Posts Tagged ‘#imagepoems’

Poetry Friday is Carol at Beyond Literacy Link


While I was vacationing for the 4th of July in Santa Fe, NM, my Voxer Good2Great friend, Jen Hayhurst tagged me in a post about her #ProjectPoetry.  I wrote about the project on my Slice of Life post on Tuesday. 

I have this self-assigned goal of writing a poem a day.  That gets tough when you have a husband who wants to walk all over New Mexico.  My writing muscles had to give way to my walking muscles.  Nevertheless, I took some pictures that planted some ideas in my brain.  Once home I had time to sit.  Sit with the images and process a poem.  Jen’s goals for writing poems are to synthesize experience and ignite curiosity.  This is what poetry should be, in our lives as well as in our classrooms.

Last night I watched Kylene Beers and Bob Probst do a Facebook live video about their book, Disrupting Thinking. When someone asked if poetry should be the first unit taught in the school year, Kylene answered, “Poetry is not a unit. Poetry is something we breath in.  We should breathe in poetry every day.”

Take a deep breath and look at the amazing sky.  I was astounded and mesmerized by the huge sky of New Mexico.  It seemed somehow bigger and brighter and mightier there.  Maybe because I was paying attention.  Maybe because there was something to be learned.  Maybe just to be captured in a poem.

The Magic Sky
Sculpts grey clouds
into bursts
of sparkling rain.

Then a rainbow,
a puffy horse
riding beside.

I stand above
this Rio Grande Gorge,
feel like a speck
of dust in the wind
to the magician
of the sky.

–Margaret Simon

Next Friday is National Mac and Cheese Day.  Who knew there was such a thing?  So Poetry Friday folks are planning to write about Mac-n-Cheese.  Join in the yummy fun.

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This National Poetry Month button was created by my student Lani. If your students are writing a poem-a-day, you are welcome to use this button. My students are posting their poems here.

My Sunday poem came to me during the shower. Because I couldn’t write it down or record it, I kept saying it over and over, like a musical refrain. Then I wrote it on a sticky note. I was thinking about how the clouds seem to be dancers passing each other in the sky. Sometimes poems come whole, and all I have to do is write them down.

On Monday, after my morning walk, I noticed closed blossoms in the flower bed. Such a pleasant surprise. I know they will open up once the sun comes out, so I thought of the word expectant. Since it was our first day of ABCs of poetry in my class, we were writing acrostics today. I found a student interactive on Read, Write, Think.
My student Lynzee helped me write this poem. I wanted to use the word radiant, but it didn’t fit with the letters. We put radiant into the online thesaurus and found emanating.

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Most every Tuesday, I wake early to serve at Solomon House, a mission of my church and a food bank.  My self-appointed job is to find the clients’ names on a printed spreadsheet, check their IDs, and have them sign.  During this process, I say good morning, how are you today, and have a great day.  And most times they say these same greetings to me.  I feel blessed by their presence, their love, and this small way to be a blessing to someone else.




There are places where
buttercups bloom
no one cares
or notices.

They bloom anyway.

Solomon House waiting

There are people
nobody sees
walking alone on the street
clothes in need of  cleaning
backs aching from failure.

The news speaks for itself
but I can help.

My hands are warm and kind;
they reach for you.

My mind is clear and focused;
I think of you.

My shoulder is light and flexible;
I can carry your burden.

I see buttercups.

I see you.

–Margaret Simon


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Yesterday, my student Lani was featured on Today’s Little Ditty with a reverso poem inspired by the book Water Rolls, Water Rises by Pat Mora.

Amy Ludwig VanDerwater is writing a poem a day about daily Wonders on Wonderopolis.  I love how her website speaks directly to students about the writing process.  On Monday, Amy wrote, “I began thinking about the value of sharing our stories, the sad ones as well as the happy ones.”  Her poem was a before/after poem that held universal truths about the sadness of broken marriages.

There’s a sadness weighing on my mind.  It’s not my loss, but even when others suffer a loss, we grieve.  It’s the way of the world.

My writing friend, Catherine Flynn wrote a poem about Crystal Rapids in the Grand Canyon, but the poem was about so much more.  This stanza speaks to that deep grief that comes back over and over.

The path is altered,
a chasm opens.
Never fully healed,
full of fissures that can crack
without warning,
bringing us to our knees.” (Catherine Flynn)

Sometimes writing poetry is about diving into the sadness, entering in, and letting it all go.  Inspired by Amy’s and Catherine’s poetic honesty, I wrote this poem for B.  She’s probably not ready to read it.  But I needed to write it.

A Tree Grows near the Pier

when the sun rose,
so did he,
fishing pole in hand,
tackle in a box.
His heart full of hope.
His mind full of lures.

the boat lost him,
so did we,
as a tree grows
near his tackle box;
Its branches open wide
for resurrection fern.

–Margaret Simon

resurrection fern

Ruth has the Progressive Poem today.

Ruth has the Progressive Poem today.

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My internal critic is turned on high voltage. I take my journal in my backpack to school to school (I teach at two), and I turn the page and write some words, then a student needs me. I come back to the page focused, thinking, and another student has to share.

Here I am at home with Charlie and there’s nothing worth much in my journal. This is day 13 of my personal challenge to write a poem a day, and my personal critic thinks I can’t possibly keep this up.

Step one: upload a picture. Here’s another sky picture taken from my car with my phone.

Sky Sea

Sky Sea

How to Stay a Poet (A synonym poem)

Attach a line to a thought
with a long string, maybe even wire

Fasten sprinkles of light,
a frosting of powdered sugar would taste good.

Unite clouds to sky to space,
an ethereal concept, I know.

Abide with your favorite poets,
savor their strength, their providence.

Linger over the page, make a statement,
scratch it out, start again.

Remain committed; don’t listen to the witch
in your head telling you to abandon all.

Keep on writing. Stay a poet.
Stay here.

–Margaret Simon

Process: After writing the title, I did a synonym search for “stay.” I used selected synonyms as the first word of each stanza. Creating rules for myself helped me get through writer’s block. This is not one of my finer poems, but it’s a poem. Let’s keep moving forward.

Follow the Progressive Poem to Teacher Dance

Follow the Progressive Poem to Teacher Dance

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Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for March Slice of Life Challenge.

Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for March Slice of Life Challenge.

We brought out the paintbrushes and watercolor paints.  Each table had a stack of white paper.  I turned on the music.  Painting flowed in time with the beat.

This is dancing with a paintbrush.  When the music stops, we title the piece of art and list three words that come to mind.  This continues for three rounds.  The songs are all instrumental, one sounds oriental, another symphonic, and another Irish.

Following this painting activity, we write.

Freedom of expression, playing with words, making associations with music and poetry, the resulting poems went in all kinds of directions. (My students share their poems on Kidblog.)

In reading Tara Smith’s book review of Writing with Mentors, I pulled out this piece of advice: “Mentors Show Students How to Play: In order to grow as writers, students need safe places to play with writing – places that aren’t assessed or evaluated or given a grade.  They need places where their work can be messy, where thinking outside the box and being wild with ideas is encouraged.”

When I was struggling to write a poem with my painting, I turned to a favorite author, Mary Oliver.  From A Thousand Mornings, “Poem of the One World” begins “This morning/ the beautiful white heron/ was floating along above the water.”

Writing beside this master poet helped me to follow the rhythm that my own words wanted to take.

This longing
the beautiful white egret
wanders from known to unknown waters

And then
onto the shore of this
one stream we all swim in

where everyone
is part of the blue vein
where we can throw a stone in

which thought made me feel
for a small moment
welcomed home.

–Margaret Simon, after Mary Oliver

Dancing with a paintbrush

The abstract painting that led to my poem.


Follow the Progressive Poem to Today's Little Ditty

Follow the Progressive Poem to Today’s Little Ditty

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Discover. Play. Build.

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

It's my turn!

It’s my turn!

Today is Saturday, time to celebrate with Ruth Ayres and my fellow bloggers, but first I must stop and post a line to the Progressive Poem, the brainchild of author Irene Latham.  This year’s poem has taken on a pattern.  It rhymes, too, but I am grateful I don’t have to complete a rhyming line.  All I have to do is set up the next stanza.  The pattern of first lines began with Laura’s “A squall of hawk wings stirs the sky.”  Then Penny made the decision to repeat this pattern in “A cast of crabs engraves the sand.”  So all I have to do is fill in the blanks “A __da__ of __de___ __da-da____ ___di___ __doe___.”  Where do we want to go next?  From observing the sky to the ocean we have watched hawks and hummingbirds and crabs.

I have been working with images for my poem a day project.  My friend, Kimberley, in Maine sent me this picture of purple crocuses in her yard wilting in the recent cold snap.  I decided to keep us in the natural world but move into the plant world.

photo by Kimberley Moran

photo by Kimberley Moran

A squall of hawk wings stirs the sky
A hummingbird holds and then hies
If I could fly, I’d choose to be
Sailing through a forest of poet-trees
A cast of crabs engraves the sand
Delighting a child’s outstretched hand
If I could breathe under the sea
I’d dive, I’d dip, I’d dance with glee
A clump of crocuses crave the sun.
In the spirit of poetry and connecting through blogging, Kevin Hodgson left a comment on my abecedarian post yesterday that honored me as a writer, but also honored the entire blogging community.  Thanks, Kevin!
Blog has
Character beyond
Everywhere you write,
For yourself and readers,
Good words chewed like fine food, nourishing
Health and happiness and creative
Just listen to the music of the dance,
Knowing you are invited to
Learn about the world through
Many voices, many stories, many
New ways of seeing the world, always
Open to
Quell your qualms, for writing has
Real value beyond the shape and texture, and
Somewhere, someone will read your words
Though it might seem terribly silent at times,
Until that moment when they write a note that lets you know with
Veracity that your Truth resonates
With their Truth,
eXceeding the notion of one writer/one story;
You are writing the World together, dancing the
Zydeco Write!Kevin
— Cheated at X.


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Day 4 is at Random Noodling with Diane

Day 4 is at Random Noodling with Diane

I first “wrote” this poem by speaking to my phone in the notes app. I didn’t start with a photographed image. If I could have, I would have taken a picture of the heron, but as we watched the scene, my cat snuck out and scared it off.

Instead I took a picture looking up at our church.

Church spire


On this day
I have plans,
compartments in my mind
like squares on the calendar.

But first, I look out
at the heron on the bayou.
He stretches his neck
into the bright morning sun.

I sip my warm coffee,
listen to the news,
the call of the mourning dove.

I will worship today
stick my neck out long
to catch the rays of the sun,
listen to an orchestra on the lawn.

–Margaret Simon

Here is a link to a padlet from JoEllen McCarthy from The Educator Collaborative with links to great #PoetryLove sites.

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Poem-a-day #3, lune by Margaret Simon, image poems

Poem-a-day #3, lune by Margaret Simon, image poems



Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Yesterday was a glorious day to spend outside. But inside there was a valuable video conference, free PD in PJs at The Educator Collaborative.  So many rock stars in the education field all in one place.  I couldn’t pass it up, so after a walk with my dog, I came inside to watch and learn.

Some of my online friends were there, too.  I saw their Tweets.  I’ve invited them to reflect on this conference as well, so I am hoping we will have other DigiLit link-ups today.

The first hang-out presentation that I watched was #PoetryLove with JoEllen McCarthy, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, Janet Wong, Alan Katz, Kim Doele & Members of the Poetry Club.  I enjoyed hearing some poems read aloud and the talk around how poetry has a place in the curriculum all year long.  Amy is writing a poem a day to Wonders from Wonderopolis.  My students love Wonderopolis, and I will show them Amy’s work this week as we begin our own poem a day writing projects. 

Kim Doele shared how she leads a Poetry Club at her school and writes grants to get visiting poets to her school.  Here is her post on hosting a poet at your school.

Catherine Flynn captured Mary Howard’s three power conditions that lead to deep reading.

tweet deep readingMary Howard repeated often that passion is important to reading.  If we don’t have a passion for what we are reading, we will not be able to do deep thinking.

 “Passion drives the deep thinking bus.”  –Dr. Mary Howard 


read aloud tweet

Joining Dr. Mary Howard was Linda Hoyt who discussed the importance of read aloud in every grade level.  I loved how some Tweeters were capturing quotes in fancy backgrounds.  The above Tweet was created by Leah O’Donnell.

Leah also captured her reflection about Kate Roberts and Maggie B Roberts’ closing session.

Notes from Leah O'Donnell

Notes from Leah O’Donnell

I used the notepad on my computer to capture thoughts.

notes on ed collab roberts

After the closing session, I went to Walmart to buy a sketchbook to make a demonstration notebook.  What a practical idea!  Kate and Maggie have a video about this teaching tool on their website here.

This rich conference went on in my kitchen, my living room, and in my bedroom.  It went wherever my laptop would go.  I ate lunch, folded clothes, and took notes and notes. I will go back to the archived sessions that I didn’t see.  Thanks to Chris Lehman and his fabulous team for this free and amazing video series.

If you have written a post reflecting on the Ed Collaborative Gathering or on any aspect of digital literacy, link up below.  Please read and comment on other posts.



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