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Posts Tagged ‘Golden Shovel’

Poetry Friday round-up is with here!

I am hosting the Poetry Friday round-up today. Please join by placing your link using Inlinkz at the end of the page.

Today is the monthly gathering of Sunday Night Poetry Swaggers posts. This month Heidi Mordhorst challenged us to write a farewell letter to our students. We finished out the official school year 2 weeks ago, but truthfully, our school year ended on March 13th.

My emotions have been so torn by the pandemic and recent protests that I am unsure how I would talk to my students about it all. And then once again Naomi Shihab Nye’s Kindness crossed my path. That poem always moves me. “Before you know what kindness really is,/ you must lose things.” I decided to take a striking line for a golden shovel.

When I use another poet’s line to create a poem, I feel that poet is somehow writing alongside me. There is comfort in that. However, from the decision to write a golden shovel to the poem I am sharing, I’ve started and stopped many times. I am still not sure it’s what I want to say, but it’s getting there. I plan to mail both poems to my students as a way to say goodbye.

Dear students, we were together one day, then
pandemic stay-at-home made it
hard to know what is 
good and real and right. Our only 
idea of kindness 
included a drive-by party that 
makes 
sense, 
but may not comfort you anymore.

My only 
hope is you keep kindness 
in front of all that 
worries you. Focus on what ties 
you to others. Hold on to your 
ability to walk in someone else’s shoes
and
empathize with a character who sends
you into their world. You 
can make a difference out
of your choices. Lean into
what you know is good. Be the
best you can be every day. 

Margaret Simon, Golden Shovel draft

To see other Swaggers’ letters of farewell:

Heidi
Molly
Catherine
Linda

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

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This poetry month I didn’t commit to write a certain type of poem every day like many other poets I am following. I decided I would write to the muse. Wherever she lead, I would follow.

Among my weekly teacher-poet emails, I get Teach this Poem from Poets.org. This week the poem to teach was “Earth. Your Dancing Place” by May Swenson. One line (“Take earth for your own large room”) jumped out at me and wanted to be a golden shovel. After messing with it in my journal, I created this draft.

Earth’s Heartbeat

If you take

a moment with earth,

touch her for

her soothing spirit, place your

hand on her beating heart, your own

heart will open a door to a large

living room

Margaret Simon, draft 2020

I was also inspired by Catherine Flynn’s post that included the NASA Earth Day poster. The artist, Jenny Motter, used the idea of listening to the pulse of a tree to create this amazing image. There is much more imagery used in the artwork that you can read about at the NASA site.

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for creating an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write and share.

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Poetry Friday round-up is with Karen Edmisten.

Linda Baie shared a video on Facebook that I immediately took up as a writing prompt. It’s a beautiful short film by Louie Schwartzberg. (See link below to watch the video)

I took a quote from the young girl at the beginning and made a golden shovel. “The path could lead to a beach or something.”

Cultivate a response to the
day; open your eyes and a path
could be there, weather could
change, and lead
to water, to
a new way to see, a
gift as joyful as a beach,
waves blessing you or
moving you to touch something.

Margaret Simon, draft response
Photo by Margaret Simon, Santa Rosa Beach Florida

Kathy Mazurowski is the winner of the book giveaway for After Dark: Poems About Nocturnal Animals by David L. Harrison, illustrated by Stephanie Laberis. Click the link to read how I used the book with my students and wrote nonfiction poems.

Take a minute to write a quick 15 word poem to this week’s This Photo Wants to be a Poem. This week is a beautiful photo by Molly Hogan.

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A gathering of poetry can be found at Liz Steinglass’s site.

The Winter Poetry Swap has arrived. Our friend Tabatha Yeatts matches us up for a rich exchange of poetry inspired gifts. This year I was paired with Tricia Stohr-Hunt. This week I received her gift.

Tricia spent some time on my gift. That impresses me because these days, especially in December, time is precious and small. She cross-stitched my favorite line of poetry from Naomi Shihab Nye. Now to know this, she had to read my blog posts. Then design and stitch.

And to top it all off, she wrote a wonderful golden shovel using the line.

Golden Shovel for Advent

It is not the season of me or I.
nor the season of greed and want.
It is time for reflection, time to
prepare for the guest. We must be
ready to reach out to someone,
anyone who needs, anyone who
asks. Let us draw nearer to what makes
us whole. As the year crowns, it is music
that fills the air and our hearts with
expectation. Stars keep watch. My,
how they shine! Rejoice, for the Lord is coming.

Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2019

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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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See more posts at Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life .

 

The beginning of school is a tough time.  Learning new routines, establishing a safe space, and getting to know your students takes time.  And then there are the directives, the process of finding the way to fit your teaching philosophy into the constraints of district guidelines.  I feel the strain.  As fun as it is to see those kids you missed over the summer, and to reconnect with faculty friends, the stress can be overwhelming.

Without going into too many details, I had that kind of beginning.  I took all this stress with me to a yoga class out in the open air pavilion downtown.  Susan was playing music and singing while Laurie led us in sun salutations.  Near the end of this invigorating exercise, Susan sang “Let it Be.”  Her voice entered into my soul and the chorus became a mantra, “Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.”

I watched Karaoke Carpool with Paul McCartney.  If you haven’t seen this yet, you should watch it.  Paul tells the story of how he came to write the song.  He had a dream about his deceased mother who told him, “Let it be.”  There are many things that are not in our control.  I am reminded of the serenity prayer: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Using the words in a golden shovel, I wrote this poem:

Someone is speaking.
I can’t hear the words.
I look into the eyes of
love and know wisdom.
It is mine to let
go or choose to let it
get to me. I choose to let it be.

Margaret Simon, (c) draft 2018

Susan painted this mural in the yoga room.

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Poetry Friday posts are with Leigh Anne at A Day in the Life

Last week my students and I studied the poem “A Letter in October” by Ted Kooser.  In response, some of us wrote golden shovel poems.  A golden shovel is a poem that uses the line of another poem stretched out down the right hand margin.  The writer then fills in words to create a whole new poem.  This method of writing a poem forces the writer to use enjambment in an interesting way.  Today I am sharing two student responses as well as my own.

 

I lay still in my bed in the moonlit night

A sweet blowing breeze passes in

And out  filling my room with its

soft and warm thick

Scent of snow and hushed winter

Whispers wrapping me in a chilly jacket.

–Erin, 6th grade

 

 

 

 You are sitting. Watching
                          while birds fly around the
trees. The sun going down, light
fading. You hear kids walk
down the street. The sun is down,
everybody collecting the candy the
people are giving out. You look at the hill.
You see something, a pumpkin. You carve it.

–Andrew, 5th grade

Every day I drive by a mighty oak tucked between the frontage road and the highway, Mr. Al.  In South Louisiana, the oldest oaks are named and cataloged and cared for.  Mr. Al has had an interesting journey as he was transplanted by the state highway department about 3 years ago.  He is thriving in his new home.

Mr. Al in October.

 

An oak tree spreads its mighty wings then
beckons us to see
another way the
world can be. Light
dances with the leaves, a casual step,
strong and easy, bouncing out
the noisy beats upon.
-Margaret Simon

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Poetry Friday is with Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference.

Nikki Grimes did not invent the Golden Shovel poetry form, but she may have perfected it.  After listening to this podcast on All the Wonders, I pulled out the advanced copy of One Last Word that Nikki graciously signed at NCTE 16.  To share the poems with my students, I copied the original poem written by a Harlem Renaissance poet alongside Nikki’s Golden Shovel poem.  These were high level poems that really pushed the thinking of my students.

The idea of a Golden Shovel is to take a line or stanza of a poem, write the words down the right margin and build your own poem around the words.  I had never done one myself, so I wasn’t really sure how well my students would do.  I gave my students the option to use a line from the poems I shared with them or choose another poem from the plethora of poetry books on the shelf.

Imagine my surprise when I selected No Images by William Waring Cuney that I found in Hip Hop Speaks to Children and realized that Nikki Grimes had tackled this same poem in One Last Word.  I felt a kinship to her with this serendipity.

With her lips, she
speaks volumes but does
only good, careful not
to disturb what they think they know
about her
She does not know her own beauty.

With her eyes, she
looks deeply, thinks
longingly about her
future in brown
skin.

If love has
an answer, then no
one can take away her glory.

–Margaret Simon

No one knows Everything
the world Is
a mystery, but digging deeper shows Everything
has a connection, a purpose, but What
is the meaning of life? Is
it just simply surviving, no! Lives are Meant
to be lived; hearts are meant To
be shared; care is supposed to Be
given. People don’t donate their emotions anymore, but they Will
regret this. Remember no one knows everything, so let it Be

After Lauryn Hill

by Emily, 6th grade

“The line I used came from the poem, For a Poet by Countee Cullen.  The line is And laid them away in a box of gold.” Lynzee, 2nd grade

 

I have hopes and
dreams. I have laid
all of them
my blossoming treasures away.

They are safe in
a box beside my heart; it is a
treasure too, my glittering box
full of
treasure, made of gold.

This is what my student Andrew, 4th grade, had to say about writing a Golden Shovel poem.

“When I was told to do a golden shovel poem I was like, ” Hm. That shouldn’t be so hard.” Then BOOM!! You get punched in the brain. So we have to take a whole line from a poem and use all the words and every sentence that you make has to end with one of the words. For example . The sentence that I chose was, “We move and hustle but lack rhythm.” The first sentence had to end with We. The second sentence had to end with move then so on so on. I have to admit that was the hardest poem I have to make. And it took the longest to come up with. I don’t know the exact time but it was more than twenty minutes. Usually my poems take about 5-10 minutes but this was a lot longer. But I think that might be my best poem.”

Thanks, Nikki, for the punch in the brain.  I think we are all better poets because of it.

 

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