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Poetry Friday round-up is with Carol at Carol’s Corner.

Spring is in full swing and weeds are choking the ground.  When we discussed service projects we could do for this quarter, Landon brought up the garden.  He is in the garden club, so he knows it needs some loving care.

I suggested Thursdays. 30 minutes. Keep it a secret.

When Thursday came, the sun was high in the sky with a slight breeze and the perfect temperature to be outside.  The kids didn’t forget.

Landon showed us the stash of gloves and tools, and we went to work on a small patch of weeds.

I was surprised at how excited they were to get down and dirty.  Kaia said, “I have a poem.”  We had also talked about writing secret poems for poetry month and placing them in the garden.

We hadn’t brought our notebooks (note to self for next week), but I had my phone, so I opened Notes and captured her poem.  Jayden laughed when she got the chance to star in our poem.

We are the secret gardeners.
We don’t make a sound.
We are digging weeds
Right out of the ground.

We are pulling and pulling.
Watch out for the bees.
What a charming day!
Jayden’s about to sneeze.
Aaaaah…..Choo!

by Kaia, 3rd grade

Bouquet of flowers from the garden.

Poetry Month is just around the corner. My NPM19 Poem A Day project is Playing With Poetry. I am joining Jone MacCulloch and Mary Lee Hahn. We will be playing with Haikubes, Magnetic Poetry, Metaphor Dice, and Paint Chip Poetry.  Join in if you’d like! We can use the Twitter hashtag #playwithpoetryNPM to find and support each other.

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See more posts at Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life

“You created a group of kids who advocate for themselves.” My supervisor called me on my way to school.

“I didn’t create them.  They came to me like that. I just encouraged it.”

“Yes, but so often that spirit is crushed by teachers.”

B. called me to tell me good news.  That’s the kind of supervisor she is.  A group of gifted seventh graders had summoned her to come to answer questions they have about their next steps in math.  It’s a pivotal decision that will put them on a certain math track.

These were my kids in 6th grade.  One of them was in my class from 1st through 6th.  They are my heart.  I’ve come to understand how to best respond to these moments of affirmation.  I just say, “Thanks.”

On deeper reflection, however, I think back to how these kids were with me during a vulnerable time.  Their education involved very little choice.  They often came to my class frustrated over one constraint or another.  What I gave them in the safe space of our gifted classroom was freedom.  They could be themselves.  They had choice over what they read, what they wrote, and who they wanted to be.  Acceptance and love permeated the room.

I miss these kids.  They stretched me to be the best teacher I could be.  They trusted me as I trusted them.  They taught me to embrace them as unique individuals, to respect each one’s dignity and voice.  They demanded it.  We made a difference together.  I’m happy to know their wings are soaring.

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Bach Google Doodle screen shot

Did you see the Google doodle on Thursday and Friday?  To celebrate Johann Sebastian Bach’s birthday, Google had an app for writing music.

I come from a musical background.  My mother has her masters in piano and taught lessons for many years.  My brother got the talent in his fingers and still makes a living as a professional musician.

Me? I gave up piano after high school, but I can still read music and sing in the church choir.  But I’ve never written music before. That is, until Thursday.

In my last group of students, Madison and I played around with the doodle and discovered we could save a link and return to the song we created.  Of course, we also had to write words to go with our songs, all of which proved to be harder than you would think.

I introduced this idea to my first group on Friday morning.  We had to borrow headphones from the computer lab because all that composing going on in one room was enough to drive you crazy.

I was fascinated by how challenging this was for my kids.  They spent at least an hour on it and would have gone longer, but it was a gorgeous spring day, so I shooed them out for recess.

Here is a link to a tune I created for the words “When I sing this lovely song, I feel a sense of pride.

My students posted theirs on our kidblog site here. 

Who would think that you could build a whole class activity around a Google Doodle? Technology never ceases to amaze me.

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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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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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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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