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Posts Tagged ‘idioms’

Calm before the Storm

When my students write, I write. When we were playing with idioms the other day, I wrote this poem about my dog Charlie, who in all other respects is the perfect dog. For an interview with me and Charlie, go to Coffee with a Canine.

Charlie when he's calm.

Charlie when he’s calm.

Calm Before the Storm

In the middle of the night
when all the doors are locked,
the lights are off, the scent
of dinner lingers in the air,
we sleep soundly, softly snoring.

Before the first lightning flashes,
before the sound of rolling thunder,
and well before the alarm clock rings,
Charlie whimpers, then cries,
and suddenly, an all out frightening bark
wakens the whole house.

Sure as the groundhog predicts
the coming of spring, lightning strikes,
the rain falls, thunder booms.
The storm is here.

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April at Teaching Authors is hosting today.

April at Teaching Authors is hosting today.

This week I introduced the new book, The Chronicles of Harris Burdick, to my students. The Mysteries of Harris Burdick was first published in 1984 by Chris Van Allsburg. The book included black and white illustrations with only a title and a caption. The story was up to your own imagination. The illustrations have been used as writing prompts for years. The new book features stories written by well-known middle grade writers. Or, as Lemony Snicket would like us to believe, they were all written secretly by Harris Burdick himself. Whatever you believe, the book is a magical collection of model stories.

Under the rug

We read together a story written by Jon Scieszka, “Under the Rug.” In this story, the narrator’s grandmother speaks in idioms. We all laughed together at Grandma, “All that glitters is not gold. Beware the calm before the storm. Those pants make you look fat.” After our discussion, I asked the students to select their favorite idiom and write about it. I wish you could hear the playful sibling rivalry in Brooklyn’s voice when she read her poem, “Back Seat Driver.”

Bossy, bossy
Coach, coach
Telling me what to do
Move over here,
Go over there
He might just get hit with a shoe.

Such a backseat driver,
If I do say so myself,
Only a big brother thing
I wonder if his head goes ding
Whenever something falls from above
like a 2×4 shelf.

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