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Poetry Friday round up is with Rose today at Imagine the Possibilities

Awakening the Heart by Georgia Heard is a go-to book for me. I recently came back to it to find an inspiring poetry lesson (page 48) around a stanza of Naomi Shihab Nye’s poem Valentine for Ernest Mann.

We watched this video of Naomi reading it and telling the story of its inception. Then we borrowed the words poems hide for our own poems. Avalyn says it’s the best poem she’s ever written (in her year of writing poetry with me.)

I was reminded of a resident at my parents’ retirement home. When my father was ill, I stayed with my mother in her apartment and got to know many of her friends. This is a true story about Angel, but after I gave her a copy of the poem, she had to correct me that the cats do trust her and let her pet them.

Poems Hide
in an Instagram image
of sunrise
a small songbird
the trickle of water
over a streambed.

Poems hide
in the calico that lost its tail
in the woman named Angel
who sits on the ground
to feed the lonely cat,
her hand out, longing for trust.

Angel laughs in poetry.

She gives me a Styrofoam cup
of cut roses aflame in her hand.
I find poetry
in the things I touch
and in your forever love.

Margaret Simon, all rights reserved

Poetry Hides
by Avalyn, 2nd grade

poetry hides
in talent,

poetry hides
in your favorite stuffed toy

poetry hides
in the beautiful Robin you saw hurt on the ground

poetry hides
in yourself and all beings

poetry hides
in magnolia flowers

poetry hides
in the things you love most

poetry hides
in the ones that helped you get awards and medals

poetry hides
in the lost and found shared memories

poetry hides
in your life and soul

poetry hides
in the book of quotes that helps you feel grateful


poetry hides  

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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.

On Poetry Friday, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater posted on The Poem Farm a slide show created by teacher/author Emily Callahan. Her 4th graders have been writing proverb poems after Amy’s. I shared the slide show with my student Chloe. She was inspired to write a prequel to Ms. Callahan’s students’ prequel poems. Here is her Fanschool page, Prequel Crazy.

Here it sits
covered from the rain a chess board
broken into pieces.
I allow access to
the board.
He has found a new home. 
I glue it,
I wash it,
I rinse it,
I dry it,
I wrap it up
and drive along a bumpy road
the perfect gift 
to my daughter
She asks, ” Where did you dig this up from?”
“One man’s trash is another mans treasure
Maybe you can do the same
Like with a blanket?”

Chloe, 6th grade

I wrote alongside Chloe. A poem about my sister’s plan to create a quilt from my father’s shirts. I left the last line blank so I could make it a prequel to Chloe’s. We enjoyed this playful poem making. Thanks, Amy and Emily!

“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”

The girl sees patterns,
pictures in her father’s shirts,
gathered,
sorted,
cut,
stitched
into a quilt of many colors,
into a memory of many hugs,
into a dream of everlasting rest.
She sees more than anyone
a life lived as a husband, a father,
a doctor, an artist, a friend.
She touches every day what he wore,
a treasure in her hands.
Maybe you could do the same.
Maybe with a chess board.

Margaret Simon, draft

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It’s festival season and most of them are back from a long Covid break. All week I introduced different poetry forms to my students. They could choose their own topics. Coincidentally two chose to write about upcoming festivals using the dodoitsu form. Dodoitsu is a Japanese form that uses the syllable count of 7,7,7,5. Avalyn, 2nd grade, wrote about the Lao New Year Festival. Avalyn’s family belongs to the Buddhist Temple located in Coteau, a suburb of New Iberia. In the 70’s Laotian immigrants were aided by Catholic Services to purchase land to build a temple. Every year around Easter, the community celebrates the Lao New Year. Avalyn is looking forward to it with enthusiasm. She wrote a cherita here. I’m sharing her dodoitsu.

My Lao New Year

First we go inside to pray

next we go outside to play

food and fun and lots of joy

spend money on toys

Avalyn, 2nd grade
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lao_New_Year,_flour_throwing.jpg

The Spanish Festival queen is a substitute teacher at our school, so she and her cohort visited the school to promote the Spanish Festival happening this weekend in New Iberia. This beautiful crocheted canopy is on display downtown.

Crochet Canopy in downtown New Iberia

Chloe was prompted by the queen’s visit to write her dodoitsu about the Spanish festival.

Spanish Festival

Crochet ceiling, knit till dark

staying up with family 

Everyone’s culture matters 

As dawn sets down day

Chloe, 6th grade

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Thirty-four days. Our wood duck hen sat for thirty-four days. We were losing hope, afraid the freeze back in March did it. On Sunday morning I got a text from a bayou neighbor, “Today is jump day for one of our houses!”

“Our duck has been sitting for 34 days. No hatching yet. I’m not sure we should keep waiting.”

“Mine sat for longer than usual.”

So I flipped over to our RIng app. Did I hear cheeping? Mother hen was eating a shell. They were hatching!

You probably want to know how many, but it’s nearly impossible to count when they are little blurry black blobs wiggling.

Monday was Jump Day. It was also a school/work day. We had to rely on the camera. Jeff set up a new Ring camera outside of the house in order to record the jump. Around 10:00, I checked the cameras. Gone. All the ducks had jumped. I missed it, but the camera did not.

As I showed the video to my student, Avalyn, she named the little ducklings. “Come on, Tiffany, you can do it!” she urged as one of the babies hesitated to jump. Avalyn also wrote a poem-song (impromptu) to celebrate Jump Day!

Wood duck, wood duck
open your shell.
Come out, come out, come out now!
Little duck, little duck,
quack with your snout.
Little duck little duck, little duck
don’t you frown
Come play in the bayou
and make no sound.

Avalyn, 2nd grade
Jump Day, 2022: Watch the lower right corner to see Momma Duck come back to get a wayward duckling.

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What a full weekend! The Books along the Teche Literary Festival was held in New Iberia. On Saturday, my friend, artist Paul Schexnayder and I led a children’s workshop. He taught the art part and I led the poem part: Poem Portraits. The kids wrote a bio-poem and decorated a cardboard face with Picasso-esque facial designs.

Student portrait

Outside in Blue Dog Park, there was a children’s authors area, but I decided not to sit and sell books this year. I had a good time supporting my SCBWI friends, hanging out at their tables, chatting and selling their books.

It certainly helped that the weather was probably the best we’ve had all year.

Blue Dog Park was the location of the Children’s Author Tents

For Ethical ELA, Gae Polisner and Lori Landau led the prompt with a suggestion to choose a line from another writer’s poem and create your own poem. They called it Collaboration Inspiration and it was probably the most prolific day for writing so far. Pop over to read the amazing poetic responses and to be inspired yourself. I borrowed my first line from Stacy: “Yesterday I wore only a sweater.”

Yesterday I wore only a sweater
Cream-colored comfort
in the morning chill.
I left it on a folding chair
in the children’s authors’ tent
where we joyfully greeted
a couple from Ohio
who loved children
and storybooks
and the craft of illustration.

A book festival can be an inadequate space,
sitting for hours
no sales in sight
pondering imposter syndrome.

Yet on this April day
I dropped my sweater,
tossed my discomfort to sunshine
and a circle of writers
who fed my soul
and warmed my shoulders–
no sweater needed.

Margaret Simon, draft

Progressive Poem is with Mary Lee today.

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Last week I took my students out to the playground to find photos. I wrote about the activity yesterday. I was surprised by the variety and interest their photos generated. Without any direction, Adelyn straddled the drainage and folded herself in half and took this photo upside down. When I asked if I could use her photo for the poetry prompt, she said, “Be sure to give me credit.” Of course. She wrote this equation poem: Investigation = question + adventure.

Now it’s your turn. What do you see? Write a small poem in the comments. Support other writers with your comments.

Follow your curiosity.
Landing among the stones,
Explore a mystery.

Margaret Simon, draft

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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.

Following other teacher-bloggers can lead to new ideas for classroom activities. Recently I read Kim Douillard’s posts about using photography with her students. She graciously sent me a slide show to teach students about three photography techniques, bug’s eye view, bird’s eye view, and rule of thirds. My students caught on to these ideas with ease and were anxious to get outside to try them out. Our beautiful spring weather was a wonderful collaborator.

Following our playground photo sessions, my students used the editing tools on the Chromebooks. Kim had led her students to write equation poems with their photographs. I shared Laura Purdie Salas’s equation poems. I directed my students to use Canva to display their photos and equation poems. Here are a few student photos.

Sunlight + Trees = Painting by Jaden, 6th grade
Ripple = Air + Net by Chloe, 6th grade

The creative teacher in me wants to find more opportunities to practice photography and language. In fact, I think I’ll use one of their images for a poem prompt tomorrow. Stay tuned.

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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.

Quote-of-the-day from Matthew, age 11, in 365 Days of Wonder:

This precept gave me the opportunity to teach about simile. Avalyn understood immediately and created her own simile. When the syllable count emerged as 5, then 7, I saw a haiku in the making. Avalyn completed it with a dazzling 5-syllable line.

Hope is the rainbow
sparkling in the sunshine rain
dazzling air with Joy!

Avalyn, 2nd grade

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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 teach different groups of gifted kids, so I try to find ways to connect us. One of those is by blogging. Each week my students write a Slice of Life and comment on each other’s blog posts on Fanschool (formerly Kidblog).

Another collaborative project is our daily quote of the day. We often pull quotes from the 365 Days of Wonder, a companion to the book Wonder by R.J. Polacio. My first student of the day begins the Jamboard. We recently got the use of a Promethean, so she pulls it up on the board and taps out the words with the pen. Together we choose a background image. And throughout the day, each student adds a personal response to the quote. Their response also goes in their notebook as a creative notebook page they can decorate for themselves.

I love this little ritual for a few reasons. One, it gets us talking first thing, analyzing the quote, thinking about what it means, and sharing our responses. But I also love how my students are influenced by the positive message in the quote. They are just happier when we do this. And that makes me happy, too.

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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.

My mind has been on hearts and monarchs. For Valentine’s Day, I gave each of my students a small canvas to create a heart-inspired art piece. We looked at Pinterest images and got inspired. They enjoyed spending time focused on design and playing with paint.

Heart art by Jaden

In my email inbox, the Poetry Foundation Poem-of-the-Day was a concrete poem in the shape of half of a heart. I used the idea to create a poem for Laura Shovan’s poetry challenge. It was a challenge. I managed to make the shape, but I’m not sure if I managed a cohesive poem.

Margaret Simon, draft 2022

I came home to find four monarchs hanging out in my butterfly enclosure. Such beautiful creatures. I am worried, though, because we are still having cold temperatures. I released two of them in the afternoon 60 degrees. Today the temps will climb to 70, so I’ll release the other two.

Three monarchs
Released male monarch on fern

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