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Poetry Friday posts are with Irene at Live Your Poem

Last week, my friend, poet, blogger, writing partner Linda Mitchell posted her found haiku along with the inspirational poem Letter in October by Ted Kooser.  See her post here.  I took it all to create a lesson for my students.  After study of and talk about Ted Kooser’s poem, I shared Linda’s haiku and talked about how these haiku could stand separate from the original poem.  I challenged my students to try finding haiku.

Madison created this lovely poem, but first she gave the form a name “re-ku” as in recycled haiku.

A late light dawning
finding a world of darkness.
Silhouettes of the

lost leaves, soaring
on a draft. They have lost
their way. I watch the

darkness, sipping tea.
The night has wrapped the light, sowing
reflections ‘cross
my window. Watch.

Madison, 4th grade

Free image

I’m fascinated by the rhythm and repetition that Noah used to create his artistic expression of A Letter in December.

The icy water
a letter in December
Sowing reflections

The icy writing
a letter in December
in the window pane

The icy fingers
a letter in December
wrapped around the hearth

The icy shingles
a letter in December
frozen in its place.

–Noah, 6th grade

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Poetry Friday posts with Violet who is celebrating Canada’s Thanksgiving.

 

There are only a few signs that October is here.  The temperatures are still quite warm, but on my morning walks, the sun does not peek over the horizon until I am close to home.  The bald cypress trees in our backyard are turning brown.  And the grass is growing slower, so my mower (dear husband) can spread out the weeks between mows.

In the classroom, when the calendar changes, attention turns to the end of the month.  You know the day, Halloween!

I have subscribed to the Academy of American Poets newsletter “Teach this Poem.”  The lessons are just right for my gifted students. From this site, I introduced Robert Frost’s poem October this week.   We discussed the poem, the rhyme scheme, imagery, and new vocabulary.  We talked about odes and how an ode is like a praise poem to something ordinary.  Then we wrote our own poems, stealing words and ideas from Robert Frost.

I tried a golden shovel with my favorite line, “Enchant the land with amethyst. Slow! Slow!”

O, autumn, your winds Enchant
birds into song, the
sugarcane drapes the land
in swaying soldiers with
suits of green-gold amethyst
Step, step Slow!
Swish, swish, Slow!
Marching to harvest all.

–Margaret Simon, after Robert Frost “October”

Lani, a 6th grader, took a line from Robert Frost and built her own poem around it.

How do you know when fall is here?
When the leaves from towering branches
that loom over us fall into colorful
browngreen leaf piles to plunge into until
twilight makes its unveiling.

When you don’t have to set your
alarm-instead being woken by
The crows above the forests call.

When football starts and your bedtime
changes to fit the Monday, Tuesday,
Thursday, and Sunday games.

When you can wear a sweater
outside and cold fronts become
more persistent.

When the flu sets in and
the doctor is occupied.

When fuzzy socks come out of
the dark hole called
your sock drawer.

When summer clothes
go to Goodwill.

When you stuff your face
on Thanksgiving.

When the days are shorter and
the sunsets more memorable.

When you grieve when it’s over.

Lani, 6th grade

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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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Find more celebration posts at Ruth’s blog.

Dawson is new to gifted classes, but he is not new to helping others.  I found out on Friday that he had a bake sale on Thursday to benefit a local diner.  I asked him to tell me all about it.  We talked about the efforts that went into the process, talking with the principal, advertising, and making all the treats.  His goal was $50.  Selling each treat for 50 cents takes a while to reach $50, but he was determined.

He wrote this on his Kidblog post:

I’m so excited I can’t wait till I get to see the happy looks on the homeless people’s faces! I just can’t wait. By the time the 4th, 5th, and 6th graders come, I will have no more food. Some of the comments they gave me were ” Delicious brownies Dawson”, and ” Wow, great cookies Dawson”.

When Dawson finished his post, I asked him what else he was passionate about.  Without hesitation, he said “Reading.”  He had figured out a way to get all his AR points by reading every night before bed.  He also learned that reading before you go to sleep actually creates melatonin and helps you sleep better.  Did I mention that Dawson is in 4th grade?

As a teacher of gifted kids, I am used to being blown away every day.  They can say the most amazing things.  But Dawson’s only been in my class for 2 weeks, and already he is showing the kind of leadership I can work years to instill in my students. I couldn’t help myself; I had to egg him on.

In the end, he created this public service announcement that we recorded and emailed to all the teachers.  What a joy!

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

 

There’s no denying that this has been a difficult start to a new year of teaching. I’ve been faced with a number of new directives, new policies and new students. I have felt like I would never quite get my feet on the ground.

I started this week with teaching the Book, Head, Heart framework from Disrupting Thinking by Kylene Beers and Bob Probst. (Christina Noseck was interviewed by Scholastic and quoted in this article about the framework.) While I was discussing the Heart part of reviewing a book, I made a mental connection. Here I’ve been overwhelmed and quite ranty if you’ve been within earshot lately, but what is the heart of my call to teaching?…the kids.

I looked at my group of students all attentive and ready to learn and realized that none of that other stuff matters all that much. Not as much as this: The heart of my teaching is connecting to the heart of a child. This is going to be a great year all because of the hearts I have the privilege of spending time nurturing.

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Poetry Friday posts are with Kay at A Journey through the Pages.

Monday, August 21st is the day. Here in South Louisiana we will get about 72% of the total eclipse. On this site, you can put in your zip code to see what time is best for viewing and how much you will see.

Kelly Gallagher sent out this article of the week for students to read closely.

NASA is full of interesting information.  I even found a lesson for my students here that I adapted for younger kids.

On Facebook for Laura Shovan’s 10 words project, Jone MacCulloch posted this:

My students enjoy writing poems about science.  This 10-word prompt worked well for those kids who don’t know what to write when given a more open topic.  By doing this activity, we discussed words we didn’t know and then used them in a poem.  What better way to incorporate science topics, vocabulary, and reading comprehension?  Poetry does it all!

Solar Eclipse

As the sky turns obscure

the shadow will reveal the corona.

The eclipse will collect luminosity

as if it is understanding

that it is interconnected

with the universe.

By now the Solar eclipse should be charged

since the last random appearance.

–Faith, 6th grade

I drafted a poem alongside my students.  Mine is not about the solar eclipse, but an eclipse of another kind.

Cicadas Sing to the Sun

Charged with luminosity,
cicada songs rise in a corona of sound.

My shadow follows their lead,
not to understanding, but
to hope.

When hearts are eclipsed
by misunderstanding,
we forget
our interconnected stories–
yours, mine, ours,
theirs, too.

Obscurity reveals our vulnerability.

When we are too close to the edge
of possibility, one step forward
can change everything.

Be careful where you step.

–Margaret Simon

 

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Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

 

I know “pantser” isn’t a real word.  It’s derived from the phrase, “flying by the seat of your pants.”  I’ve seen this term used in reference to writing style, “Do you plot or pants?”

This tweet from Ralph Fletcher during the Two Writing Teachers Twitter chat jump-started my thinking about this idea.

I started thinking about my first week of teaching and how often I veered off the plan. Pantsing it is where I find my creative teacher self. It’s when my students tend to respond more authentically.

I understand the purpose of planning, and I am certainly capable of falling into a planning zone when I’m writing my lesson plans for the week. I research to find the resources I may need to use. I write out an outline of this, this, then this. But once the day starts and there are real live children sitting in front of me, I begin to fly by the seat of my pants.

Actually I like the phrase, “Go with the Flow” better. As a teacher, my calling is to respond to the needs of my students, or to the creative flow they direct.

This is a silly example: I bought a chair at Goodwill that had an exercise ball in it. I spray painted the black plastic part orange. I brought it to my classroom. When we had writing workshop and were ready to share, the students brought out the ball chair to sit on. I said, “This is our new author’s chair” like that was my plan all along. The kids called it a snail. I said, “Author’s snail” which became “Arthur the author’s snail.”

I wanted to have a soft start to the day this year. This is the kind of thing that if you don’t start on day one and continue, it won’t happen. The planner in me put on some quiet music (I had carefully selected and downloaded it to my phone), and we all read silently for 20 minutes. I read, too, which felt like a joyful rest from the rush of getting to school.

Then my pantser self kicked in, but only because I had read Dynamic Teaching by Vicki Vinton this summer. Following the quiet reading session, I asked my students to take some time to write about what they knew so far and what they were wondering about. Then to turn and talk to their neighbor about the book they were reading. This started meaningful conversations about books that have continued all week.

Being a pantser comes with experience. I have lots of strategies in my tool bag just waiting for the right time to be used. I think it’s time for me to stop feeling guilty when I run off the lesson plan. Actually, I want to embrace my pantser self and bring her out more often. That’s when the real teaching happens.

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