdie Salas’s Dot poem.

 

Laura Purdie Salas

As a class, we brainstormed a list of things that were dots.  I asked my students to write a rhyming couplet with one or two of the ideas we listed.

Writing a rhyming couplet seems easy, at first.  I quickly discovered that rhyming doesn’t go together with making sense in kids’ writing.  We had lots of a lots rhyming with dots.  We even had cots and bots.  We also had internal rhyme rather than end rhyme, slant rhyme, and some just plain nonsense.

One student said, “This is hard.”

I responded, “Yes, but isn’t it fun when it works?”

We persevered and created a poem everyone was happy with. I am sharing two poems from each of my ELA groups.

 

A Pixel on the Page

A pixel on the page is just the start
for what may become a famous work of art.

Everything is made up of matter,
even the mad hatter.

Dots are everywhere
as well as over there.

A dot is the sun. A dot is the moon
disappearing around noon.

The earth is a dot
in not just one spot.

Want to make a rhyme,
running out of time?
Who you gonna call?
The majestic, dotty, narwhal.

One dot, two dots,
three dots, four,
five dots, six dots,
seven dots,
let’s add some more.

A dot is a dot
and there are quite a lot.

All you need is a spot
to make a dot.

I’m a dot, you’re a dot, everything’s a dot.
A dot can be super hot
spilled on the floor
dots,
        dots,
                 dots
                           galore.

 

 

Dot to Dot

Put an egg in a pot to boil
water bubbles, bump and coil.

My fingerprint marks a dot
leaving my dirt in a swirling spot.

A period on the end of a line
On a piece of paper ready to sign.

Potatoes, tomatoes, grapes on the vine
A salad combined for us to dine.

A seed that will grow into a tree
pollinated by a tiny little bee.

A dot…
a dot is a lens on the tip of your eye
looking for clouds high in the sky.

A dot is spot we can see
like that chocolate chip in my cookie.

 

 

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Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for the Slice of Life Challenge.

 

New York, NY, September 13, 2001 — Urban Search and Rescue specialists continue to search for survivors amongst the wreckage at the World Trade Center.
Photo by Andrea Booher/ FEMA News Photo

I never know if it’s the right thing to do.  I didn’t write it into my lesson plans.  I hesitate every year about teaching 9/11 to my gifted students.  But there’s a part of me that thinks they need to know the truth.  The need to have some seed of understanding about the meaning of that tragic day.

In my email on Monday morning, I read “Teach this Poem” from the Academy of American Poets. I forgot that I had signed up for this email, but I was glad it came.  The lesson gave me strong footing for talking about the unspeakable tragedy of 16 years ago.

First we looked at a photo of the destruction, writing down things we saw.

Some words collected from the image

dust
ash
destruction
devastation
war
dark
despair
collapsed
ruined lives

Then we read Lucille Clifton’s poem Tuesday, 9/11/01.  We noticed in the structure of the poem spaces, no capital letters.  This structure, someone said, expressed how raw and true her response was.  One student read it aloud.  The others hummed at the end, that hum when words hit you right in the gut.

I looked at their faces, the faces of my students who were innocent of terror and fear, but they heard it, they saw it, they got it.  And this understanding made me so extremely sad.

At the end of class, Faith came to me and said, “I need a hug.”

She knew it was me who needed the hug.

How do we best teach this history that is still so new and raw?  Pictures, poems, words, talk, tears.  That’s how.

My students wrote their poetic responses. Some wrote the facts they learned.  Some wrote their own feelings.  Some wrote through the eyes of the helpers.

I wish I didn’t have to teach this day.  I wish this day never happened.  I hope my students walked away with not only the details of the tragedy, but also a heart of kindness, hopefulness, and (please God) peace!

 

Madison’s journal page

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Poetry Friday posts are with Matt at Radio, Rhythm, and Rhyme.

 

There are times when a poem passes your way, like a butterfly on the rose bush or the tree frog on the window glass.  It comes and hovers a minute with the sole purpose of reminding you that God is real and present.

I felt this lighting when I opened Jane Kenyon’s A Hundred White Daffodils and found “Let Evening Come.”  With all the natural disasters in our midst, we need this reminder.

Let Evening Come

Let the light of late afternoon
shine through chinks in the barn, moving
up the bales as the sun moves down.
Let the cricket take up chafing
as a woman takes up her needles
and her yarn. Let evening come.
Let dew collect on the hoe abandoned
in long grass. Let the stars appear
and the moon disclose her silver horn.
Let the fox go back to its sandy den.
Let the wind die down. Let the shed
go black inside. Let evening come.
To the bottle in the ditch, to the scoop
in the oats, to air in the lung
let evening come.
Let it come, as it will, and don’t
be afraid. God does not leave us
comfortless, so let evening come.
Jane Kenyon, “Let Evening Come” from Collected Poems. Copyright © 2005 by the Estate of Jane Kenyon. Reprinted with the permission of Graywolf Press, St. Paul, Minnesota, www.graywolfpress.org.
Duperier bridge sunset

Bayou Sunset: Let evening come…

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Poetry Friday posts are with Kathryn Apel all the way from Australia.

 

Most of my week was spent inside my house watching the weather channel and wondering what Hurricane Harvey had in mind.  He was a destructive force in South Texas.  But here in Acadiana, we got some rain, some wind, and three days off of school.  I am happy we didn’t have to endure the suffering of flooding and wind damage, but there’s a part of me that feels guilty about that.

I’m in charge of this month’s #10foundwords article for Laura Shovan’s Facebook poetry project.  I chose an article that Tabatha Yeatts posted about how we can help Houston: Ways to Help People During Hurricane Harvey.

The ten words I found are: storm, contribute, massive, functioning, need, home, shelter, giving, dramatic, midst.

While the storm was heading north to dissipate, a few bands of wind gusts passed our way.  I love the way the cypress trees bend and wave with the wind.  They are designed to withstand hurricanes and tropical storms.  I went outside to video the trees. When the wind passes through the trees, it sounds like waves on the seaside.

I realized that the video could enhance my poem, so I worked on an iMovie.  If I had been teaching, I never would have had time for this kind of creative play.  The grace of this storm was time to create. The grace of poetry is words to express my deepest empathy.

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