Posts Tagged ‘A&E Gallery’

Discover. Play. Build.

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

On Friday we took our youngest gifted students on a field trip. The day started at A&E Gallery. Paul Schexnayder, the owner, is an artist and teacher in our talent program. He opened up this old historical building to the wandering eyes of 1st-3rd grade kids. I asked them to find a piece of art that makes them amazed. I had made a form for them to use for a cinquain poem. After they wrote, they created a final draft to give to Mr. Paul. He will place the poems next to the art piece for visitors to see.

Gwen Voorhies, artist.

Gwen Voorhies, artist.

Madison wrote about the peaceful painting above.

Madison wrote about the peaceful painting above.

Lynzee wrote about a 3-D piece of an alligator on the high trapeze.

Lynzee wrote about a 3-D piece of an alligator on the high trapeze.

Jacob writing

We ventured onward to the Hilliard Museum in Lafayette. This museum is a fine art museum, different from the co-op gallery in New Iberia. The children drew a postcard of a painting and wrote as if they had visited the place. The docent then brought them to an art room where they could color their pictures with oil pastels and colored pencils. My students enjoyed exploring these art materials.

Exploring drawing with oil pastels.

Exploring drawing with oil pastels.

An art display of dresses made from cut up romance novels.

An art display of dresses made from cut up romance novels.

Our final stop (after lunch in the park) was the Lafayette Science Museum where the kids were allowed to roam freely to see dinosaur bones, insects, magnets, and a favorite of all, video games.
Field trips are a great way to expose our students to new things like art. As I was chatting with the docents, they shared with me that not many teachers take advantage of their program. This is disappointing to me. We need to take our students out of the school and into the world of ideas and creativity. This field trip was inexpensive, too. We only charged the students $5. They brought their own lunches and our gifted program procured the school bus.

I celebrate the beautiful day (temps in the 70’s), art, enthusiastic docents, and students writing, learning, and playing. An added bonus: Our students are all from different schools, so they made new friends, too.

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Poetry Friday round-up with Buffy at Buffy's Blog

Poetry Friday round-up with Buffy at Buffy’s Blog

Walking down Main Street you may find a poem in a window.

Christmas window

Or you can stop in at A&E Gallery and see that poets have been there.

Vannisa in the gallery

Space Man and Space Dog
walk the moon alone,
with only each other
to keep company
on the long way home

Paul Schexnayder has started a series of Circus Gators in his paintings. This makes for a crazy circus poem.

Cirque du GatorFullSizeRender
a green gator circus,
a scaly trapeze,
two mingy gymnasts,
and a sharp-toothed dancer.





flag gator painting
$100 is the price
for a patriotic watermelon sunrise.
A alligator
stealing a watermelon from a chubaka?
Greedy green gator
masking the red white and blue.




Beauty marks the spot.cross angel
An angel from high above is calling.
I won’t let go of your baby boy,
I promise.







I joined in the secret poem walk and wrote to the work in progress.

An empty framePaul painting poem
of color
a world,
a circus
of imagination.
–Margaret Simon

A field trip down Main Street can be a poetic treat.

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Discover. Play. Build.

Snowy mix

The sun is coming up. The ice still glitters on the trees. Soon it will all melt. Yesterday, the ice and rain and little snow flurries came down all day long. For us in the deep south, temperatures below freezing all day long are rare. I celebrate the day off of school and the beauty. I did not have to get out much, but when I did, I didn’t know that the rain would turn to ice so suddenly on my windshield. The first time I ventured out, I had to pull over to let my car warm up. I felt stupid, aggravated at my lack of expertise with this weather. So while I enjoyed having a free day, I know there were others who struggled.

Matthew's hero

I am Matthew’s hero! The fourth grade teachers have a Student of the Week every week. This week was Matthew’s turn. I didn’t see his poster until Thursday. There in the lower left corner was a section titled “My Hero.” Matthew had written about me, his gifted teacher for the last 4 years.

Mrs. Simon is my hero because she’s been my teacher for 4 years. She’s like an aunt to me, and she’s the best teacher I’ve ever had and ever will have. This is why Mrs. Simon is my hero.

Open collage

My one little word for 2014 is Open. Last Saturday, I went to A&E Gallery to paint with Marcie Melancon. She does gelli plate printing and collage. I made this collage for my OLW. It reminds me daily to be open and creative.

What are you celebrating this week? Add your post to Ruth’s round up.

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See more Poetry Friday with Diane Mayr at Random Noodling

See more Poetry Friday with Diane Mayr at Random Noodling

Ava Leavell Haymon, Louisiana Poet Laureate

Ava Leavell Haymon, Louisiana Poet Laureate

“Somewhere, out beyond ideas
of wrongdoing and right-doing,
there is a field.

I will meet you there.” –Rumi

Thus is the epigraph that opens Ava Leavell Haymon’s latest work of poetry, Eldest Daughter. Ava is the most recently appointed Louisiana Poet Laureate, and she is coming to New Iberia next weekend to a Fall Poetry Night. (Fist-arm pump) Yes! If you met Ava, the thing you would remember about her is her laugh, and she laughs often.

Ava’s poetry is masterly crafted, yet easily accessible. Lemony Snicket selected one of Ava’s poems, The Witch has Told You a Story, to feature in his article, All Good Slides Are Slippery for Poetry Magazine. Mr. Snicket says that “poetry is like a curvy slide in a playground — an odd object, available to the public — and, as I keep explaining to my local police force, everyone should be able to use it, not just those of a certain age.” I shared this article with my students this week. We wrote our own poems by stealing a line from one or more of the poems in the article. This was a great activity and produced some funny poems. Stay tuned.

Ava has given me permission to share two of her poems with you. This first is from the collection Why the House is Made of Gingerbread. I love this collection. Who would have thought that the classic Hansel and Gretel would have yielded such moving and thoughtful poetry?


You are food, she said.
You are here for me to eat.
Fatten up, and I will
like you better. Your brother will
be first. You must wait your turn.
You must feed him yourself.
You must learn to do it. Take him
eggs with yellow sauce, and muffins,
butter leaking out the crooked break
in the sides. Fried meats
later in the morning and sweets
in a heady parade from the oven.

His vigilance, an ice pick of hunger
pricking his sides, will melt
in the unctuous cream fillings.
He will forget. He will thank you
for it. His little finger stuck every day
through the cracks in the bars
will grow sleek and round,
his hollow face swell
like the moon. He will stop dreaming
the fear in the woods without food.
He will lean toward the mouth
of the oven, the door
that yawns wide every afternoon
to better and better smells.
–Ava Leavell Haymon, all rights reserved

The second poem comes from Ava’s latest work Eldest Daughter. I haven’t read them all yet, but the ones I have are so full! Full of childhood fears, sensibilities, and humor. LSU Press says “she combines the sensory and the spiritual in wild verbal fireworks.” And to hear her read them, you see the fireworks glow in her eyes. She is a delight, and I can’t wait to introduce her to my town.


with a caul
the child who eats the skin that forms on scalded milk
the child who bites cuticles instead of fingernails
the child who sucks her hair at night
the child who sings in her sleep
the child who does not mind the squeak of blackboard chalk
the child who swallowed a blue bead
the child who will not throw up
the child who refuses to listen
the child with the gristle knob at the arch of her ribs
the child who knows where the matches are
the child who looks too long at her father
the child who likes to spit
the child who looks in the eyes of the dog
the child who sits for hours
the child who sometimes laughs when she’s by herself
the child whose cold hands
the child who eats clay
the child who can look cross-eyed
the child who starts fires
the child who hides in a chinaberry tree
the child who listens
the child who grows quieter and quieter
the child who can be trusted with knives and scissors
the child who never reaches under her bed
the child who goes where no one is
the child who cuts things out
the child who hums little songs no one can recognize

Ava Leavell Haymon, all rights reserved

Fall Poetry Night will be Saturday, November 16th at 6:00 PM at A&E Gallery. Other poets reading will be Mickey Delcambre, Suzi Thornton, Diane Moore, and Margaret Gibson Simon.

Ava reading from Eldest Daughter on YouTube (This one is for adults only despite what Lemony Snicket may say.):

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Join the Tuesday Slice of Life

Join the Tuesday Slice of Life

Motel Beau Sejour by Paul Schexnayder

Motel Beau Sejour by Paul Schexnayder

On Friday, I joined a group of teachers from the Acadiana Writing Project on a writing marathon. I took two other teachers with me to show them my friend and colleague Paul Schexnayder’s gallery. I sat next to the above painting and wrote him a letter. Paul was dubbed “Art Man” some years ago when he taught at the school my children attended. He has become the Art Man of New Iberia promoting local artists in an old historical building known as A&E Gallery after the original owner, August Erath.

Serendipitously, Paul posted his before and after paintings on Facebook and gave me permission to post them here. This painting is one of his Hometown Series. Residents remember this motel that stood at the western edge of town in the 1960’s and 70’s.

Click here to visit Paul’s website.

Dear Art Man,
I’m here in your gallery today. Like Goldilocks,
I sit in your chair. You know the one:
an old metal stool with the white vinyl seat
splattered with paint, just-right
for reaching the easel. Your apron is draped
over the back. I try it on, pretend
to be you.

Here is an aerial photograph of your subject.
Did you use it to lay out your design?
Are you finished yet? I’m not sure.
Are you?

The sky is a deep dark blue stretching to near white
in the far right hand corner. The sun, perhaps, is rising.
A line of trees defines the horizon. In the foreground,
a sign:

Free TV,
Beau Sejour,
Swimming Pool, Restaurant

I recognize the Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser
I had as a child, fake wood on the side.
Does this one have a sunroof or an AM/FM radio
like ours?

I want to go jump into the motel pool
alluring me with a curvy white slide.
I see your foam plate palettes still full of paint.
Do I dare dip a brush in?
Make my mark on your developing masterpiece?
I can hop into the station wagon,
ride to Motel Beau Sejour—

–Margaret Simon, all rights reserved

Motel Beau Sejour finished by Paul Schexnayder.

Motel Beau Sejour finished by Paul Schexnayder.

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Poetry Friday is here!

Poetry Friday is here!

Today, I am hosting the Poetry Friday blog roundup. Please post your link in the comments. I thought when I signed up for this date that it would be a quiet summer Friday, but it is actually the last day of a writing camp for students. I will check in periodically and post links as they come in.

Writing in the gallery

Writing in the gallery

Leading a writing camp is one of the highlights of my summer. This year we have 9 students ranging from entering 4th through 10th grade. Each of them is in a different place in their writing, yet each has a unique voice. My partner teacher, Stephanie Judice, and I also come from different places. I teach elementary, and she teaches high school. I write poetry. She writes fiction. A perfect match. Every morning, I led the poetry writing, and she led the fiction. Worked out well.

Our favorite day is always Wednesday, the writing marathon. The writing marathon was invented by Richard Louth of the Southeastern Writing Project. He was inspired by Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones in which she talks about writing in restaurants. She encourages writers to find a space and write continuously for a period of time. So on a writing marathon, the rules are 1) declare yourself a writer; 2) travel from place to place, write in that place, and if appropriate, order something; and 3) share and thank each other. (No criticism or comment, just thank you.)

One of our stops on the writing marathon was the A&E Gallery, a collaborative gallery of a variety of artists owned by Paul Schexnayder. We did two writing periods at the gallery. During the first one, I asked the students to walk all around the space and to collect words that came into their minds as they walked. After collecting words, we found a spot to sit and write. The second prompt was an ekphrastic poem about one particular piece of art. I am sharing the poem I wrote from the gallery walk and a student’s poem from a group of metal faces.

Mermaids float above her majesty, the sea
swirling waves as a potter’s wheel
forming a lily-lined path
to the land of mortals.

On the shore, rusted beauty emerges
from layers of water–a mint for the gatherers of things.

Look with your soul,
feel the release of imagination.
Find your buried hope.
The music in you awaits!

–All rights reserved, Margaret Simon


Metal Faces
Their open metal mouths,
staring into me,
looking past my casual writer’s appearance.
Can they see my conscience?
They read me as if
I were the art on display.
Their wide eyes,
penetrating my heart,
are full of distaste.
Like judges,
and I have earned myself
a low score.
Their scraps
that they call facial features
bore into me,
like they know everything.
And, perhaps they do,
but it doesn’t show.
All they can do
is watch me,
beg for me to stay
when I’m passing by,
so they can look into my soul.

–Kaylie, 12 years old

Go nuts with Charles at Father Goose with a tribute to Jama Rattigan.

At Random Noodling, a Robert Frost poem “Questioning Face.”

Kurious Kitty has some Flag Day poetry.

At KK Kwotes, find Albert Camus.

At NC Teacher Stuff, find a short poem about fathers by William Hamilton Hayne.

Keri is discovering a children’s bookstore in Vancouver, BC.

Matt Forrest has a poem for his daughter.

Jama is featuring a bilingual poetry collection called Laughing Tomatoes and other Spring Poems/Jitomates Risuenos y ostros poemas de primavera by Francisco X. Alarcón and Maya Christina Gonzalez.

Laura Salas has a rodeo poem by Nancy Bo Flood.

Mary Lee is here with a feast of verse novels.

Ruth has a turtle-y post.

Tabatha is thinking about plagiarism.

The Teaching Authors share online resources and April has a poem about giving up privacy in exchange for a free app.

Renee at No Water River has another wonderful video featuring Margarita Engle sharing her verse picture book When you Wander: A Search and Rescue Dog Story.

Linda at Teacher Dance has a poem she heard at a teaching workshop.

Today at The Poem Farm, Amy has a little goodbye poem from a teacher’s point of view along with a Poetry Peek from kindergarten teacher Erin Jarnot and her students from Elma Primary.

Julie is back this week with an original poem called “Anniversary” and some musings about translation and mistranslation.

Bridget Magee is here with an original poem, “Summer Hazard” about one of the perils of living in the desert.

Over at Today’s Little Ditty, Michelle has a dream poem written by her dad in honor of Father’s Day.

Robyn Hood Black is here with Full Hearts, Empty Nests, and Emily Dickinson.

MM Socks has an original poem today Woodrow’s Shadow.

Doraine Bennett has Winslow Homer and J.G. Whittier.

Irene Latham has a menagerie of Valerie Worth poems.

A traveling poem over at The Florian Cafe this Friday morning.

Author Amok is celebrating with a picnic-full of third graders’ food poems. Chocolate pie, anyone? We can’t end school without some teacherly wisdom. I’m also featuring a portion of poet Joseph Ross’s beautiful post “The Gifts of Teaching.”

Karen Edmisten has a Billy Collins poem to share.

Cathy has an original cat poem.

Lorie Ann Grover offers a haiku today, Whispered through Steam.

Joy at Poems for Kids Joy has an original poem about her flag for Flag Day.

Here’s Becky with Math Poetry.

All About Books with Janet has a doggy poem “I Didn’t Do It” written by Patricia MacLachlan and Emily MacLachlan Charest and illustrated by Katy Schneider.

For some hippity-hoppity froggy fun, go to Reading to the Core.

Little Willow posted Afterthoughts by Edwin Arlington Robinson at her blog Bildungsroman.

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