Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Ethical ELA’

Poetry Friday round-up is at Karen’s Blog.

Summer means the Summer Poetry Swap which is coordinated by Tabatha. I’ve already received two poetry gifts, and it feels like summer just began.

The first poem I received came from Laura Shovan, a dear poet friend and author of The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary and Takedown. Laura sent sourdough starter, a whimsical pen, and this poem.

Bread and Water by Laura Shovan

My second poem came from Buffy Silverman. Buffy and I have never met, but I have enjoyed her poetry for years. What delight to open an email from her with this image and beautiful poem about wild iris, blue flag!

Blue Flag by Buffy Silverman

This week Linda Mitchell and I teamed up to provide prompts for Ethical ELA. This site by Sarah Donovan is a wonderful place for teachers to write and receive positive feedback. I enjoyed being a part of the community this week. The poetic responses were amazing! Here is a link to the 5 Day Open Write.

I wrote two poems in response to Linda’s prompts. The first one was a list poem. I had a receipt marking my notebook page. My oldest daughter is having a girl (Yes!) in November. At a local children’s store, I bought the first thing for this new one, a newborn gown.

For the Little Ones
 
Shorts
Shirt
Gown–> NB
 
white silky soft
edged with pink stitching
to welcome
a sister
now growing
day by day
a girl to embrace
a girl to bless
a girl to love

Margaret Simon, draft

The second prompt from Linda came from Linda Baie’s prompt in Laura Shovan’s Water Poem Project, to write a fiction poem. I took some quotes from my weekend with my kids and built this scene.

Heat
 
What is it about the 90 degree mark
that turns a sunny day into fire
burning you through to the bone?
 
They didn’t speak in the heat;
Their brains thirsty, wrung out 
beyond droplets of sweat,
couldn’t fathom anything worthy of saying.
 
He handed her the phone,
clicked play on a video of animal faces,
noses in particular, that made her smile,
despite herself. She didn’t bother 
to ask why. 
 
Humor finds its way into the cracks
of relationship, beneath the surface
of burning skin to release toxins
from the crease of a smile. 

Margaret Simon, draft

Read Full Post »

Poetry Friday round-up is with Carol at beyond Literacy Link.

I follow the Ethical ELA website that is beautifully led by Sarah Donovan. Each month she posts a 5 day Open Write which is a series of writing prompts hosted by teachers of writing. This month’s host was Kim Johnson. Kim drew mentor texts from great writers such as Jason Reynolds and Jericho Brown. I was drawn to a prompt from Jason Reynolds’ book Long Way Down, “The Way I Felt.”

It amazes me how a single prompt can turn out so many different individual responses. Go to the link to read the many touching responses. I am honored to be among them.

The Ultrasound

The way I felt
when you showed me
the ultrasound.

Never knew love like this.

I held the tiny image
in the palm of my hand

cried

feeling a new world
opening. I planted.
I grew a fertile seed
now planted
in you.

Fingers, toes,
a nose!
Small person
coming to be
my grandchild.

Margaret Simon, draft
Poems of Presence Today’s Little Ditty Challenge continues through the end of the month.

My student Breighlynn in 4th grade was featured this week on Today’s Little Ditty. She took the ditty challenge to write a poem of presence. The Twitter hashtag continues. It’s not too late to jump in the fun!

Read Full Post »

Today is my prompt day at Ethical ELA. Please stop by and write an analogy acrostic.

On Sunday, Stefani Boutelier prompted on Ethical ELA a “Where I’m From” poem like the ever popular George Ella Lyon poem. I’ve done this exercise many times over the years and have never been happy with my results. The poem seems over-sentimental. I went ahead and tried again. This time, I’m happier with the poem and even shared it aloud with my sister, brother, and our parents on Easter morning over our FaceTime.

Photo by Steve Johnson from Pexels

Where I’m From

I am from piano keys and pot roast,
From Charles’ Chips in a can.
I am from the pine forests of Mississippi,
Beechcrest Drive and Purple Creek,
pink azaleas line the red brick house
while a concrete “waterfall” waits
at the edge of the woods.

I am from writing notes,
tucking them into your locker
between classes.
From shade of a sycamore–
broad-leafed Daddy’s pride.

I’m from singing carols around the grand,
a gallery of books climbing high as the ceiling.
From Liles and Gibson trees,
arms of Margaret and Eugene.

I’m from church on Sundays.
From hurricanes and a Pearl River flood.
From pot-liquor
with turnip greens, black-eyed peas, and cornbread.

I’m from war stories, Anglican prayers, and theology
over the dinner table set with woven mats,
pottery, and cotton napkins.

I’m from home movies, reel to reel,
stored in tins
that playback Love within.

(c) Margaret Simon

Read Full Post »

I have been following #verselove on Ethical ELA. On Tuesday, teacher-poet Gayle Sands posted a selection of photographs to use for prompts for ekphrasis, poetry about art. I love how looking at art or photography can lead you to a poem, and many times to something unexpected.

Linda Mitchell and I are writing partners in a Sunday night critique group. After I wrote my poem to an image of Alice Paul, I found her poem, a golden shovel about the same photo. I asked Linda’s permission to post her poem along with mine. I think it shows how poets can take a different perspective.

The photo reminded me of my great grandmother who died just shy of her 100th birthday. While mine was more descriptive of the photo, Linda included historical information about Alice Paul and the Sewall-Belmont House.

I always feel the movement is a sort of mosaic.

   ~Alice Paul  to Woodrow Wilson May 2019

The gentlemen from Illinois and Texas, I
am certain, have lost their minds. Women have always
made way for men. It’s 1968. We feel
strength in Sewall-Belmont House since 1929. The
National Women’s Party movement
headquarters is a landmark, it is
not simply ground to lay gravel for a
new Senate driveway on Capitol Hill. What sort
of message does that send to the daughters of
our work? It would destroy the heart of our mosaic

© Linda Mitchell

4/7/20 #verselove

“There will never be a new world order until women are a part of it.”
Alice Paul (1885-1977)

 Alice Paul at Belmont House, 1972.

Alice Paul

Small but fierce
they’d say
about this woman
who wouldn’t be dared.
Hands on hips, head held
high as a carved marble statue
on a pedestal.

Like my great grandmother,
Alice Paul stood in white eyelet
eyes set straight, focused
on the photographer’s lens
like a beam of light daring
him to say,
“Smile!”

Margaret Simon, draft 2020

Read Full Post »


For National Poetry Month, I am trying to write a poem each day following whatever muse I can find. Yesterday I tuned in to #verselove on Ethical ELA. Glenda Funk offered a prompt for writing an etheree. I’ve been seeing this form around the Kidlitosphere, so I wanted to try it out. It’s a 10-line form using syllable counts from 1-10.

When I was writing, I looked down to see the bracelet I was wearing. Last summer we cleaned out my parents’ home when they moved to a retirement home. We found all kinds of treasures. One was a box of jewelry from my godmother whom I didn’t know well. She died years ago. My parents had inherited some of her treasures.

In the box was a broken necklace of amber beads. My sister-in-law is talented at making bracelets. She took the beads and other beads from a necklace of my mother’s to create a new bracelet for me. And now I muse over it.

Etheree by Margaret Simon

Read Full Post »

image created by Carol Varsalona
Read more Spiritual Journey posts at Donna’ Blog, Mainly Write.

Fear is the opposite of Love, so how do we live through this fearful time with Love?

I read an article from Time magazine that helped. The Bible does not turn away from fear. God’s word embraces the fear in us and replaces it with love. N.T. Wright says that we should turn to Psalms. Within the Psalms, God grieves with us. The psalmist draws us into the lament so that we are comforted by the connection, person to person.

The point of lament, woven thus into the fabric of the biblical tradition, is not just that it’s an outlet for our frustration, sorrow, loneliness and sheer inability to understand what is happening or why. The mystery of the biblical story is that God also laments.

N.T.Wright

I turned to Psalm 22 which typically we read on Maundy Thursday as the altar is stripped. As a congregation, we won’t be reading together this year. Yet, the lament is more real now than ever before.

The poetry prompt from Ethical ELA by Glenda Funk is to write a Blitz poem. I felt this form would work for a psalm-like poem based on Psalm 22.

Forsake me
Forsake my words
My words roar
My words cry
Cry in the day
Cry at night
Night is holy
Night I trust
Trust our God
Trust deliverance
Deliverance from evil
Deliverance from scorn
Scorned people
Scorned me
I am a worm
I am a child
A child in my mother’s womb
A child on my mother’s breast
My mother’s breast comforts
My mother’s breast gives hope
Hope is a garment
Hope is far from me
Far as a raging lion
Far as help
Help my soul
Help my darling
My darling hears me
My darling calls my name
My name praises
My name vows
Vows of worship
Vows of my heart
My heart loves
My heart seeks
Seeks food
Seeks a seed
A seed serves
A seed is planted
Planted in the soil
Planted in praise
Praise for a kingdom come
Praise for a will be done
Done to us
Done for us
We see salvation
We declare righteousness
Righteousness of God’s world
Righteousness to those born
Born of God’s hands
Righteous to live and love

Margaret Simon, draft

Read Full Post »

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for creating an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write and share.
Poetry Friday round-up is Michelle Kogan.
Click over to join the round up and to read poems from The Best of Today’s Little Ditty, including one of mine.

Ethical ELA posts a 5 day Poetry Challenge each month. (Next month, there will be a prompt every day for National Poetry Month.) This month I participated in only two days, but I shared one of the activities with my students this week on our Kidblog site.

Click here to see the full prompt from Jennifer Goyer-Jowett.

Her prompt included finding a Japanese character to write a haiku from. I chose river. (There isn’t one for bayou.)

Kawa

In the process of finding this character, I discovered the Japanese word Kawaakari which means the gleam of last light on a river’s surface at dusk.

Last light of first day
glows like any other, yet
gleam lingers longer.

Margaret Simon, draft

Knowing my student Madison would jump on this prompt (she loves all things Japanese), I posted the prompt to my class Kidblog site. I’m sharing their wonderful responses.

Ember’s graceful flight,

Sparks fly, blizzards and tornadoes

of dire fire.

Madison, 6th grade
Image result for water japanese
Mizu means water

Maddox, 5th grade, wrote “The Japanese character I chose is mizu which stands for water. It represents the fluid flowing and the formless things in the world.”

fluid flowing streams

flowing in the wild forest

complete harmony

Maddox, 5th grade
Image result for japanese word character for tree
A.J., 6th grade, chose tree.
image

Standing tall and firm,

Strong arms supporting small twigs,

Uneven Fractal.

A. J., 6th grade

Breighlynn, 4th grade wrote, “My Japanese character is Kaze. Kaze is for wind. It represents Freedom of movement.”

Freedom of Movement

Going here and going there

I love to travel

Breighlynn, 4th grade

Read Full Post »

See more posts at Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life

A painted sign in my daughter’s neighborhood. We had to take a picture, but Leo, having been released from the stroller, wanted to get down and walk.

I’ve been participating in Ethical ELA’s monthly 5 day writing challenge. I love this community of friends. On Sunday, the mentor text was a poem “What I Want Is” by C. G. Hanzlicek. The prompt is here.

On Friday night and Saturday morning, we had Leo who is now 14 months and loves to walk. I took him outside in our backyard and next door to swing. My neighbor has 2 grandsons, too, so she has set up baby swings hanging from a tree. I really could not imagine anywhere else I’d rather be. So the prompt led me to this poem.

What I want is
what I have

when I’m with him
walking hand around finger

down the hill
to the bayou

to wave at the canoers
even though they don’t

see us swinging
from a rope

in the oak tree
laughing just because

there are wildflowers
too many to count

and a cool breeze
to catch our smiles on

a day of only us
pointing at birds

flying overhead
Bird 1 Bird 2

Margaret Simon after C.G. Hanzlicek

On Monday I combined the Ethical ELA prompt to write a This is Just to Say apology poem with the image posted in Laura Shovan’s February poetry project.

photo by Jone MacCulloch.

This is Just to Say

I missed the turn
to school today.
My eyes were on
the clouds

So soft and floating
like giant snowdrifts
above me in bouquets
of white roses.

Forgive me,
I’m late
my head in the clouds
dancing around in their fluff.

Margaret Simon, draft, after William Carlos Williams

Finding daily prompts in my email inbox help me to pick up the pen and notebook and make something. Creativity feeds my soul. The positive loving feedback is fun, too.

Read Full Post »

Poetry Friday round-up is with Kathryn down under at her website.

When I started #100DaysofNotebooking with my students, I couldn’t imagine that we would be reading and writing poetry every day. But poetry is where my radar goes, and a good poetry prompt for me is also good for my kiddos.

Thanks to Ethical ELA, I had many ways to lead my students into writing this week. The prompts are still up on the website, and I highly recommend them. Writing together day by day helps me and my students to be vulnerable together. From this prompt, we wrote poems about loved ones who have passed away. My students touched me with their honesty. They had to bear with me choking up when I shared this poem about my dear friend Amy:

Amy Who
inspired by Abuelito Who by Sandra Cisneros

Amy who looked like Sandra Bullock
but better, whose smile glowed a mile away,
who wore a crown with grace
when she threw beads to the crowd,
whom you may call a social butterfly,
but her conversations were real; she didn’t stray
from the tough stuff, and laughed aloud
at funny happenstance,
who held my grandbaby the last time I saw her,
tears in her eyes
as she said, “I will never have this.”
Who faced cancer with wisdom,
never giving up
while knowing all the while
her body was,
who left us all missing her,
whose joy lives on,
and her smile.

Margaret Simon, draft 2020
This photo of Amy from the first Berry Queen Ball in 2008 stays on my my refrigerator.

A prompt from Teach this Poem led me to a video of “Imagine” by John Lennon. Sadly, most of my students didn’t even know who he was, much less the song. But this freshness caused them to be open and creative in their writing.

The world
breaking into countries
some people can only imagine
while others can do something.
We would want our world
to be like clouds in the sky
staying together
to make a huge crowd
shouting and singing.
They contain heaven
where everyone lives in peace
not separating their clouds.
We don’t want our world to
turn into nothing

Jaden, 4th grade
Photo from PIxabay

No reason,
to kill or
die for.
Imagine,
I might be called a dreamer,
but there are others
who think the same.
I hope some day…
you’ll join us,
a brotherhood of man…
No need
for greed or
hunger.
Imagine us
all living and loving,

                      -together

Daniel, 5th grade

Read Full Post »