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See more posts at Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life

Poetry Friday round-up is with Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe

“Today is Pi Day,” My husband greeted me Thursday morning.

“Oh, no!  I forgot.  I always like to do something for Pi Day.”

“I know that. That’s why I’m telling you.”

So once again, flying by the seat of my 31 years of experience, I opened up our class time together with “Guess what today is?”

Some kids knew, but didn’t know why.  I wrote on the board, “Pie Day or Pi Day?”

We discussed the meaning of Pi, the irrational number 3.14 and so on, and the relationship between diameter and circumference of a circle.

Then we got to the fun part.  Each student chose a piece of colored paper, and we brainstormed ways to make a perfect circle.  Then the hunt for possible patterns- the pencil cup, my coffee cup, the lid of a game.  Kaia suggested using a paper clip.  If I had once known how to draw a circle with a paper clip, I had forgotten.

Place a pencil inside one end of a large paper clip. Hold the pencil point in place on this sheet of paper. Place another pencil inside the other end of the paper clip. Ask your helper to hold your paper still while you draw a circle by moving the second pencil.

I asked the students to use their imagination to create something with the circle and use it as the topic for their Pi-Ku.  A Pi-ku takes on the syllable count of Pi, 3.14159….

While we didn’t produce great poetry, we did have a good time playing with circles, wacky drawings, and syllable counts.

I combined this activity with the daily poetry prompt in Laura Shovan’s poetry project.  The prompt for Thursday was honey.

Bumblebee
You’re
My honey sweet
Tea
Pouring all you have
Into joy-light for my morning cup.
3.14159

Karson’s elephant Pi-Ku:

Elephant
eats
cabbage and trees.

Karson, 4th grade

Jump! You feel
light.
You hear music,
a
bird. You think nothing lives
here
Tweet, a moon bird singing is soothing.
by Landon, 5th grade

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See more posts at Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life

Happy Book Birthday to In the Middle of the Night by Laura Purdie Salas!

I met Laura a few years ago at NCTE and have followed her ever since.  She is gentle, kind, and generous, everything a children’s poet should be.  I am inspired by her every week on her blog.  On Thursdays she posts an image with an invitation to write a 15 words or less poem. It’s a great space to show up in each week to read other poems and interact with the children’s poetry online community.

Laura is also a pretty awesome presenter.  In November, 2018, we presented together on a panel at NCTE, Writing Poetry in the Wild.  Here’s a link to the slides.

In her presentation, Laura encouraged us to look around and write about what we see.  Well, that’s not exactly what she did to write this latest book.  In the Middle of the Night requires more than just observation; it requires an imagination.  The poems are all written in the point of view of some object doing something during the night.

Twenty-six poems share the wild adventures that toys, food, and other household objects have at night while you sleep. Everything from stuffed animals to clothing to writing utensils comes to life under the cover of night. An overdue library book searches for the perfect place to hide. A paper clip skydives with a tissue parachute. A fruit snack unrolls to create a tricky racetrack for toy cars. Come sneak away for some moonlit adventures!

In my class, I wanted my students to experience this fun idea and Laura’s poetry. From the Table of Contents, my students selected a few poems they wanted to hear. I always start with “What do you notice?”  They noticed that the poems were written in first person (Cha-Ching! for that concept), and I reminded them that they are called mask poems.  They noticed rhyming and rhythm patterns.  With a little more prodding, they found alliteration and imagery.

In addition to working on close reading skills with poetry, we stretched our writing muscles.  We used this activity sheet from Laura to write our own poems.

Laura has a Padlet for contributors’ poems here. We placed links on the Padlet to our Kidblog site.  If you have a minute, stop by and place comments for my kids.

Made with Padlet

Click here to go to Laura’s web page.

Monday, 3/11           Mile High Reading

Tuesday, 3/12           Reflections on the Teche

Wednesday, 3/13    Poetrepository

Thursday, 3/14        Check It Out

Friday, 3/15              Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme

Sunday, 3/17             Great Kid Books

Monday, 3/18           Simply 7 Interview/Jena Benton blog

Tuesday, 3/19          My Juicy Little Universe

Wednesday, 3/20   Live Your Poem

Thursday, 3/21         Reading to the Core

Friday, 3/22              KidLit Frenzy

                                    Beyond Literacy Link

In the Middle of the Night: Poems from a Wide-Awake House Author: Laura Purdie Salas
Illustrator: Angela Matteson
Publisher: Wordsong (3/12/19)
ISBN: 978-1620916308

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge

I am participating in a book study called “A Course in Miracles.” It is quite an amazing journey of meditations that lead to self-awareness and ultimately to inner peace.  Each day there is a new mantra.  One of the mantras for this week was “God is the love in which I forgive myself.”  I was drawn to creating a golden shovel poem and used Canva.com to design the graphic.

In my classroom, we have been using the golden shovel form to respond to quotes.  Invented by Nikki Grimes, a golden shovel form begins with writing the words of the quote down the right hand margin of the page.  Then you write a poem around the words, incorporating the quote into the poem.  On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day I wrote one together with Jayden around this quote, “The time is always right to do what is right.”

When someone knows the
right thing but time
goes too fast, and is
never around long enough, always
do what’s right
even when it’s hard to.
No matter what you do
Listen to what
your heart
knows is
right.

The golden shovel form is a way to honor the words of another while making them your own. Next time you read an inspiring quote, try to write a poem around it.

 

 

 

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See more posts at Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life .

 

On Valentine’s Day last Thursday, I challenged my students to write a love poem without using the word love.  On Facebook I had read Charles Ghinga’s poem for his wife Debra.  I used it as a mentor text.

YOU ARE THE MOON

(for Debra)

You are the moon.
My only one.

You bring light
Where there was none.

©Charles Ghigna

After we read this poem, we brainstormed a list of things in nature that could serve as a metaphor as moon does in Charles’ poem.  I pushed my students to be specific.  Some of the more interesting things they listed:

sunflower
lily pads
stars
swans
sea eagle
grass
northern lights

Page of word groups from Writing Poetry From the Inside Out by Sandford Lyne.

 

I used a poetry resource by Sandford Lyne called Writing Poetry from the Inside Out. In this book, Sandy writes about “Poem Sketching” with word groups.  The back is full of pages of word groups.  I photocopied one of these pages to give to my students.  Each student chose a word group to write from.

Magic happened.  Was it writing about love without using the word? the model poem from Charles? the word groups from Sandy? or the magic that happens when writing in a safe community?

We cut out construction paper hearts and wrote our poems on them to give to someone special.  I gave mine to Madison because I used a quote of hers.  Chloe gave hers to me, probably because I loved it.  And Madison gave hers to Chloe.  Poetry gifts from the heart.

Love poem gift from Chloe glued into my notebook.

You can read more poems on our kidblog site. 

Journey They Will Take

Two dolphins
under the sea
two deer
in the woods
and
the northern lights
watching
the four animals
coming together
On the journey they
will take.

Chloe, 3rd grade

I think your feelings for me

are a midnight walk

where it’s easy to get lost.

My feelings for you are as bright as stars

when I’m alone.

I’m a neighborhood of sadness,

a pool of cries,

an ocean of regret.

Our feelings are as wild as animals.
by Jayden, 5th grade

My poem for Madison:

She says, “Did you know the sea eagle
has a wingspan of eight feet?”
I write it down in my notebook
realizing that her knowledge
opens the surface
of our classroom
like the blossom of a tulip.
Digging into depths
of learning
makes everyday
as fascinating
as the sea eagle.

–Margaret Simon

 

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Laura Purdie Salas this week.

 

Have you gotten a set of metaphor dice yet?  Here’s a link to them on Amazon. 

I’ve been playing with metaphor dice and the skinny poem form.  To make a skinny poem, roll the dice to find your first statement.

I got “Love is a silent blessing.”  This becomes line one.  Lines 2, 6, and 10 are all the same word.  Other lines are only one word long.  Line 11 repeats the same words as line 1.  Confused?  Try numbering your paper from 1-11.  Write your metaphor phrase in line one.  Choose a simple word for line 2, 6, and 10.  Fill in the rest.

Love is a silent blessing
a
whisper
touch
smile
a
soft
unspoken
wink
a
silent love blessing.

Here are a few student skinnies:

Beauty is a glorified dance
a
midnight
shining
flower
a
gentle
soft
breeze
a
beautiful dance glorified.

by Landon, 5th grade

 

 

The past is a broken wonder
an
old
broken
tree
an
unbelievable
impossible
mistake
an
incredible, broken, wonder
by Daniel, 4th grade

 

We also wrote bug-ku this week inspired by Susan Bruck on her site last week. Check out all student poems on our kidblog site.

 

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See more posts at Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life .

 

Last week I collaborated with artist Marla Kristicevich on a workshop for teachers designed around poetry and art collage.  The workshop was part of the Arts in Education professional development series held at the Acadiana Center for the Arts.

After I presented about finding elements of poetry in my poem “I am a Beckoning Brown Bayou,” Marla shared how she had taken words from 3 different poems from my book Bayou Song, and circled words that represented an element of art.  She then created a magazine collage to reflect those words and images.  While Marla’s complete presentation was in a PowerPoint slide show, the part that touched me were the amazing and beautiful collages she had created from my words.

Marla’s collage from interpreting the poem There is Always.

We had 12 dedicated teachers attend, and they enjoyed the time to sit and create with materials from magazines, painted paper, and other scraps.  The collages were varied and lent new meaning to the poems we worked with.

Then I led the teachers in writing their own poem by gathering new words from their own collages and selecting a form to use.  My hope is these teachers will take what they learned, their joy of playing with words and art, and bring it into their classrooms, but more than that, my poet’s heart was touched by the way my poems from Bayou Song led to more poems.

Collage from “There is Always” by Cissy Whipp.

 

Cissy’s Poem

Dance/Nature Triptych

I.

My dance is in the way
the leaves calmly curl and crinkle
under my feet.

II.

My dance is in the water
rippling, rising, rushing
around my ankles.

 III.

My dance is in the place
between land and water –
the muddy, mysterious marsh.

 

Finding the poem inside.

 

Kay chose the I Am form to use when her collage revealed things about herself.

Kay’s collage from the poem There is Always.

Hands Up High

Kay Couvillon

I am fiery red in summer beach walks,
I become lavender peaceful
with restorative yoga.

I hold my
hands up high
to the lights of
love, trust, dance, and
cold beer.

I am an
E. Broussard eagle
in awe of the
bald eagle’s nest.

I sway in the
wind of the leaves after
hibernating when I feel like
torn cardboard.

I love red, pink, and scented
geraniums in clay pots from
Mother Earth.

 

 

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I enjoy learning from other teacher-writers who post on Slice of Life as well as on Poetry Friday.  That’s how I met Molly Hogan.  She blogs at Nix the Comfort Zone.   A few Fridays ago she posted a beautiful original I Am poem.  Her ideas for this poem came from poemcrazy by Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge, which is a book I have and value “freeing your life with words.” (Only $3.99 at Abe Books)

When I read Molly’s poem, I decided immediately to use it as a mentor text for my students.  We read the poem and noticed so many metaphors.  Using colored pens to underline the poetic devices, one of my students said, “This is a very colorful poem,” and she meant that literally.

I am granite grey
plain Jane, sturdy and dependable
but sometimes sunlight shoots across my surface
igniting flecks of mica and quartz
into quick showers of sparkles
here, then gone (Read the rest of the poem here.)

Following our reading and noticing and discussing, I asked my students to turn to a clean page and draw circles.  Oh, about 5-7 circles will do.  Then we read the poem again.  In the first part, she says “I am granite grey.”  What is granite grey? A color. Label one circle with color.

As we traveled through the mentor text, we filled in more circles: shape, tree, word, animal, nature, etc. We even made a split circle of inside and out.

During sacred writing time (10 minutes on the Zen Timer app), we filled in the circles with our own ideas and wrote a draft of our own poems.

I know that metaphor is a high-level concept that can take years for younger students to fully grasp, but I dare say that my students got it.  Their poems were long and beautiful.  Having this amazing mentor text helped greatly.  Thanks, Molly, for your inspiration.

Here’s a link to our kidblog site.  Please read and leave comments.  My students feel such pride when you do.  Thanks!

I Am…

I am pink,
chapped and worn,
supple and soft.

I stand on the base of a triangle,
stable, reasonable,
striving for perfection.

In my mind, I criticize–
a checklist of do’s and don’ts
a chapter of why I can’t be.

I am not like the oak
confident in its old age;
I am more of a willow,
seeking, bending in the breeze,
greening in spring.

I search for kind
in your eyes,
your song,
your words.

I do not hunt like the hawk;
I wait and watch like the heron
stepping carefully through the muck.

I am a magnolia blossom
open, fragrant but
easily bruised and brown.

Be soft with me.

(draft) Margaret Simon

 

From Wikimedia Commons

 

 

 

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