Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Amy Ludwig Vanderwater’

Poetry Friday round-up is with Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference

 

What a thrill to be a part of this amazing collection of poems from all over our great country!  This honor was made possible by the connections I’ve made in Poetry Friday.  Because Amy Ludwig VanDerwater knows me, when J. Patrick Lewis was looking for a Louisiana children’s poet, she connected us.  The poem I wrote, “Louisiana Bayou Song” became the title poem of my first poetry book published by UL Press this summer.

I also know many of the poets included in the collection, and if you read more Poetry Friday posts, you will find them, too.  Today, Buffy Silverman’s post includes 4 poems from the book.  Last week, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater posted her poem “A Note from the Trail.”

Here’s Linda Kulp Trout’s poem about Helen Keller.  And Mary Lee has two poems included. Robyn Hood Black shared her poem, “Mural Compass.” If I find more, I will add the links into this post.

My poem sits on a two page spread that includes an amazing heron photograph and a heart-wrenching Katrina poem by the anthologist J. Patrick Lewis.  I feel I am sitting among my poet-heroes.

 

Louisiana Bayou Song

Sometimes on the bayou in Louisiana
a storm rolls in quickly–
Cypress trees
sway to the sound.

Sometimes on a quiet day
when the sun is high and hot
a heron happens by–
The bayou slows to the beat of his wading.

The song of the bayou
can be as fast and frenetic as a Zydeco two-step
or as soft and slow as a Cajun waltz–
The bayou sings a song to me.

Margaret Simon (c)

 

Read Full Post »

Poetry Friday round-up is with Jama at Jama’s Alphabet Soup.

 

Students proudly read their poems to Amy VanDerwater.

My students and I spent the month of April glued to The Poem Farm.  What would Orion’s adventure be today?  What technique was Ms. Amy VanDerwater teaching us?

After a month of writing poems, we couldn’t wait to meet Amy in person, virtually. Before any question was asked, Amy asked my students to share poems that they had written.  The pride! The joy! And her amazing responses!

Amy talked about her writing process, showed us her messy notebook pages, and gave us wonderful advice for writing.

Mason asked her how to write rhyming poems.  She gave us all a wonderful lesson on rhyming.  You can use rhymezone or a rhyming dictionary, she explained.  Then she showed us a notebook page where she had written the alphabet.  She works through the alphabet to try to find a rhyming word with the meaning she wants to convey.  She emphasized that the meaning is most important, so if you can’t find a word to rhyme, try a synonym.  After our Skype visit, Mason immediately wrote a poem using the techniques she had taught.

I am holding onto Amy’s advice for my own writing as well.  She talked about how she wrote a sonnet, a form that I have yet to try.  But now I think I will.  Somehow, Amy makes me feel more brave about writing poetry.

One of her last pieces of wisdom came from a poem she read aloud to us.  Her reading was as if she were cavemom and we were here cavechildren whom she was telling to write so our writing will live on.

 

Read Full Post »

Find more celebration posts at Ruth’s blog.

April is National Poetry Month, and even though I believe poetry has a place in the classroom every day, I love this month of focus and attention to the craft of writing. After writing every day for the March Slice of Life Challenge, my students breathe a sigh of relief when I say they only have to post three poems each week. Poetry doesn’t come with the 250 word count minimum. Poetry isn’t about word count. Poetry celebrates voice, choice, and word play.

In my class we’ve been following Amy VanDerwater’s adventures with Orion. She’s writing a poem every day using the topic of Orion. We all have such admiration for her. Sticking to one topic and one that is rather obscure, like a constellation, is pretty amazing. My students are noticing how Amy likes to rhyme, so they are trying it, too. They are noticing more than the structure-of-the-day. Amy is a co-teacher this month, and in a world in which we teachers feel isolated, that is a comfort.

I write alongside my students. Some prompts work for me and some don’t. They watch me and know that they will not catch a good poem every day, but the point is to keep throwing the line back in.

One of the prompts this week was a poem of address. I wrote a poem to my students.

Dear Students,

You’ve written poems every day.
You’ve tried out words in every way.

Metaphor
Simile
Onomatopoeia

Compound words
Imagination
I’m so proud to see ya’

Active as a writer
discovering your voice.

Filling pages begin to end
with topics of your choice.

Keep the faith
as you go forth
to be who you will be;

Writing is a place
that’s safe
to reach for your best me.

–Margaret Simon © 2018

In my ELA classes, my students have been reading books about the Holocaust and creating book talks around them. Jacob, as most of my students, has been affected by the emotion of the devastation and tragedy. He was stuck for a topic for his poem of address, so I suggested writing a letter to Hitler. That was all the nudge he needed.

Poem of Address to Hitler

Did anyone tell you
that you are horrible?
Have you any clue?
You used to be unstoppable.

We’ve all hated you
for many years to come.
You’ve killed us, gave us the flu.
What have you become?

What made you become evil?
Why did you blame the Jews?
Everything you did was illegal.
I’ll give you 1 star in my reviews.

by Jacob, 4th grade

Austin is a 6th grader who is reading Jason Reynolds and Kwame Alexander, and he loves basketball. I think in this poem, he has voice.  I also love that poetry gives him a way to express who he is.  His poem of address is to Stephen Curry.  I had to Google him.  He’s a basketball player, of course.

Dear Curry,

Your shot is flawless
your handles are tight
and your hops are all right.

You’re a 6’4 shooting machine.
I’m a 5’0 spectator.
I watch you cook
and the way you look.
You been hurt for a little minute
so you might have a limit.

You hardly ever pout
but Anthony Davis says he is going
to dunk on you
without a doubt.

Austin, 6th grade

 

Read Full Post »

Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life March Challenge

On Sunday I posted about using jeweler’s loupes with my students in science and writing poems.  I felt a little guilty writing poems in science class, like that was somehow not allowed.  But my friend and slicer Dani Burtsfield posted a link to a podcast in her comment.  The podcast from Heinemann featured Amy Ludwig VanDerwater talking with authors Valerie Bang-Jensen and Mark Lubkowitz about science and poetry.

Amy asks, “Is a poem a system?”

She continues, “”Do you feel if a poem is a system … is the reader’s intent and background, when a reader comes to a poem, is that energy that flows through that system?”

Later, Amy brings up genre study. “one of the things I see that happens with writing is that … sometimes writing is divided up into these little genres, and we do this for a few weeks, we do this for a few weeks, and we do this for a few weeks. But what gets lost, and what can get lost, is the bigger idea of how to notice these patterns. How to see how interlocking pieces of words work together in a text beyond genre, like transcending, flying over genre.”

Amy’s ideas led me to my lesson today with my science kids.  I wanted to use the patterns of poetry to notice the patterns in science, to fly over genre.

We were using jeweler’s loupes to look at plants, but today we were looking closely at mold.  Last week we set up mold terrariums using ziplock bags and a slice of bread and apple.  Following the weekend, guess what grew?  Yucky mold!

Mold on an apple

“What does the mold remind you of?”

“An old man’s beard.”

“Whipped cream!”

“Let’s write a poem about it.”

Moldy Poem

Mold is growing on our food.
We know it’s made of spores.
Now it looks like
an old man’s beard,
white and green like sour cream.

Mold is creeping like a fox
preying on a squirrel.
Decomposing apples and bread
like bacteria in my mouth.
A marshmallow made of spores.

Writing this poem helped solidify some science concepts through discussion and creativity, observation and discovery. I think we’ll write poems in science more often. Thanks, Amy, Valerie, and Mark for permission.

Read Full Post »

Click over to Steps & Staircases for more Poetry Friday.

 

Inspired by Project 1,2,3 originated by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and continued by her daughter, Lisa challenged us to make a metaphorical poem from an object/image.  Many of us took the challenge.  To see more poems, click over to Lisa’s blog to read more posts.

I brought this idea to my students and combined it with a lesson from Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s book Poems are Teachers, “Make Metaphors” on page 136. We looked at model poems and talked about how an object can become a metaphor.  In one class, I passed around a paintbrush and said, “A paintbrush is…”  In another, I blew bubbles and said, “Bubbles are like…”  Each of these inspired beautiful responses from my kiddos.

  • A paintbrush is your imagination.
  • A paintbrush paints your path.
  • Bubbles are sparkling rainbows.
  • Bubbles are in orbit flying around Saturn.

As I wrote with my students, I grabbed a pink marker and made three swirls on my paper.  Back at home with a little time to craft (snow day!), I cut and pasted pink swirls in an art journal.  Thanks, Lisa, for the fun prompt.

 

Swirl of pink
sparkle-sky
diamond bright
stars of night

Swirl of pink
puffy parting clouds
play peek-a-boo
with the sun

Swirl of pink
licky-lick
sticky-lip
lollipop

–Margaret Simon, 2017

 

Chloe’s Bubble poem

Trace’s pink paintbrush poem

Austin’s wooden flute poem

Lynzee’s angel poem

After we wrote and shared our poems, Andrew had an idea.  “Why don’t we take a line from each of our poems and make a new poem?”  Sounds like a great idea.  Here’s the resulting poem.

To dream it, all you have to do is start.

Don’t erase yourself from the real world.
Paint your true colors.

There is no fright.
Not to lose but to gain.

Flying high above
a swirl of pink puffy parting cloud,

The sea is my world.
The sand is my happiness.

–Caneview GT Allstars

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Poetry Friday posts are with Linda at Teacher Dance.

Much has been written about this amazing new resource for teachers.

There’s this one at Live your Poem by Irene Latham.

And here is a review by Laura Purdie Salas.

The Two Writing Teachers featured an interview with Amy.

Literacy Lenses includes words of wisdom from a Good to Great (#G2Great) Twitter chat with Amy.

Like many others, I have a personal connection with this book because some of my students have featured poems.  Amy’s book not only teaches in a wonderfully accessible way; it also celebrates teaching poetry.  Lots of student samples sit alongside poems by children’s poets worldwide.  The depth and breadth of the message reaches well beyond the pages.

I am passionate about teaching poetry in my classes, but I am never quite sure how my lesson plans look to the administrators who check them.   Poems are Teachers is the affirmation I’ve been looking for.  In my heart, I know that practicing poetry is playing with language in a way that can inform other writing as well.  Sometimes writing poetry is just plain fun.  Nothing makes me prouder than a student frantically waving his hand in the air to share his poem.  If we use Amy’s book to create active writing experiences for our students, they will rise up and feel the amazing power of poetry, too.

Emily’s poem is in the chapter “Marry Music and Meter to Meaning.” She wrote this poem after a real lock down.

Jacob’s poem appears in the chapter “Let Art Inspire.” Jacob wrote this poem after looking at Van Gogh’s Starry, Starry Night.

Amy with Heinemann has generously offered a give away for this blog post.  Please leave a comment by November 10th and I’ll randomly pick a winner.  You definitely want this book in your professional library.

 

Read Full Post »

Poetry Friday is with Irene and Live your Poem

On Wednesday I presented to my students Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s “Writing the Rainbow” poetry project.  We were on the letter C for our poem-a-day writing, so we wrote crayon cinquains.  The cinquain syllable pattern is 2,4,6,8,2.

Amy suggested this video of Mr. Rogers’ visit to a crayon factory.  The kids loved it, especially when the crayons appear in the tray like magic.

 

I will share a few of our poems here, but you can go to our Kidblog to see more.

 

 

Erin’s orchid bouquet

Erin chose the crayon “orchid” and drew the picture above. I encouraged my students to use metaphor in their poems. Erin imagined that the orchid bouquet was a crown for a woodland princess.

Orchid
Blooming Flower
Wonderful Pristine Crown
Perfect For A Woodland Princess
Wondrous
by Erin, 5th grade

When Madison colored in her journal with the crayon “Cadet Blue”, she saw a sky before the rain. I love how the name of the crayon informed her metaphor.

Rainy
Cadet Blue Sky
Thunder Beating on Drums
Lightning Marching Through the Clouds
Pouring…
by Madison, 3rd grade

I randomly picked a crayon from the box of 24 crayons and got “blue bell.” Of course, at first I thought about Blue Bell Ice Cream. Then I did a Google image search and found bluebell flowers. I drew a picture in my journal using the blue crayon. When Lynzee saw my picture, she said “It’s a fairy skirt.” So I stole that and used it in my poem. This form is fun to work with because it makes you think harder to get the syllables right.

Bluebell
a fairy skirt
balancing on a branch
hang like church bells in the steeple
Ring! Ring!
by Margaret Simon

Go to Amy’s padlet to see more of this crayon color poetry craze.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »