Posts Tagged ‘acrostic poetry’

Poetry Friday is hosted today by Carol at Beyond Literacy Link

I feel like I chose the wrong One Little Word this year. I’ve grappled with it since I decided. What is the purpose of a One Little Word? Is it a guide or an affirmation? Should you pursue it or let it comfort you?

Every day I choose a quote-of-the-day to post on a Jamboard for my students to write a response to. Lately, I’ve allowed the students themselves to take over this routine. I have a few quote books that they use. We select a photo background and use the text box or sticky note feature to write in. One of the quotes this week was this one. Avalyn chose a background to this Mark Twain quote that was both day and night. It made me think about my OLW: Purpose.

I decided to play around with an acrostic form using Purpose. And this poem emerged:

Until you
Purpose is
Step at a time
Every day.

Voila! Poetry led me to the answer I had been searching for all along. Life is a journey. There is no destination. It’s a constant discovery day by day. I cannot choose a word like Purpose and magically feel satisfied with myself. It is a word that I will search for the rest of my life. Unlike Mark Twain’s idea that there is a day when you will discover why you were born, I’ve come to the realization that why you were born is a daily march. It’s what we do. And every once in a while, someone or something will knock you off the path and that’s when you need a different word: Grace.

These days I need Grace more than Purpose. I need to let myself feel what I feel, but not get attached to those feelings. Not let the feelings define me. I received this message from EnneaThought of the Day:

Remember that your cognitive error is to identify with your changing feelings and emotional states, especially negative ones. Since your feelings constantly change, your identity does as well, undermining many of your psychological needs. Notice this tendency in your thinking today.

EnneaThought of the Day,

I’m going to keep Purpose around for a little while longer. It’s only February, but I’m hoping to relax a little and let time do the telling. Maybe another more appropriate, more calming word will emerge.

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Welcome to This Photo Wants to be a Poem. Respond to the photo collage with a small poem in the comments. Encourage other writers with comments.

I don’t know much about spiders, but orb spiders are out and about doing their thing and making amazing intricate webs. I took the first picture from my front courtyard. The web was huge and glimmering in the sunlight. I couldn’t really capture it with a phone camera. If you look closely, you can see the big black spider in the center.

On my Instagram feed I saw Paul Hankin’s photo of a similar style web. His caption read, “What might you create in your own little corner?”

In my classroom, we are answering “This or That” questions for attendance these days. So I put these images side by side and ask you this or that? Are you the type to hide your masterpiece in a corner, under and away from others who may harm it or misunderstand? Or do you place your art where everyone can see it, if only they stop long enough to notice?

Create a small poem around your thoughts today. Share it in the comments. Return, if you can, to leave encouraging comments to other writers.

Weaving in my own corner
Ever-winding path
Behold a work in progress

Margaret Simon, draft

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This National Poetry Month button was created by my student Lani. If your students are writing a poem-a-day, you are welcome to use this button. My students are posting their poems here.

My Sunday poem came to me during the shower. Because I couldn’t write it down or record it, I kept saying it over and over, like a musical refrain. Then I wrote it on a sticky note. I was thinking about how the clouds seem to be dancers passing each other in the sky. Sometimes poems come whole, and all I have to do is write them down.

On Monday, after my morning walk, I noticed closed blossoms in the flower bed. Such a pleasant surprise. I know they will open up once the sun comes out, so I thought of the word expectant. Since it was our first day of ABCs of poetry in my class, we were writing acrostics today. I found a student interactive on Read, Write, Think.
My student Lynzee helped me write this poem. I wanted to use the word radiant, but it didn’t fit with the letters. We put radiant into the online thesaurus and found emanating.

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Laura Shovan is a poet who shares the love. For her birthday month, February, she commits to writing poems every day and shares the experience with anyone who dares to jump in to the party. Read her introduction to the project here.

I have joined in her project every year and find the experience challenging, inspiring, and enriching. I don’t know if I get better at writing poems, but I know for sure that this is a welcoming and passionate-about-poetry group. I am honored to host today.

In preparation for this month of writing, Laura called for images of found objects. I sent her this image of lotus seed pods I picked up out of the swamp on a winter canoe trip. They sit in a pottery piece that is also reminiscent of nature.

lotus pods

Diane Mayr was considering skipping today. And that very thought made her write a skippy poem. You never know where the muse may hide. I love the rhythm of the flower names and of course, the final truth.

Mama Planted a Garden
(a skipping rhyme)

Mama planted a garden,
but it came up weeds.
Oh, my silly Mama!
You planted the wrong seeds.

No, my little Missy,
they were the right ones.
A flower to a father
may be a weed to the son!

Buttercup, aster, and bergamot.
Maiden pink, dandelion, forget-me-not.

Columbine, bunchberry, periwinkle.
Violet, lady slipper, honeysuckle.

Always remember this,
my little daughter:
one person’s weed
is another one’s flower!
–Diane Mayr

Patricia VanAmburg did some research on lotus pods and found out there is a disease, Trypophobia—fear of holes. So she wrote a rather empty poem about that feeling of empty nest, one I know all too well.


Of what use this pod
Without her seeds
Temporary filler for
More fruitful flowers
But every life
Returns to earth
Fragile as the cradle
In an attic corner
Brittle as mother’s ribs
After every baby has gone
–Patricia VanAmburg

Jessica Bigi sent an image of a lotus flower while she takes us back to ancient rituals.

Photo and poem by Jessica Bigi, all rights reserved.

Photo and poem by Jessica Bigi, all rights reserved.

Carol Varsalona is cross-posting her poems on her blog. I love how she is digitally playing with the image as well. I imagine sitting with Carol enjoying a warm cup of coffee and the quiet.

A Hushed Quiet

As I sit by the window,
the morning sun
drifts on in,
singing the praises
of yet another day.
A zen-like quality emerges.
Rays bouncing from
winter white blankets
bring outdoors in.
A hushed quiet
envelops the room.
In a corner,
upon a mat of bamboo,
cut-open pods of grace
in triad formation
adorn a desk
of muted colors.
Indoor life merges
with outdoor sights
in a seasonal burst,
reminding me that
new life is waiting
in an early spring.

©Carol Varsalona, 2016

Violet also did her research on Trypophobia and wrote an erasure poem from an article on Mental Floss.  Who knew?  I certainly did not.  Thanks for the learning as well as the poetry.


skin crawls, heart flutters
shoulders tighten, I shiver
crazy revulsion to holes, bumps
images of holes, parasites
bot flies, worms, ravages of disease
pregnant suriname toad
lotus seed head
give people trypophobic
heebie jeebies
soap bubbles trigger

~ Violet Nesdoly

Heidi Mordhorst digs into the earth to consider how an anthropologist looks at things.

Day 10

once thought to be
an elaborately carved musical
instrument used
only on the wedding day
of a woman born under
the eleventh moon

it is now understood to be
a deliberately culled muscular
implement used
only on the winding way
of a man burned under
the oppressive soon

context is everything

Here’s another from Heidi. This one is a child’s wonderment at the things of this world.

Making Sense

First it’s something to see–
almost black among the greens and yellows,
scalloped around the edges like
crayon clouds or flowers,
clouds full of black hailstones–
or it’s a leopard-skin jellyfish.

Next it’s something to hold–
not weighty like a microphone
or a metal shower head,
but light and hollow, not plastic
and not wood, part smooth
and part ridged and rumpled.

Now it’s something to hear–
take it by the curving handle oh!
is that a stem? and shake, shake
shake–those blackish beads or
beans or oh! they’re seeds!
they make a marvelous rattling!

~Heidi Mordhorst 2016
all rights reserved

Donna Smith makes a simple poem reveal a truth of nature.  Love the alliteration, one of my favorite literary devices.  I think Donna is a little bit chilly in Maine, so she has thoughts of overcoats.


Purposefully plopping pondward
Out of open overcoat
Drooping, dropping down
Swamped seeds settle, silently sprout.

©2016, Donna JT Smith, all rights reserved


And Mary Lee chimes in with this little ditty.  She is a master at metaphor.

Day 10

when your plate is full —
seed ideas lined up in rows —
give thanks for fulsome seasons

–Mary Lee Hahn


Linda Baie finds the music in the lotus pod, the sound that remains after the blooming is done.  Is this a metaphor for life?

A Lotus Life

I remember that delicate blossom;
You burst with all life’s colors,
and the minutes moved,
the days passed.
More beyond the hues emerged.
You nourished;
we were thankful.
You gave all you were able.
At the end, the music remained,
only the music displayed.
It was enough.
Linda Baie ©All Rights Reserved



To write my own poem, I turned to form and tried out a Bio-poem. Laura Purdie Salas used this form with 3rd graders this week. See her post here.

mystical, pure, beauty, enlightened
Daughter of Bodhi
Lover of muddy water, sun, and spring
Who feels spiritual, open to the light
Who gives wisdom, joy, and peace
Who fears storms, drowning, neglect
Who would like to see the ocean (Is it as blue as me?),
tomorrow (My life is fleeting.),
and world peace (Doesn’t everyone wish for world peace?)
Who lives in Atchafalaya Swamp
Who knows noble truths
Lily of the Mud.
–Margaret Simon

And here is Laura with another of my favorite forms, a Fib poem. Read more about Fib poems here.

Lotus Pod Fibonacci
By Laura Shovan

pods shake
rattle, roll.
Seeds fly. We stomp them
into the ground, part of the dance.

Molly Hogan was flying under the radar with her first attempt at haiku. This challenge is pushing us all to find what form fits best.

Day 10 –My first attempt at haiku.

Autumn maracas
Invite you to merengue
Shake a leg, baby!
–Molly Hogan

Catherine Flynn found the lyrics to the life cycle of a lotus at the New York Botanical Garden.

Photo and poem by Catherine Flynn, all rights reserved.

Photo and poem by Catherine Flynn, all rights reserved.

Buffy Silverman offers another haiku, which is the ultimate nature poetic form. Hard to capture a moment in few syllables.

dried lotus pods
shriveled and moored in mud
cradle tomorrow
–Buffy Silverman

What’s a poetry parade without Charles Waters? He bounced in with this sunshine.

Fuchsia covered buds
stretch out in praise of morning
revealing their sun-shined heart.

(c) Charles Waters 2016

lotus pods
seed mysteries
three days
of flowering
an open heart

© 2016 Jone Rush MacCulloch all rights reserved

If you have a poem for today’s found object, put it in the comments and I will add it to the post. Thanks again for joining us and for reading all the way through to the end. Mardi Gras ended yesterday, but this is a joyful parade of poems to keep you passin’ a good time!

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Discover. Play. Build.

Ruth Ayres invites us the celebrate each week. Click over to her site Discover. Play. Build. to read more celebrations.

SOL #7

SOL #7

March has come in like a lion, and I have made it through the first week of the Slice of Life Challenge. Time to celebrate!

Some of my students missed Chalkabration last week. So we made winter acrostics. Lani, 3rd grade, says she’s not a poet and yet, she used the word metamorphosized!

Metamorphosized butterfly Arrives vividly Rising Caterpillar High flying. by Lani

Metamorphosized butterfly
Arrives vividly
High flying.
by Lani

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss! This is our brave librarian who dressed up every day this week as one of Dr. Seuss’s characters. We had special days to celebrate, crazy socks, crazy hair, and mismatched.

Cat in Hat

Jacob’s mother teaches across the hall from me. She occasionally texts me things he says. This text is an all time winner! My heart swells!

Text from Erica

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  Join the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge.

Join the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge.

Poetry forms the quality of light within which we predicate our hopes and dreams toward survival and change.
–Audre Lord

PHOSPHORESCENCE. Now there’s a word to lift your hat to… to find that phosphorescence, that light within, that’s the genius behind poetry.
― Emily Dickinson

oak light

My poetry light to my OLW:

Rise to the novelty
Eager for the rising
Arms stretched overhead
Calling for strength
Happy to hold the sunlight.

–Margaret Simon

If you missed DigiLit Sunday, I posted an Emaze presentation you can use with your students to make their own One Little Word resolutions. I presented this on Monday, and my students began working on their word webs and Canva designs. I wanted to share a few with you today.

one special word copy

Julie Johnson wrote about the importance of design. She wrote, “I think some would ask if it’s important to teach our students these skills when they are crafting digital compositions? I believe it is. Our students are composing and consuming texts very differently in today’s world. I believe it’s my responsibility as a teacher of writers to help my students be able to produce thoughtful quality products.” Full post here.

Thinking about Julie’s post, I talked to my students about design. “How can you use design of the image, the color, and the font to communicate what your word means to you?” In Kielan’s image above, she was very thoughtful about her design. She chose the word Merry. Many of the other students were thinking about “Merry Christmas,” so instead of changing her word, she used an image to describe what she meant by the word. She wants us to feel the calm, peaceful beauty of the word Merry.

Emily OLW

I like the way Emily used synonyms for her word, Unique, to express her word.
Reed used a white board to share his word web around his word Light. I love how the design of the word web looks like a light.

Reed's word web

When I was working with a first grader, I showed him how to use Thesaurus.com to make his word web. After we did this together, I realized how much this would help all of my students. So for my afternoon group, I suggested they try it. Put your word into the thesaurus and click. Find another word you like, click it, and so on, until a word web is built around a central word. This led some students to new words they could either select as their OLW or use in a poem. I look forward to seeing more student words. This activity not only gives students an opportunity to set goals and reflect on themselves, it also uses 21st Century Skills, the C’s of Creativity, Critical Thinking, and Communication. Feel free to use the Emaze to work with your own students on OLW.


To make your own images with Canva, click here.

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Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

The Cyberspace Teacher Blogging space is full of Little Words. This is a wonderful tradition that I have been doing for three years. I want to pass this one to my students. I found Tara Smith’s OLW lesson for her 6th graders and put it on an Emaze to use with my students this week. I also used Mary Lee Hahn’s acrostic poem as a model for my students.

http://app.emaze.com/@AOFLCWZL/one-little-wordPowered by emaze

I plan to use this lesson on Monday and have the students Slice about their words on Tuesday at our blog site. You are welcome to use this presentation as well with your own students. Let me know if you do.

I made a Tagxedo with my word using all the synonyms that came up for me. I chose the tree as a symbol because the oak tree was my inspiration for my word.

Reach Tagxedo

I encourage you to try these activities with your students. Please join in the DigiLit round up with your link.

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Join Jama for Poetry Friday at Jama's Alphabet Soup.

Join Jama for Poetry Friday at Jama’s Alphabet Soup.

This week my students and I were wondering about Aerodynamics. I love framing my weeks with so many wonders at Wonderopolis. We learned about jet streams and lift. We watched some cool time-lapsed videos.

Since we were wondering and wandering around in the clouds, I found some cloud poems to share. From The Poetry Friday Anthology for Middle School, I read Racing the Clouds by Jacqueline Jules (p. 45) and Biking Along White Rim Road by Irene Latham (p. 109). From The Poetry Friday Anthology For Science, I read Clouds by Kate Coombs (p. 85) and Tropical Rain Forest Sky Ponds by Margarita Engle. (On a side note, I am thrilled that my students are learning the names of wonderful Poetry Friday poets.)

My students noticed metaphors, personification, onomatopoeia, rhyming, and more. The Poetry Friday anthologies suggested the website Clouds Appreciation Society. (Is there a website for everything?) I pulled up a cloud picture on the board to inspire writing. Even though some of my young students go back to the acrostic form, their writing was richer, emoting more sense of tone, and embedded with metaphor. Models, models, models, teachers. They work!

Coming together
Like a school
Of fish
Under the big blue sky
Disaster, waiting to strike

Couldn’t be better
Laying under the sun
Once it was peaceful, no clouds
Underneath, we are the unsuspecting victims, of the next
Deadly hurricane
(To leave comments for this poet, go to his post.)

In Vannisa’s poem, you will see words and phrases borrowed from the poems we read, mixed together with her words to create a new poem.

Over Afganistan
sunlight is hidden,
for it is somewhat forbidden.
Because this is the clouds,
the round, puffy, white clouds.
The cloud of wish,
the cloud that is as flat as a dish.
They are all lakes in the sky.
Whether it is a flat, small pond,
or a fat navy ocean,
there are no
empty spaces.
–Vannisa (To leave comments for this poet, go to this post.)

Dear Emily was moved to make her poem into an Animoto video. Prepare for tears. Her poem is dedicated to Amy Ludwig VanDerwater. Amy knows why.

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Laura Purdie Salas is hosting today's round up.

Laura Purdie Salas is hosting today’s round up.


I have been thinking lately about what makes magic happen in writing workshop. I’m not sure, but I do know that my students feel like they are writers. This year I have a single third grader in my gifted group. She is pretty capable of doing what all the older kids are doing. But the other day, on a whim, she brought me this poem she had written. She glowed. She was so proud of it. I don’t know where it came from. It was not any prompt we had talked about. She explained to me that it just came to her. Maybe it was a stroke of genius. Or maybe it was a classroom atmosphere of poetry appreciation and writing freedom. Whatever it is and wherever the inspiration came from, I know enough to celebrate this lovely poem today on Poetry Friday.

Red petals flying with the wind.

O such grace dancing through the wind.

Sparkling shimmering as the sun joins you.

Even at night you’re dancing in the moon light.


You can leave comments directly to Erin, aka Pegasus Lover, on our kidblog site.

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Happy National Poetry Month! I have set a goal to write a poem a day for this month. I will also be featuring classroom poets and other fun poetry happenings. I’ll be part of the Progressive Poem, so hit the link on the sidebar to see how the collaborative poem is progressing. Greg at GottaBook is posting a poem a day. Today is a delightful spring poem from Mary Lee Hahn.

As we drove home from Austin yesterday, Easter Day, I enjoyed the blankets of bluebonnets that line the highway between Austin and Bastrop. An acrostic poem is one in which the lines begin with the letters that spell a word, usually the theme of the poem.

Blanket of blue
lines the highway
under a cloudy Texas sky.
Every pod pops
blue topped with promise
of more blossoms
nudging up, nodding to the day,
nestled with fiery Indian paintbrush,
elegantly announcing
the arrival of spring.


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